San Francisco High School of the Arts

High School Science Department

We emphasize application of scientific concepts through experimentation and guided research. By harnessing a scientific attitude in exploring the world around them, students develop an acute awareness of current scientific issues. Through informed discussions and guided scientific research, students build on essential skills in inquiry and communication.

Course Description

  • Biology/Biology Honors
  • Chemistry/Chemistry Honors

Grades Offered: 9, 10

Prerequisites: None

UC Approved: Yes

In this course, students will explore different aspects of living organisms, their interaction with the physical environment, and the principles that govern their existence, emphasize understanding the basic concepts and methods of scientific inquiry, including creating hypotheses, designing experiments to test natural phenomena, practicing basic lab skills and techniques, and writing lab reports, cultivate higher-order thinking skills through experimental design, presentations, and detailed essay answers to biological and biochemical issues.

Grades Offered: 9, 10

Prerequisites: Algebra 1 or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

Chemistry offers students a unique lense with which to view and explore the physical world around us. Through comprehensive lab activities, engaging lectures, as well as facilitated self-learning exercises, students come to appreciate the mechanics that govern the interaction of particles, and the excitement of relevant phenomena that manifest in daily-life.

  • Physics

Grades Offered: 11, 12

Prerequisites: Algebra 2 or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

In this course, students will learn the basic tenets of physics, which will provide an understanding of many of the scientific principles we meet in our daily lives. For instance, students are expected to apply their understanding of acceleration, forces, pressure, and impulse to tell how to increase safety in modern-day traffic situations.

  • AP Biology
  • AP Chemistry

Grades Offered: 11, 12

Prerequisites: One year of high school biology; Algebra 1 or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

In AP Biology, interdisciplinary thinking is strongly encouraged, with students expected to learn to relate the theories of molecular biology to chemical principles and to apply these theories in broader ecological contexts. Students will follow the AP curriculum and will be required to take the AP Biology exam in May for possible college credit.

Grades Offered: 11, 12

Prerequisites: One year of high school chemistry; Algebra 2 or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

AP Chemistry is strongly recommended for qualifying prospective science, engineering, and medical students. In this class, students will be exposed to a much more immersive and in-depth study of chemical principles and their applications, including thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, and equilibrium. Students will be expected to provide detailed, in-depth, insightful analyses of the subject material through problem sets, professional-quality laboratory reports, and examinations. Students will follow the AP curriculum and will be required to take the AP Chemistry exam in May for possible college credit.

  • AP Computer Science Principles

Grades Offered: 11, 12

Prerequisites: Algebra 2 or equivalent

UC Approved: Yes

AP Computer Science Principles is an introductory college-level computing course that introduces students to the breadth of the field of computer science. Students learn to design and evaluate solutions and to apply computer science to solve problems through the development of algorithms and programs. Students also explain how computing innovations and computing systems—including the internet—work, explore their potential impacts, and contribute to a computing culture that is collaborative and ethical.

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