Levels of Instruction

Level 3 - Standard Academic Courses

These courses are designed to provide students with instruction in basic skills and content, covering the Vermont Standards at a slower pace. These courses are designed to prepare students for the rigor and content in level three and above courses.

Level 4 - Honors Courses or Accelerated Courses

These courses are designed to prepare students for continuing their education in college. Curriculum taught in this level will enable students to compete at selective four-year colleges. These fast paced courses will require extensive homework, critical thinking skills, independent projects, research papers, depth of content, and a strong work ethic.

Level 5 - Advanced placement Courses

These courses are the equivalent of college freshment courses. Successful achievement in AP examinations is normally recognized by colleges for degree credit and advanced standing. In addition to level four expectations, level five will include extensive readings and research as well as summer assignments.

3 Credits (the three credits must include at least 1/2 credit in each of the following:  earth science, biology, chemistry and physics.) 

Program of Studies for the Sciences

Bellows Falls Union High School

Required Content Areas
531 Earth Science (3), 1 Credit
(standard level (3) and honors level(4))
(standard level (3) and honors level (4))
(standard level (3) and honors level (4))
(standard level (3) and honors level (4))
Advanced Physics
(Accelerated - level 4)
Advanced Chemistry
(Accelerated - level 4)
Advanced Placement Biology
(Advanced placement course - level 5)
Science of Construction
(standard level  - 3)
(standard level  - 3)
Field Ecology
(standard level  - 3)
Environmental Science
(Accelerated - level 4)
Anatomy and Physiology
(Accelerated - level 4)
(Accelerated - level 4)
Molecular Biology
(Accelerated - level 4)
Science Instructors
Ms. Gottschalk  
(biology,  ecology, anatomy & physiology)
Mrs. Steiner
(biology, botany, forensics, environmental science, molecular biology)
Mr. Nystum
Dr. Fred Marin
(chemistry, molecular biology)

Science Offerings

Mr. Norkun
(earth science)
Advanced Classes

Graduation Required Classes for Science

531 Earth Science (3), 1 Credit

Earth Science is the study of the characteristics and process that formed and helped shape the Earth, including geography, meteorology, astronomy and oceanography.  The course will give a general overview of such topics as earth history, plate tectonics. groundwater, hydrology, global climate and weathering and erosion.  The course will be oriented towards helping students understand how the Earth's cycles and processes are responsible for the topography, geology and climate of New England.  Special emphasis will be placed on developing the students' study skills, particularly notetaking, essay writing and test taking techniques. This course is designed for freshman. 

543 Honors Earth Science (3), 1 Credit

This course is designed for the freshman with good analytical and writing skills or upper classmen who would like to learn more about earth science. The course will cover such aspects as earth history, plate tectonics, groundwater hydrology, global climate, weathering and erosion. Some special topics may include Ice Ages, groundwater pollution, El Nino, greenhouse effect, or soil mapping. Special emphasis will be placed on determining what processes were largely responsible for the topography and geology of the Vermont/New Hampshire region.  Strong analytical, writing and study skills are necessary for successful completion of this course. Independent work on research projects and papers will be required. The independent design, data collection and analysis of a scientific experiment will also be required.
This course is designed as an advanced level for freshman.

536 Biology (3), 1 Credit

This course is designed for the college bound student who may intend to pursue further studies in the life scineces and related fields and who would like a substantial amount of laboratory experience for collee entrance. Emphasis is placed on an extension of basic subject matter including ecology, the cell, mitosis and meiosis, protein syntheses, genetics, and evolution. It is a fast paced, active, hands-on class with high expectations for the student. Completion of this class will prepare students for upper level electives and for the college experience. This course is generally taken after Earth Science.

540  Honors Biology (4), 1 Credit

This course is designed for high-achieving, college-bound students who may intend to pursue further studies in the life science and related fields and who would like a substantial amount of laboratory experience for college entrance. Emphasis is ploaced on an extension of basic subject matter (including the cell, genetic, evolution, human physiology, and basic ecology) to include inductive reasoning skills and open-ended lab investigations. Students should have strong written and oral communicaiotn skills and strong math skills. Written lab reports, daily homework assignments, frequent tests and quizzes, research papers and other projects will be required. This course is generally taken after Honors Earth Science. 

550  Advanced Placement Biology (5), 1 1/2 Credits

Advanced Placement Biology is an introductory college level biology course. This course is extremely content intensive and is designed for students that have a strong interest in, or desire to pursue a career in the sciences. The focus will include molecules & cells (25%), genetics & evolution (25%), and organisms & populations (50%). Eight pervasive themes will be applied acrosss the curriculum in order to unigy the course and to assist students in organizing concepts and topics into a coherent conceptual framework: science as a process, evolution, energy transfer, continuity and change, relationship of structure to function, regulation, interdependence in nature and science, technology and science.
Assessment will include written lab reports, topic research, daily homework assignments and frequent tests and quizzes. Students are expected to be ready for each class by reading assigned chapter(s) and being prepared to ask questions. Teacher expectation is high and the course is expected to be challenging and rigorours. The course aims to prepare the students to succeed on the AP Biology exam given mid-May.
Prerequisites:  both sequential semesters are required for credit. Successful completion of Biology and Chemistry with a minimum B avergae and/or a recommentdation from a science teacher. Offered to juniors and seniors. The successful completion of a summer assignment is also required.

538  Physics (3), 1 Credits

This course is offered to students at an introductory physics level. These students may or may not be college bound, so this course emphasizes the physics of daily life. Topics include motion, forces, vectors, circular motion, energy, momentum, torque and mabic wave motion. It is highly recommended that students have a strong interest in science and mathematics and have successfully completed Algebra I or be enrolled concurrently. This class is highly experiential; good attendance is required.

Prerequisiste: Must have successfully completed or be concurrently enrolled in Algebra I or higher.

541  Honors Physics (4), 1 Credits

This semester course is offered for college bound students with good mathematical background. It is usually taken in the junior/senior year. The course focuses on the study of Mechanics. Topics include motion, force, projectile motion, momentum, energy, work, power, conservation laws (including in 2D), torque and basic wave motion. It is strongly recommended that students have completed Algebra I with at least a B average. Concurrent enrollement in Algera II or Trigonometry is a plus.

Prerequisiste: Must have successfully completed Algebra I with a B or better.

546  Advanced Physics (4), 1 Credits

This semester long course is designed to follow the Honors Physics course offered during semester I. It offers a broader and deeper understanding of the laws of physics in our everyday world. Topics include waves, sound and light, heat and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, as well as an exposure to other areas of modern physics and string theory. This class is highly experiential and good attendance is required.

Prerequisiste: B or better in Physics or Honors Physics.

537  Chemistry (3), 1 Credits

This course presents a challenging introduction to chemistry. Lectures, readings, laboratory investigations and problem solving provide insight into the chemical properties of matter and the causes and effects of chemical interactions. Topoics include: atomic structure, chemical reactivity, energy and entropy, equilibrium, kinetics, acid-based reactions, oxidation-reduction and electrochemistry.
Analytical problem solving and critical thinking skills will be developed and applied. High expectations for student effort and performance make this course appropriate for college or career oriented students.

Prerequisiste: Must have successfully completed or concurrently enrolled in Algebra I or higher.