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Science and Technology

The great challenges facing our world today will be solved, at least in part, with keen and compassionate scientific solutions. Our principal goal is to train students to be these leader-scientists.

The Science Department aims to equip students with methods of scientific research and inquiry and develop the ability to reason scientifically. The standard departmental course sequence begins with a study of the natural world and life in it, generally, and our unique place and its life here, specifically.

From the study of biology, the standard science path is for a student to take either chemistry or physics for an essential, formal laboratory science experience. Fulfillment of the three-course graduation requirement is then completed through any number of engaging electives.

The department has intentionally built “strands of study” that allow the avid science student to explore in depth an area of discovered passion. Strands include agroecology, astronomy, biotechnology, chemistry, computer technology and science, marine science, physics, and robotics.

Our department and course of study allows any willing student the ability to attain the highest level of scientific work in the world available in a high school setting.

Available Courses

Biology

1.0 credits
Biology is a course that explores the full range of standard biology topics at a level that prepares students to take the SAT II in biology. Topics include cell biology, molecular biology and genetics, and evolution and ecology. Labs and activities complement lectures and readings. Students learn methods of biological investigations, how to derive knowledge from these investigations, and the theories that organize this knowledge. In addition to laboratory skills, students are challenged to develop their independent reading, note taking, and essay writing skills. There is no prerequisite for this course.

Biology Honors

1.0 credits
Biology Honors, or Pre-AP Biology, is a challenging course that explores the full range of standard biology topics at a level that prepares students to take the SAT II in biology or Advanced Placement Biology. Topics include cell biology, molecular biology and genetics, and evolution and ecology. Labs and activities complement lectures and readings. Students learn methods of biological investigations, how to derive knowledge from these investigations, and the theories that organize this knowledge. In addition to laboratory skills, students are challenged to develop their independent reading, note taking, and essay writing skills. The prerequisite for this course is a teacher recommendation.

Marine Biology

0.5 credits

Marine Biology focuses on the ocean ecosystem and its inhabitants. The course uses lecture, field trips, documentaries, projects, labs, and web-based resources to explore the marine world. The course includes the study of physical oceanography and a detailed survey of the characteristics and ecology of the major taxonomic groups of marine organisms. The prerequisite for this course is Biology.

Biotechnology

0.5 credits
Biotechnology is a semester course designed to give students a comprehensive introduction to the scientific concepts and laboratory research techniques currently used in the field of biotechnology. Students attain knowledge about the field of biotechnology and deeper understanding of the biological concepts used. In addition, students develop the laboratory, critical thinking, and communication skills currently used in the biotechnology industry. Furthermore, students will explore and evaluate career opportunities in the field of biotechnology through extensive readings, laboratory experiments, class discussions and research projects. The objectives covered in this course are both academic and technical in nature and are presented in a progressively rigorous manner. The culminating and platform laboratory experience on which this course will be based is the creation of a DNA barcode of targeted marine organisms. Accurate completion of this relevant laboratory task may offer the exciting possibility for publication of the student's data into the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD), a global genetic database. The prerequisite for this course is Biology. The course is only open to Juniors and seniors.

Chemistry

1.0 credits
This course is heavily lab-oriented. As such, consistent attendance is a necessary condition for success. Students will be taught what to look for, the need to make their own observations, as well as record them appropriately in a laboratory notebook. Also, students will be required to develop process skills that will enable them to succeed in working collaboratively. Our curriculum presents wonderful opportunities to introduce students to the concept of Green Chemistry and science as a process. Green chemistry refers to the design of chemical products and processes that will reduce the use and generation of hazardous substances. As students are exposed to the laboratories in this class, they will become aware of increased safety, and the values and benefits of science to the next generation. The prerequisite for this course is completion of or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II Trigonometry.

Chemistry Honors

1.0 credits
This course is heavily lab-oriented. As such, consistent attendance is a necessary condition for success. Students will be taught what to look for, the need to make their own observations, as well as record them appropriately in a laboratory notebook. Also, students will be required to develop process skills that will enable them to succeed in working collaboratively. As an Honors level course, students should expect homework and assessments regularly. Prerequisites include a demonstrated level of success in previous science and math courses. Students should have a solid foundation in algebra at the minimum. The ability to manipulate data using formulas is critical to success in this course. Our curriculum also presents wonderful opportunities to introduce students to the concept of Green Chemistry and science as a process. Green chemistry refers to the design of chemical products and processes that will reduce the use and generation of hazardous substances. As students are exposed to the laboratories in this class, they will become aware of increased safety, and the values and benefits of science to the next generation. The prerequisite for this course is completion of or concurrent in enrollment in Algebra II Trigonometry and a teacher recommendation.

AP Chemistry

1.0 credits
The AP Chemistry course provides students with a college-level foundation to support future advanced course work in chemistry. Students cultivate their understanding of chemistry through inquiry-based investigations, as they explore topics such as: atomic structure, intermolecular forces and bonding, chemical reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and equilibrium. Twenty-five percent of instructional time is devoted to inquiry-based laboratory investigations. Students ask questions, make observations and predictions, design experiments, analyze data, and construct arguments in a collaborative setting where they direct and monitor their progress. The prerequisite for this course is the completion of Chemistry Honors and Precalculus Honors or concurrent enrollment in the latter.

Physics

1.0 credits
This course is an introduction and survey of Physics to help equip any student for further study in the sciences. Topics include: motion, force, energy, electricity, magnetism, and light. Students utilize laptop computers as data-gathering and testing devices in this hands-on course. The prerequisite for this course is completion of or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II Trigonometry.

AP Physics 2

1.0 credits
AP Physics 2 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of physics through inquiry-based investigations as they explore topics such as fluid statics and dynamics; thermodynamics with kinetic theory; PV diagrams and probability; electrostatics; electrical circuits with capacitors; magnetic fields; electromagnetism; physical and geometric optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics. In this course, a significant amount of time will be spent in hands-on laboratory work, with an emphasis on inquiry-based investigations that provide students with opportunities to apply the science practices. This course culminates with all students taking the AP Physics 2 Exam at the end of the school year. Exam questions are based on learning objectives, which combine science practices with specific content. Students learn to: solve problems mathematically (including symbolically); design and describe experiments and analyze data and sources of error; explain, reason, or justify answers with emphasis on deeper, conceptual understanding; and interpret and develop conceptual and mathematical models. The prerequisite for this course is the completion of AP Physics 1 and the completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, Precalculus.

AP Physics C

1.0 credits
AP Physics C is a calculus-based, college-level physics course. The course is divided by semesters. The first semester is devoted to the study of Mechanics (kinematics; Newton’s law of motion; work, energy and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravity). In the second semester, we will cover the topics in Electricity & Magnetism (electrostatics; conductors, capacitors and dielectrics; electric circuits; magnetic fields; and electromagnetism). In addition to solving problems, there is a lab component to the course In the spring, students take two separate AP exams, Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism, and receive a separate AP score for each. The prerequisite for this course is successful completion of AP Physics I or equivalent and completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, AP Calculus AB or BC.

Agro-Ecology I

0.5 credits

Agro-Ecology 1 is designed to acquaint students with the ecological underpinnings of conventional production agriculture, sustainable agriculture, and organic agriculture. It will introduce the student to basic ecological concepts, systems thinking, creative thinking and the interrelation of the factors involved in crop production. The students will participate in field trips, in-class labs at the HPA terrace farms, and computer simulations that will illustrate concepts of ecology within agricultural systems. This course is for students who want to learn about the interrelationships of the natural world. Students will solve real problems and gain a strong foundation in environmental, plant, soil and insect sciences. Activities will use a holistic system approach to meeting our needs to feed, clothe, shelter and entertain oneself in a way that our land, society, and ecosystem can sustain. Plant identification, growing mediums, seedbeds, necessary plant environments and eco-friendly pest control will all be evaluated. There will be projects in landscape design and rehabilitation, which will require learning plant, tree, shrub, and flower maintenance.

Agro-Ecology II

0.5 credits

Agro-Ecology 2 is lab-based. As such, students will be taught what to look for, the need to make their own observations, as well as record them appropriately in a scientific notebook. Also, students will be required to develop process skills that will enable them to succeed in working collaboratively. Our curriculum presents wonderful opportunities to introduce students to the concept of sustainable agriculture and science as a process. Agroecology is linking ecology, culture, economics, and society to sustain agricultural production, healthy environments, and viable food and farming communities.

Astronomy

0.5 or 1.0 credits
In Astronomy, students will explore topics on a large scale: from the Earth to the outer reaches of the Cosmos. We begin with learning about the Earth and its place in the solar system before moving out of the solar system and studying distant stars and galaxies. Students learn how to use indirect measurement to find the size of the Earth, Moon, and Sun as well as their distances from each other. Likewise, we use similar measurement skills to find distances to stars both near and distant as well as very distant galaxies. There are several lab experiences in Astronomy as well as regular night viewing and trips to Hale Pohaku on Mauna Kea and the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. Students can also work in conjunction with professional astronomers on projects that are of both interest and import to the astronomical community with the ultimate goal of having their work published. Although Astronomy does not require mathematics beyond basic algebra and trigonometry, mathematics is used on a daily basis and students are advised to be ready to apply their skills. The prerequisite for this course is completion of or concurrent enrollment in Algebra II Trigonometry. This course is only open to Juniors and Seniors.

Environmental Science

0.5 credits
This course examines past, present, and future with regard to environmental change and human impact. Focus is on Hawai‘i’s unique atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere. Students apply past and current trends toward predicting future outcomes. Local environmental issues are presented and debated to provide insight, information, and different points of view.

Physical Oceanography

0.5 or 1.0 credits
Students will explore the physics of the ocean, from surface to abyss, from ice ages until present and into the future. The course will emphasize the original research students will conduct using data from the Hawai‘i area. Students will learn how physics, chemistry and geology play key roles in tsunamis, surfing waves, currents and climate. Oceanography is a new science, where open questions abound: How long does it take waters to stabilize after a hurricane? How deep into the water does ocean acidification reach? How are oxygen concentrations affected by sunshine? Do tsunamis generate measurable mixing? Students will use data to conduct original research into questions, of their choosing, like these. The ocean influences the development of civilizations, climate, politics, economics. This class will teach students how mainstream oceanographers see the world ocean, and how they go about seeking answers to questions lurking in waters of the world. First semester’s focus will be on how geography, geology and chemistry influence the distribution of water, salt and heat in the ocean. Polar ice will be an important part of the story. Topics will include mapping, earth core, ice, glaciation, deep water, chemistry, and density. Second semester’s focus will be on the movement of water (like waves, tides, currents) and how this influences climate. Topics will include heat, waves, tides, and currents. Students will be assessed on labs, projects and tests with science reasoning as the primary focus. The prerequisite is completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, Algebra II Trigonometry Honors or Precalculus.

Science Research

0.5 credits
The Science Research class centers on a willingness of students to research independently a topic of their interest that tests perseverance, dedication, and commitment on the student's’ part. A well-organized project notebook is a cornerstone of this course as is a thorough topic research component. Students follow specific guidelines to submit a scientific paper and presentation at the end of the semester reviewed by faculty, staff and peers

AP Environmental Science

1.0 credits
Sustainability is one of the fastest growing topics in the world today. We strive to investigate three global challenges (energy, water, food) and culture. HPA’s Go Green projects and Energy Lab are unique resources in our study of Environmental Science. This course covers topics including renewable energy, resource depletion, pollution, population, global footprint, and sustainability among others. Colleges evaluate this course as equal to other college science courses, and successful completion should prepare students to be fluent in all major concepts and challenges facing the environment, and be an asset to any future work in this field and much more. This should also lead to an excellent score on the AP exams in May. The prerequisite for this course is Biology Honors, concurrently enrolled in Algebra II Trigonometry, and teacher recommendation.

Intro to Programming

0.5 credits

Advanced Computer Science

0.5 or 1.0 credits

AP Computer Science A

1.0 credits

Robotics

0.5 credits
Robotics is a multifaceted discipline that aims to automate and explore the world using programmable mechanical devices known more commonly as robots. This course will introduce students to the foundations of robotics through multiple group projects in which they will build and program robots to solve real-world problems. Additionally, students will learn about the history of robotics, modern-day applications, and future developments in the field. Using the engineering design team concept as a model, you will work in groups to research, design, program, and construct robotic devices used in competitions and to accomplish specific tasks. The prerequisite for this course is Geometry.

The Art and Science of Surf

0.5 credits
In The Art and Science of Surf, students will study the mechanics of ocean waves and wave riding in order to design and shape their own functional surfboard. They will explore the physics of the generation, propagation and breaking of waves, the science of wave riding, and the fluid mechanics of a surfboard. Students will develop their knowledge of surfboard construction by working with shaping tools, learning about the components of a surfboard and meeting with local shapers. They will gain an appreciation for the history of surf and surfboard design, and learn about sustainable practices in this process. Students will have regular homework, including problem sets related to key topics in surfing. They will also use Haiku to document the design decisions they make while building and shaping their surfboards. As a final culminating project, students will design and shape a surfboard. These will be displayed to the school before being ocean tested. Students will be responsible for a course fee to pay for the materials for their board (actual costs to be determined, approximately $150). The prerequisite for this course is Algebra II Trigonometry. It is only open to juniors and seniors.

Energy

0.5 credits

Energy Students will discover and create energy challenges and solutions for the next century in this hands-on course, beginning with active energy monitoring of the HPA campus based at the energy lab, moving on to various forms of renewable energy. Create your own energy audit of one of our campus buildings, using the tools and technologies that will enable you to be a change agent in the future.

Biodiversity

0.5 credits

Biodiversity provides an introduction to biodiversity, from species description to phylogeny reconstruction and the role of biodiversity in society. A central focus will be on helping students improve their understanding of biological vocabulary. By the end of this course students will be familiar with ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that cause spatial and temporal patterns of global biodiversity. Students will compare and assess conservation efforts using approaches drawn from fields of genetics, physiology, population biology, community ecology, and economics. Students will also be asked to discuss and evaluate the consequences of biodiversity loss in terms ecosystem services and from an ethical perspective with a focus on issues in Hawai`i. No prerequisites required. This course is open to Sophomores through Seniors.

Physical Oceanography

0.5 credits

Physical Oceanography asks students to explore the physics of the ocean, from surface to abyss, from ice ages until present and into the future. The course will emphasize the original research you will conduct using data from the Hawaii area. You will learn how physics, chemistry and geology play key roles in tsunamis, surfing waves, currents and climate. Oceanography is a new science, where open questions abound: How long does it take waters to stabilize after a hurricane? How deep into the water does ocean acidification reach? How are oxygen concentrations affected by sunshine? Do tsunamis generate measurable mixing? You'll use data to conduct original research into questions, of your choosing, like these. The ocean influences the development of civilizations, climate, politics, economics. This class will teach you how mainstream oceanographers see the world ocean, and how they go about seeking answers to questions lurking in waters of the world. First semester’s focus will be on how geography, geology and chemistry influence the distribution of water, salt and heat in the ocean. Polar ice will be an important part of the story. Topics will include mapping, earth core, ice, glaciation, deep water, chemistry, and density. Second semester’s focus will be on the movement of water (like waves, tides, currents) and how this influences climate. Topics will include heat, waves, tides, and currents. Students will be assessed on labs, projects and tests with science reasoning as the primary focus rather than mere fact recall. The prerequisite is completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, Algebra II Trigonometry Honors or Precalculus.

Computer & Electrical Engineering

0.5 credits

Computer & Electrical Engineering is designed to familiarize you with the foundational concepts, technologies, and approaches underlying the related fields of Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science. We will explore these fields through a project-based learning approach, with a strong emphasis on building and programming electrical and computer systems in class. Over the semester, this course will take students from the basic principles of electricity up to designing and constructing "smart" devices based off the Arduino microcontroller. This course aims to help you better understand, and thus better appreciate, the computer technology that suffuses our modern world by demystifying the “black box” of the computer.

Robotics

0.5 credits

Robotics explores the interaction between science and technology. This course is designed to interest you in the field of robotics and motivate you to pursue advanced education in science and engineering. In this class, you will apply the scientific method and build on physics and mathematics concepts by investigative research that requires inquiry, data collection, and analysis. Included is instruction in the history and theory of robotic technology, computer control systems, underwater systems, electronics, and artificial intelligence. Computer programming is emphasized. Using the engineering design team concept as a model, you will work in groups to research, design, program, and construct robotic devices used in competitions and to accomplish specific tasks. The prerequisite for this course is Geometry.

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