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.
- Biology Honors
- Marine Biology
- Chemistry Honors
- AP Chemistry
- AP Physics 2
- AP Physics C
- AP Environmental Science
- Physical Oceanography
- Independent Science Research
- AP Environmental Science
- The Art and Science of Surf
- Physical Oceanography
- Foundation Science
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 is 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 on which these processes are based. In addition, students develop some of the basic laboratory skills, including pipette use. 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 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 open to Juniors and Seniors.
This course provides continued experience in select molecular DNA laboratory procedures. As a capstone course, and upon completion, students should be able to perform laboratory techniques and use instrumentation common to basic biotechnology and apply these skills in a laboratory investigation, actual or theoretical in design of solving a problem and/or creating a product.
Agro-Ecology 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. There is no prerequisite.
AP Environmental Science Sustainability is one of the fastest growing topics in the world today. We strive to investigate four global challenges: energy, water, food and culture. HPA’s Energy Lab and sustainability projects 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.
Independent Science Research (1.0) begins with students creating a project proposal, listing resources, needs and possible outcomes and impact on the student, the school and the world. Once accepted, students meet together for class, report daily on their weblog diary, and create a weekly report of progress, challenges and resources needed. A quarterly progress video and semester presentations enable students to develop skills in presentation and articulation. This is an advanced course that puts a great deal of responsibility on the student to create, develop and report on a project of their interest. Examples of ongoing projects include: brain wave research, 3D modeling, drone mapping, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D visualization, earthquakes and much more. The prerequisite for this course is Freshman standing and teacher recommendation. (ISR Wiki: http://physics.hpa.edu/groups/independentscienceresearch/)
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 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.
Electronics 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 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.
Foundation Science is an introductory course in which students build a core science skill set through lab-based explorations of topics in physics, chemistry, biology, and other fields. Students will develop laboratory, measurement, and data analysis skills while gaining digital literacy with spreadsheets and scientific software platforms. This course has a strong emphasis on the scientific method, applied math, and technical writing, with the goal of preparing students for success in HPA’s core science curriculum.
Flight provides a differentiated entry to an experienced level course for all students who have an interest in remote controlled, scratch build aviation, mechanical engineering, computer science, chemical engineering, electrical engineering and/or STEM-related careers. The course will teach the concepts of scratch build aviation for 21st-century learners using a modified engineering design model process. The innovative, STEM-driven hands-on aircraft activities engage learners at every level and provide real-world learning opportunities that expose students to careers in science and technology. The course also stresses critical 21st-century skills, such as communication and teamwork. The course involves both student-directed and teacher-led curricula to create a powerful and effective hands-on experience. The ultimate goal is to provide students with a course option that will prepare them for studying engineering at the college level. There is no prerequisite.