Academics

Senior High Science

Building upon the skills of observation and analysis learned in Junior High, the Senior High Science program continues training in asking questions and defining problems for science and engineering. Through textbook study and hands-on lab work, students plan and carry out investigations, analyzing and interpreting the data. They use both mathematical and computational thinking in order to construct explanations and design solutions, as well as learn the scientific rhetoric for engaging in argument from evidence. 

Our science faculty are also well versed in Church teaching in order to engage in topical discussions of creation and evolution, the priority of God’s moral law, and our role as the stewards of God’s gift of creation and the precious gift of life. SAA students leave Senior High not only equipped to succeed in any major STEM field but to hold fast to and defend the wisdom of the Church.

Biology

God created a universe that follows logical patterns and has given humans the ability to investigate and discover how it works. When we study biology, we get to marvel at the power of the Creator by examining the living things He created. 

The study of biology equips students with basic scientific knowledge of the natural world to foster their sense of wonder and understanding that they are made and loved by God. Students are encouraged to be curious and ask questions. They strengthen and increase vocabulary to critically read biological information and make detailed observations, analyze data, and construct explanations about the natural world. They are taught to communicate ideas in models, engage in written and verbal argument from evidence, and foster a love of the outdoors by becoming familiar with the natural areas around them. 

The freshman biology course builds on junior high life science, in which they learned about the diversity of the natural world. Biology focuses on the causes and processes behind many biological phenomena. The main topics of study are ecology, cells, human anatomy, genetics, and evolution (roughly in that order). In keeping with papal teaching, the scientific hypothesis of evolution is understood within the revealed truth of God’s authorship over creation.

Chemistry

God created our universe to include patterns and rules that scientists have been investigating for millennia. Chemistry is the study of the fundamental composition of the universe which is governed by these basic rules. The Chemistry course at St. Ambrose Academy enables students to further understand the properties and behaviors of matter by covering topics such as atomic structure and the properties of atoms, molecules, and matter during physical change and chemical interactions; forces within atoms, molecules, and matter; the exchange of energy involved in physical changes and chemical interactions; how substances interact with one another to produce new substances; patterns in chemical and physical properties; and chemical reactions. The course also focuses on building our students’ laboratory skills through scientific investigations and the writing of formal lab reports. Text Used: Glencoe, Chemistry, Concepts and Applications

Advanced Chemistry

The Advanced Chemistry course builds upon students’ knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry with the knowledge that all patterns and order that we observe in our universe were created by God. The course will expand on several topics including atoms and the elements, molecules, ions and compounds, equations and stoichiometry, atomic structure, atomic and molecular orbital theory, acids and bases, equilibrium, and organic chemistry. Students will also improve their laboratory skills throughout this course which will include writing formal lab reports. Students who excel in this course are good candidates for the AP Chemistry exam after completing Advanced Chemistry. This course will prepare students for university-level chemistry classes. Text Used: Kotz & Treichel, Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity

Physics

The course studies motion, forces, gravitation, momentum and its conservation, energy, work, and simple machines, energy and its conservation, thermal energy, states of matter, vibrations and waves, sound, fundamentals of light, reflection and mirrors, refractions and lenses, interference and diffraction, static electricity, electric fields, current electricity, series and parallel circuits, magnetic fields, electromagnetic induction, electromagnetism, quantum theory, the atom, solid-state electronics, and nuclear physics. Text Used: Glencoe, Physics

Biology 2

Biology 2 offers an advanced and more thorough study of the topics covered in Biology, as well as new topics not broached in the lower-level course. Students who do well are good candidates for the AP Biology exam after completing Biology 2. Text Used: Principles of Life, David M. Hillis, et al.