Programmatic Goals: 

High School Science  in CREC Magnet Schools is based on the Connecticut’s Science Standards which are the Next Generation Science Standards. Through a series of three high school science courses (Integrated Science, Biology, and Chemistry), students develop their science and engineering skills to figure out scientific concepts and solve problems for engineering. High school science courses use phenomena, or anchoring events or problems, to set the stage for learning about science content. Within this context, students conduct investigations and research to figure out these complex phenomena throughout the course of their units of study. By the end of high school, CREC Magnet Schools Science Curricula aims to prepare students to be scientifically literate citizens, equipped with the knowledge and skills to enter into public debates involving science, such as those that relate to healthcare or the environment. 

Grade Level

High School Science Sequence*


Integrated Science






Physics, AP Physics, other AP Science or Other Science Elective

*This sequence is a typical route taken by most students. Flexibility in course sequencing is possible from year to year based on student performance, teacher recommendation, and potential summer coursework.  Many of our schools have additional courses specific to their school/theme, which are not included in the above chart. Refer to individual school program of study manuals for further information/prerequisites for these courses.

What Classroom Instruction Looks like: 

The goal of science instruction in CREC high schools is to engage students in deep understanding of the world, both natural and designed, through investigation. Additionally, high school instruction refines students ability to utilize scientific practices to critically think, analyze data, and evaluate information as they figure out new scientific content. Science instruction provides opportunities for students to become critical consumers of scientific information as it relates to their everyday lives. Finally, instruction in science seeks to create a desire to continue to learn about the beauty and wonder of science throughout their lives. 

To meet this end, CREC science teachers commit themselves to engaging students in real-world problems and phenomena. Students are being asked to figure out what something is, or why something is, through independent investigation and research. Teachers are telling students less, and asking them to figure out more as deep and critical thinkers, working with their peers to solve problems. 

Throughout each unit, students will:

  • Collaborate with their peers and conduct investigations to understand scientific concepts and to solve real-world problems. 

  • Communicate scientifically, through formal writing, such as lab reports or technical reports, scientific boards, and more informal explanations and arguments. 

  • Create and use models to demonstrate and predict science concepts. 

  • Practice and utilize scientific skills for investigation and design. 

  • Use productive discourse to deepen understanding through small group and whole class discussion. 

  • Evaluate the merits and limits of scientific models, explanations, or arguments. 

SCIENCE Course Descriptions


Integrated Science develops understandings of different phenomena related to Earth and Space sciences. Students will use physical science concepts to deepen their understanding of the universe. Students will use practices for science and engineering such as engaging in designing and conducting investigations, engaging in argument from evidence, and constructing explanations to deepen their understandings. Additionally,students will make connections across different science disciplines through multiple lenses such as patterns, energy and matter, and scale and proportionality. Integrated Science is required for graduation and fully aligns to the Next Generation Science Standards.


Students will gain an understanding of ecology, microorganisms, cells, genetics, DNA, and evolution. The course topics allow students to understand the nature of the living world and their role in it.  Emphasis is placed on scientific inquiry and laboratory activities. Students will be able to think and communicate effectively as scientists by the end of the course. Biology is required for graduation and fully aligns to the Next Generation Science Standards.


This course provides an overview of chemical principles and concepts.  Students will become familiar with the role and impact of chemicals in health, economic and social domains.  Reading and research is required, as well as application of basic algebra and math. Inquiry based learning and required hands-on lab activities are integrated into the students’ course work. Chemistry is required for graduation and fully aligns to the Next Generation Science Standards.

PHYSICS (GRADE 11 or 12, as science elective)

This course is a study of fundamental physics concepts, such as measurement, calculation, and graphing in kinematics (motion) and dynamics (forces), propagation and conservation of energy and momentum, gravitation and orbital mechanics, heat and thermodynamics, waves, optics, electromagnetic phenomena, and relativity and quantum physics. Emphasis is placed on the utilization of mathematical, analytical, data acquisition, graphical, and communication skills as well as interdisciplinary approaches to discovery. Concepts and skills will be reinforced with a strong emphasis on hands-on laboratory experiences and the integration of other branches of science. Applications to society, individuals, and the utilization of technology are included. 

Grade Level:  11, 12

Prerequisites:  Successful completion of Physical Science, Biology, and Algebra I. Prerequisites will vary by school building.


Individual Magnet Schools offer courses based on their theme and level of student interest. A sampling of courses is below. An extensive list of course offerings can be seen in the program of studies for a specific school.


This course surveys key topic areas including the application of scientific process to environmental analysis; ecology; energy flow; ecological structures; earth systems; and atmospheric, land, and water science. Topics also include the management of natural resources and analysis of private and governmental decisions involving the environment. Students explore actual case studies and conduct hands-on investigative research activities, learning that political and private decisions about the environment and the use of resources require accurate application of scientific processes, including proper data collection and responsible conclusions.

Grade Level:  11, 12

Prerequisites:  Successful completion of Integrated Science and Introductory Biology.  Prerequisites will vary by school building.


This course provides students an opportunity to explore the intricate and sophisticated relationship between structure and function in the human body. The course offers students an environment to explore topics such as homeostasis, anatomical and physiological disorders, medical diagnosis and treatment, modern and past imaging techniques, biochemistry, cytology, histology, and survey of the remarkable array of body systems that comprise the human body. Laboratory activities reinforce concepts and principles presented in the course. Laboratory activities will include several microscopic analyses of tissue specimens as well as several dissections to accompany the subject matter.

Grade Level:  11, 12

Prerequisites:  Successful completion of Introductory Biology.  General Chemistry may be required as a prerequisite or may be taken concurrently with Anatomy and Physiology.  Prerequisites will vary by school building.


This course focuses on the methods for crime scene investigation and is designed to emphasize the laboratory techniques used by forensic scientists in the analysis of crimes and the role of evidence in criminal and civil proceedings.   Students will explore methods in fingerprinting, document and handwriting analysis, ballistics, serology, hair and fiber examination, anthropology, botany and other analytic procedures. The use of DNA analysis for typing and profiling will also be investigated.  Case studies and current events will be used extensively along with guest speakers and videos as appropriate. A major component of this class will be the laboratory application of concepts discussed during lecture. This rich, hands-on experience in laboratory will focus on the analysis of evidence that may be found at crime scenes as students learn about forensic tools, technical resources, forming and testing hypotheses, proper data collection, and responsible conclusions. 

Grade Level:  11, 12

Prerequisites:  Successful completion of Integrated Science Science, Introductory Biology, and Algebra I. Prerequisites will vary by school building.


AP Biology course is designed to offer students a solid foundation in introductory college-level biology. The course is structured around the four big ideas, enduring understandings, and science practices to assist students in developing an appreciation for the study of life and help them identify and understand unifying principles within a diversified biological world.  The four Big Ideas include Evolution, Cellular Processes, Genetics and Information Transfer, and Biological Interactions. The process of inquiry in science and developing critical thinking skills is an extremely important part of this course. At the end of the course, students will have an awareness of the integration of other sciences in the study of biology, understand how the species to which we belong is similar to, yet different from, other species, and be knowledgeable and responsible citizens in understanding biological issues that could potentially affect their lives. This course prepares the student to take the AP Biology exam.  

Grade Level:  10, 11, 12

Prerequisites:  Successful completion of Introductory Biology.  General Chemistry may be required as a prerequisite or may be taken concurrently with AP Biology.  Prerequisites will vary by school building.

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