Curriculum Detail

Explore Our Curriculum


Science education at Sage Hill School is an evolutionary process. Our students emerge as scientifically literate citizens; their expanded confidence, knowledge, and skills enable them to view science as a means of understanding the human experience.

Students will begin their science journey in Chemistry or Accelerated Chemistry. In addition to learning about the building blocks of matter, students will focus on understanding the dynamic, interdisciplinary nature of the scientific process and its relevance in the modern world. Upon successful completion of core courses in physical and life sciences, students in the upper grade levels can choose to pursue an even wider variety of electives. Our diverse department offerings give students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills in certain subject areas and explore coursework that will help them understand real-life applications of science.
  • Honors Chemistry

    Honors Chemistry differs from Chemistry with respect to the emphasis on chemical calculations, applied concepts from advanced algebra topics, and the kind and precision of laboratory work performed by students. Honors Chemistry leverages students’ advanced mathematical skills to move through the theoretical underpinnings of the course quickly, allowing time for students to develop the skills of collecting and analyzing high-quality data. Honors Chemistry is designed for students who do not need any introductions or refreshers when it comes to concepts such as logarithms and systems of linear equations. In Honors Chemistry, students should expect an increase in the rigor, detail and pace of the course, with a stronger focus on laboratory analysis. Like Chemistry, Honors Chemistry provides an excellent foundation for further science study at Sage Hill School.
  • Chemistry

    Chemistry is the foundation of the study of science at Sage Hill School. Students will explore science as a process, learn the chemistry concepts that influence our lives and are the underpinning of modern biology, and develop their analytical and science writing skills. This provides students with hands-on laboratory experience, as they learn the common analytical tools and techniques that are used by scientists today. The connections among chemical topics, students’ lives, and the world in which they will live and work drive the curricular questions and skill development in the course. After completing the course, students will have a powerful framework to understand biology.
  • Honors Biology

    Honors Biology is designed to investigate both a breadth of topics and a depth of understanding and appreciation for the biological sciences. Honors Biology explores how current topics in modern biology reinforce, contribute to, and advance the body of scientific knowledge. In Honors Biology, students should expect an increase in the rigor, detail and pace of the course, with a stronger focus on laboratory analysis. Like Biology, Honors Biology provides an excellent foundation for further science study at Sage Hill School.
  • Biology

    Biology is a year-long survey course designed to introduce students to a broad range of topics in the life sciences. The curriculum introduces students to cell biology, biochemistry, genetics, DNA technology, evolution and the diversity of life, ecology, and selected topics in human anatomy and physiology. Students learn these topics in the context of understanding biology and its critical role in society. The course has a significant laboratory component in which students will learn the techniques that serve as the foundation for modern microbiological research.
  • AP Chemistry

    Advanced Placement Chemistry is equivalent to a one-year, introductory college general chemistry course. Students cultivate their understanding of chemistry through inquiry-based investigations, as they explore topics including atomic structure, intermolecular forces and bonding, chemical reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics and equilibrium. The course uses a college textbook, complex laboratory investigations and higher-level mathematical formulations of chemical principles.
  • Marine Science

    This interdisciplinary elective course provides an overview of physical and biological oceanographic principles that affect the world’s oceans and the marine life they support. Through discussion and laboratory-based study, students will come to understand the dynamic processes that shape the marine environment. Topics of study range from the formation of the oceans themselves, to winds and waves (including tides), major ocean currents, and the factors that shape Earth’s marine ecosystems. A substantial portion of the course is dedicated to the study of life in the sea. The diversity of marine organisms described in the course includes everything from microbes to whales. Particular emphasis will be given to the ecology of special marine habitats found in our own “backyard,” along the coast of Southern California.
  • AP Environmental Science

    Advanced Placement Environmental Science is the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science, through which students engage with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. The course requires that students identify and analyze natural and human-made environmental problems, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary, embracing topics from geology, biology, chemistry and geography.
  • AP Biology

    Advanced Placement Biology is the equivalent of two semesters of a college-level course. Students develop the conceptual framework, factual knowledge and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly-changing science of biology. Instruction is focused upon enduring, conceptual understandings and the content that supports them. This approach will enable students to spend less time on factual recall and more time on inquiry-based learning of essential concepts, and will help them develop the reasoning skills necessary to engage in the science practices used throughout their study of AP Biology. Particular emphasis will be given to the connections among the various topics in biology, as well as their application to social and environmental concerns.
  • Organic Chemistry

    Students in this course will study the wide range of phenomena that arise from the special properties of the carbon atom. From the reactions that are the basis for all living organisms, to linalyl acetate, the molecule that gives sage its distinctive smell, organic chemistry is ubiquitous in the world around us. The course will build on students’ knowledge of chemistry and give them exposure to analytical techniques used by chemists through a significant laboratory component. After studying how bonding affects the shape and stability of molecules, students will analyze how molecules move around in space and explore a variety of reactions that occur in organic chemistry. Real-world case studies will provide students with the opportunity to meet the ultimate course goal: to use organic chemistry as a tool to identify and solve problems that are open-ended and meaningful.
  • 3D Design, Modeling and Fabrication (Sage Connected)

    This course bridges themes from engineering and science, art and design, and math and modeling. The goal of the course is to have students, with no expected background in 3D design or printing, get introduced to the technology and gain mastery through a series of projects and design challenges. Students with base knowledge will have options in all assignments to level-up. Instruction on hardware and software programs will be primarily through video tutorials that students will access independently. In-person meetings will be for hands-on work with the 3D printers and tinkering with the items they create. The course is also tied to the 3D Prosthetics Service Learning Project which all students must be a part of. The group work on prosthetics requires extensive communication and collaboration. This class will meet three times a week during zero period but students will check their prints and work on their projects often, outside of class, based on their individual schedules.
  • AP Physics 1

    Advanced Placement Physics 1 is the equivalent of the first semester of introductory physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of Physics through inquiry-based investigations as they explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy and power. This is an algebra-based course that also uses basic trigonometry.
  • AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

    This course is the equivalent of one semester of calculus-based physics for physics and engineering majors. Students in AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism will extend their understanding of calculus to include its application to electric and magnetic fields. Calculating these quantities requires the use of math that is beyond the scope of a first year of calculus. As such, these additional topics -- including vector calculus and the calculus of multiple variables - will be developed as-needed. Through their study of stationary and dynamic charges and their interactions with vector fields, students will “get to the bottom” of a narrow range of topics (i.e. electricity and magnetism). In addition to getting to experience what it is like to get to “the end” of a topic in physics, students may also find AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism useful as a window into what it would be like to major in physics or engineering at the college level.
  • AP Physics 2

    Advanced Placement Physics 2 is the equivalent of the second semester of introductory physics. 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; mechanical waves and sound; physical and geometric optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics. This is an algebrabased course that also uses basic trigonometry.
  • Engineering

    This year-long course will expose students to many aspects in the field of engineering. The course will focus on experiential learning, laboratory and design exercises, and case study analysis. Students will also learn mathematical and physical principles from relevant sciences and math for applications to fields of engineering. Students will be exposed to various specialties within the field as they learn how to design, build and analyze models. Students will compile a portfolio of Engineering design work throughout the year.
  • Photo of Anie Robinson
    Anie Robinson
    Science Department Chair, Science Teacher
  • Photo of Todd Haney
    Todd Haney
    Science instructor
  • Photo of Justin Johnson
    Justin Johnson
    Science Teacher, Head Coach Boys' Volleyball
  • Photo of Kerry Langdale
    Kerry Langdale
    Science Teacher
  • Photo of Thomas Ronan
    Thomas Ronan
    Science Teacher
  • Photo of Derek Shapiro
    Derek Shapiro
    Science Teacher
  • Photo of Aaron Soffa
    Aaron Soffa
    Science Teacher
  • Photo of Beril Tekin
    Beril Tekin
    Science Teacher
  • Photo of Dan Thomassen
    Dan Thomassen
    Science Teacher, Program Head Girls' Volleyball

Sage Hill School

Sage Hill School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the School. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and athletic and other School administered programs.