Our vision is to connect, engage, and inspire all students in the Ayer Shirley Regional School District to reach academic excellence. We, the educators of the Ayer Shirley Regional School District, will instill habits of reflection and inquiry to challenge our students in setting ambitious academic and personal goals. Students will develop a strong voice to express thoughts and ideas in the community and the confidence to showcase their talents and successes in preparation for entry into college and the world of work. 

 

Science Department

The Science Department believes that it is important that all students engage themselves in a process of life-long learning that includes acquiring skills in scientific reasoning, application of technology, and critical thinking. A solid, well-rounded education in science and technology serves our students well in providing opportunities for vocations and careers for many of them in the ever-increasing number of STEM fields, as well as providing a base of scientific knowledge for many other aspects of everyday life. It is the goal of the Science Department faculty to facilitate learning and encourage mastery of scientific and technical skills and knowledge, as well as supporting educational excellence in other subjects, to assist students in preparing for their future successes.

The science curriculum includes science and technology core courses and electives at general levels, college preparatory, honors, and advanced placement courses.  For graduation, students are required to complete four science courses, 3 of which are expected to be lab-based. For more information, please see the Program of Studies.

Life Science Offerings
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BIOLOGY H

This class is a laboratory science course. Students coming in from grade 8 or current students in grade 9 must be recommended to the course by their current science teacher. All course work is designed to satisfy the State Frameworks (Strand 1 and Strand II) for life science in grades 9 and 10. Students will study cell chemistry, cell structures and their functions, photosynthesis and respiration, mitosis, meiosis, nucleic acids, and heredity. Viruses, Monacans and Protista, ASRHS Program of Studies, 2015 – 2016, 030315 19 and the Plant Kingdom will be studied to show differences in cells and to introduce the concepts of evolution and genetic variation, asexual and sexual reproduction, the interdependence of all life forms and the flow of matter and energy in ecosystems. Students who take this course are challenged to use many higher order critical and creative thinking skills in both written and oral work. Student research and oral presentations are included, as are formal written lab reports.

 

BIOLOGY CP

This class is a laboratory science course. All course work is designed to satisfy the State Frameworks (Strand 1 and Strand II) for life science in grades 9 and 10. Students will study the characteristics of cell structure, nucleic acids and heredity. The characteristics of Plants, Viruses, Monera, Protista and Fungi and asexual and sexual reproduction, evolution and genetic variations, photosynthesis, respiration and the interdependence of all life forms will be introduced during the study of these organisms. Inquiry skills as outlined in Strand 1 of the Frameworks Learning Standards will be practiced.

 

ADVANCED BIOLOGY

This class is a laboratory science course offered in the Fall semester where students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore the following major topics: 1) the process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life. 2) Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, reproduce, and maintain dynamic homeostasis. The inquiry based investigations require students to ask questions, make observations and predictions, design experiments, analyze data, and construct arguments in a collaborative setting, where they direct and monitor their progress. Although it is not required, it is expected that students who take this course will also take AP Biology in the spring semester and register for the national Biology AP exam which is given in May. Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry

 

ADVANCED PLACEMENT BIOLOGY

This class is a laboratory science course offered during the Spring semester and follows the AP Course Audit syllabus for AP Biology, and is offered in the spring semester and continues where Advanced Biology leaves off by continuing to cultivate the students understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore two additional major topics: 1) Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes. 2) Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties. The inquiry based Investigations require students to ask questions, make observations and predictions, design experiments, analyze data, and construct arguments in a collaborative setting, where they direct and monitor their progress. Although it is not required, students that have taken both Advanced Biology and AP Biology be encouraged to take the national Biology AP exam in May. Prerequisite: Advanced Biology, Biology and Chemistry.



ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY H

This elective laboratory science course is offered during alternating (even numbered) years and is designed for the student who has an interest in general science, nursing, medicine, or physical therapy. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students will learn about the structure of the human body as well as the functions that those structures perform. The course contains a variety of student led presentations about illnesses relating to the various systems. The course culminates with the dissection of a fetal pig. The purpose of this is to experience the various systems first hand. Participation in some form is required. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology or Special Permission.

 

MICROBIOLOGY AND HUMAN DISEASE

This elective class is a laboratory science course and is offered during alternating (odd numbered) years. This course is designed for students who are considering a career in healthcare. It is an introduction to human disease and the microorganisms that are responsible for causing these diseases. Topics include identification of microorganisms, their structure and function, and associated diseases. Students will analyze how this information is used to diagnose and treat disease. This course will be a hands-on lab science. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology

 

BIOETHICS

This elective course is offered during alternating (odd numbered) years. Students will explore various bioethical issues that exist in today’s complex world and the possible ramifications that they may have. Topics include stem cell research, organ donation, in vitro fertilization, and genetically engineered food. Work would be focused around research, presentations, and discussion. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology.

 

HUMAN GENETICS

This elective semester course is offered during alternating (even numbered years) and may interest students who are pursuing a career in a medical or biological field, or who simply have an interest in genetics. The course utilizes concepts learned in Biology and builds on them to investigate the role of chromosomes in our lives. Studies will begin with a brief review of Mendelian Genetics, DNA structure and replication. Exploration of more modern genetic topics will follow, such as epigenetics, cloning, stem cell research, DNA fingerprinting, genetic basis for disease, genetics of behaviors, and genetic technologies Prerequisite: Biology

 

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Environmental science explores the interrelatedness between the environment and life on earth. It is designed to promote the understanding of the diversity and the interrelationships among all living things and the environment. Through science inquiry, students will learn about the ecosystems around them, biodiversity and sustainability, climate change, human interactions that affect the environment as well as environmental laws and regulations. The learning strategies include, but are not limited to, science inquiry and investigations, field study, laboratories, online research, projects, reading assignments with class discussion, video and lecture. The process of scientific inquiry is stressed throughout the course both in developing concepts and performing investigation to expand our present knowledge of environmental science. Students will understand that science is a unique and powerful way to learn about the natural world and relies upon curiosity, creativity, observation, analysis, and critical thinking. Successful completion of biology is recommended.

 

 

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Chemistry Offerings
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Chemistry offerings: 

 

CHEMISTRY COLLEGE CREDIT 

This class is a laboratory science course and examines the structure of matter, its properties, and the changes it undergoes. Students will make use of both experiment and theory to gain a better understanding of the nature of matter and of the experiment to gather and interpret the data collected and discuss the conclusions. This course places emphasis on the mathematics involved in solving problems as well as the critical thinking process. This course contains discussions dealing with Unit Conversion Method, Organization of Matter, Chemical Formulas and Compounds, Stoichiometry, Phases of Matter, Solutions and their Behavior, Gases, The Kinetic Molecular Theory, Acids and Bases, Reaction Rates and Equilibrium, Neutralization, Thermochemistry, and Descriptive Chemistry. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology AND Integrated Math 2, OR Special Permission. Students must pass the MWCC Accuplacer test in order to be enrolled in this course. 

 

CHEMISTRY H 

This class is a laboratory science course and begins with data analysis, uncertainty in measurement, and will continue with topics such as Matter and change, Problem Solving in Chemistry, Atomic Structure, Chemical Names and Formulas, Chemistry Quantities and Reactions, Stoichiometry, The Systems of Matter, Thermochemistry, Behavior of Gases, Bonding, Acids and Bases, Properties of Solutions, Chemical Periodicities, Water and Aqueous Systems. Students will make use of both experiment and theory to gain a better understanding of the nature of matter and of the experiment. This course places emphasis on the mathematics involved in solving problems as well as the critical thinking process. This course will offer students opportunities to learn, practice, and master skills relevant to their everyday world and to their future professional goals. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology AND Integrated Math 2, OR Special Permission. 

 

CHEMISTRY CP 

This class is a laboratory science course and will begin with an introduction to data analysis, uncertainty in measurement, and will continue with topics such as Matter and change, Problem Solving in Chemistry, Atomic Structure, Chemical Names and Formulas, Chemistry Quantities and Reactions, Stoichiometry, The Systems of Matter, Thermochemistry, Behavior of Gases, Bonding, Acids and Bases, Properties of Solutions, Chemical Periodicities, Water and Aqueous Systems. This course will offer students opportunities to learn, practice, and master skills relevant to their everyday world and to their future professional goals. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology AND Integrated 2, Integrated Math 2, OR Special Permission. 

 

CHEMISTRY IN THE COMMUNITY 

This course is designed to help students realize the important role that community plays in their personal and professional lives, use chemistry to think through and make informed decisions about issues involving science and technology, and develop a lifelong awareness of both the potential and implications of science and technology. The topic serves as a basis for introducing the chemistry needed to understand and analyze it. The setting for each unit is a community. The topics will include Supplying Our Water Needs, Conserving Chemical Resources, and Petroleum: To Build? To Burn? Understanding Food, Nuclear Chemistry in Our World, Chemical Industry: Promise and Challenge and Air and Climate: Your Risk and Choices. Prerequisite: Completion of Biology or Special Permission. 

 

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Physics Offerings
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PHYSICS CP 

This class is a laboratory science course and is primarily for students who are planning to continue their education at a four- year college or university. Problem solving and logical reasoning skills are considered vital ingredients to students’ success in the course. Students will conduct a hands-on study of the physical laws of nature, with topics ranging from Motion, Force, Energy, Electricity and Magnetism, Waves, Sound and Light explored in extensive lab investigations. Selected topics of modern physics will be introduced as the course progresses. Prerequisite: Chemistry, Integrated Math 2, or special permission from the instructor. 

 

APPLIED PHYSICS 

This class is open to any student, but is focused on providing a general education in physics for students who may be attending a two-year college or students who intend to enter the workforce directly out of high school. Students will satisfy their high school laboratory science requirement, and will study topics similar to those introduced in the Physics CP class, but at a different pace and not as narrowly focused. Hands-on lab investigations are a primary learning method of this class, as are guided solutions to real-world problems. 

 

ADVANCED PLACEMENT PHYSICS 

This class is a laboratory science course and is designed to be the equivalent of a first-semester college course in Physics and follows the AP Course Audit syllabus for AP Physics I. An algebra-based approach will be used in an in-depth investigation of the following topics: Kinematics & Dynamics, Forces & Newton’s Laws of Motion, Gravitation, Circular Motion, Simple Harmonic Motion, Impulse & Linear Momentum, Work & Energy, Conservation Laws of Momentum & Energy, Thermodynamic Laws, Rotational Motion, Electrostatics, Electromagnetism, DC Resistance Circuits, Mechanical Waves, and Sound. This foundation of Classical Physics lays the groundwork for the studies of advanced topics such as Light, Atomic and Quantum Particle Physics and the theories of General and Special Relativity. Students will be provided opportunities for individual as well as group learning within a series of scientific investigations. Students will engage in hands-on inquiry to help accomplish a large portion of the goals of this course and support learning of the foundational principles of the AP syllabus, and will be expected to utilize logic and reasoning skills in study of the course material. It is hoped that students will wish to complete their AP experience by registering to take the AP Physics I exam. Prerequisites: Completion of Integrated Math 3 H or Advanced Algebra, and Chemistry C.C. or with special permission. 

 

 

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STEM and Engineering Offerings within Science
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COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN (CAD) I 

This course will introduce students to basic mechanical drafting skills on the computer. Two-dimensional drafting and design will be accomplished through the use of modern Computer Aided Design software using Autodesk AutoCAD. Drafting standards and the reading of engineering drawings will be focused on in the first part of the course. Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing will be studied. Students will continuously practice producing simple single-part drawings and then work up to more complex multi-part assembly drawings. Drawing projects will be a major part of the class and will be supplemented with actual construction of parts of the projects. Topics specific to mechanical CAD, architectural CAD, and electrical CAD will also be discussed through this course. Prerequisites: Principles of Engineering I & II, and concurrent or subsequent study of Integrated Math 2 

 

COMPUTER AIDED DESIGN (CAD) II 

This course will introduce students to three dimensional design modeling on the computer. Three dimensional modeling using Autodesk Inventor will be the focus, and 3D printers will be used to test models for fit, operability, and design viability. Students will practice designing extruded parts, revolved parts, and patterned parts during the first part of the course with consideration to manufacturability, and will produce models of those parts using a 3D printer. During the second part of the course, students will model multi-part assemblies in the computer and examine them for fit and operability. The 3D printer will be used for prototyping of student-produced assemblies of parts. Group design projects will comprise a major portion of this course. Examination of the use of finite element analysis to study stress and strain on loaded models will conclude the course. Prerequisites: CAD I or special permission, Principles of Engineering I & II, and concurrent or subsequent study of Integrated Math 2.

 

PRINCIPLES OF ENGINEERING I 

This is a required incoming freshman science and technology class. Students will utilize a systems approach and the engineering design process to address real world complexities in various technological areas including manufacturing, communication, construction, energy and power, electricity, agriculture, medicine and transportation. Students will learn skills such as reading, interpreting and creating engineering drawings, measurement, the use of appropriate tools for specific projects, and the use of problem solving in order to design and construct solutions for 3D models and prototypes. Through the topics addressed and skills taught, students will become more scientifically and technologically literate citizens so that they can analyze information and use critical thinking processes to make informed decisions. Along with POE II, students in this course will learn the necessary skills in drafting and design to be successful in future studies in engineering, such as Computer Aided Design. 

 

PRINCIPLES OF ENGINEERING II 

Building upon the skills and content learned in POE I, students will take their knowledge of the design and engineering process one step further, and apply it to solving some of the world's current technological dilemmas including, but not limited to, energy efficiency with regard to ecological and environmental concerns. Students will work collaboratively to design, manufacture, and critically evaluate eco-friendly products with regards to utilizing one or more sources of alternative energy. Through this course's practical projects with real world connections, students have an opportunity to see how today engineers brings together science and mathematics to solve some of the most complicated technological issues. Students in this course will learn the necessary skills to be successful in future studies in engineering, such as Computer Aided Design. 

 

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141 Washington Street | Phone: 978-772-8600
1 Hospital Rd | Phone: (978) 772-8600
115 Washington Street | Phone: (978) 772-8600
34 Lancaster Road | Phone: (978) 772-8600