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Science at the Elementary Level

At the elementary level, North Colonie believes that students need opportunities for discovery-based learning and opportunities to process their discoveries through reading, writing, speaking and listening.    In addition, they need opportunities to develop vocabulary, skills of observation, and strategies for collecting and organizing their data and ideas.  They need to be able to synthesize their learning and apply these skills to novel situations. 

Starting in the fall of 2015, the district will be utilizing the Full Option Science System developed through Delta Education.   This researched based program has engaging hands-on activities for students as well as high-quality supporting materials, including leveled reading materials, thought-provoking writing prompts, consistent vocabulary and definitions, as well as outstanding online materials for teachers and students.  In addition, there is tremendous vertical alignment of concepts, vocabulary, procedures, activities and assessments

Common, rigorous learning standards with engaging, high quality instruction assist teachers in helping students develop a solid base of scientific skills and understandings that can be applied to solve real world problems.  Students’ science proficiency is measured by the New York State science assessment given in grades 4 and 8.

Science at the Junior High School Level

Science 7

This course in life sciences addresses the following topics during the year: cell theory, human biology, genetics, natural selection, ecology, classification and survey of major phyla of organisms. It also develops skills such as organization, inference, problem solving, observation, and measurement in the metric system. As identified by the New York State Education Department syllabus, students must also learn to properly manipulate science equipment such as microscope and tripe beam balance.

Science 7E

The Science 7E program is designed for those students who demonstrate excellence in elementary science. Students who successfully complete this program are typically recommended to enter our accelerated Earth Science class in grade eight. A requirement for Science 7E is enrollment in Math 7E (enriched). Instructions will include the areas of life science and physical science. In order to be considered for participation in the Science 7E program students should have maintained an A average in sixth grade science and have scored at or above the 75th percentile (local percentile) on the IOWA Test of Basic Skills and the Cognitive Abilities Tests for sixth grade. Teachers’ recommendations and student motivation will also be considered for placement.

Science 8

This course in physical science covers the main areas of physics and chemistry. The following topics are addressed during the year: force and work, moving objects, the laws of motion, electricity and magnetism, heat, light and sound, atoms, elements, compound, mixtures, and chemical reactions. Laboratory and science class skills such as safety, graphing, measurement in the metric system, use of the computer, laboratory procedure, and working with laboratory equipment are stressed. The course is based on the New York State Education Department syllabus in science. Students will be prepared to successfully complete the NYS eighth grade science assessment at the end of the year.

Earth Science 9A

This course is the same New York State Regents course as is offered in high school and is available to eighth grade students who demonstrate a strong ability and interest in science. Students who begin high school science in eighth grade should plan on pursuing a five-year science sequence. Students enrolled in Earth Science must also be enrolled in Accelerated Math 8. The teaching methods and approaches to laboratory investigations are designed to challenge our most able eighth grade science students.

Please note that since this course earns high school credit, the attendance policy in effect at the high school applies to this course as well. In effect, a student may be denied course credit based on poor attendance. Refer to the junior high student handbook for an explanation of the policy. Each student will be expected to complete laboratory classes, a mid-year test, and the New York State Earth Science Regents examination in June. Topics included in the study of earth science are energy and change, properties of earth material, thermal and radiant energy, moisture and energy budgets, erosional processes, formation of rocks, interpreting geologic events and astronomy. Successful completion of this course provides students with one high school Regents credit. Students will be scheduled for and must attend one laboratory class each week. These labs may be scheduled after school, and are in addition to regular Earth Science classes. In general, a student is expected to meet the following criteria to be placed in this advanced class:

  • Students enrolled in this course must be enrolled in Accelerated Math 8.
  • All students entering must have achieved an A average in both science 7E and Math 7E.
  • No individual effort and conduct grade may be less than G in either of the above courses.
  • Each student should be recommended by a consensus of his/her science 7E and math instructor, for placement in this program.

Science at the High School

A strong foundation in science is far more than just understanding content, it also encourages the development of reasoning and problem solving skills while sparking interest in the physical and biological world around us. The science department at Shaker High School is committed to delivering excellence in science education based on scientific inquiry, design and the scientific method. We believe all of our students can be successful in their respective science programs by demonstrating consistent effort, asking for help when needed, and building positive relationships with their teachers.

The Shaker High School Science Department is dedicated to helping all students apply and effectively communicate scientific concepts and literacy to real world phenomena through the use of independent critical thinking and problem solving skills. We will model and foster these qualities through the development of relevant curricula and the encouragement of appropriate collaboration in a safe, positive, and supportive environment.

Commonly Recommended Sequences:

Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
Biology R Earth Science R Chemistry R Physics R
Biology H* Chemistry H Physics R
Physics H
AP Physics (B)
AP Biology
AP Chemistry
AP Physics (C)
AP Environment
Any Elective
Applied Biology I Applied Biology II Earth Science R Chemistry R/Elective
Applied Biology I Applied Biology II Applied Earth I or other elective Applied Earth II or other elective
Science in Our Lives I Science in Our Lives II Science in Our Lives III


*Earth Science R and the Earth Science Regents Exam was completed in 8th grade and counts as 1 Regents credit. NOTE: Most commonly, we recommend sequences which are above and beyond NYS minimum requirements for graduation. For some students, the NYS minimum requirements may be appropriate.