Science at Miss Hall’s brings out the natural, bold curiosity innate in all of us. Students are empowered to investigate, question, and wonder about the world around them and to become scientifically literate global citizens.
This one-semester senior elective science course explores the fascinating discipline of criminal investigation. Students are expected to rely heavily on previously learned laboratory skills as they apply to the very specific protocols of forensics, specifically DNA, fiber, and hair analysis. Students will learn how to secure a crime scene, gather and analyze evidence, and present their findings objectively. This course has a hands-on approach, requiring students to work in investigative teams as they solve mock cases. Prerequisite: science graduation requirements met or concurrent with Biology. Grade Level: 12 (1/2 credit; second semester)
Students in this course will explore the relationship between electricity and magnetism with the goal of designing an electrically neutral home. Students will discuss electricity as a flow of electrons and explore the concepts of series and parallel circuits and load limits as well as compare energy consumption of various appliances. Students will design a wiring diagram for their home and explore the various ways to generate sustainable electricity flow using moving magnetic fields. Grade Level: 9 (1/2 credit; one semester) Note: Students in 9th grade take a semester of Electricity and Magnetism and a semester of Robotics I.
This year-long course studies Introductory Chemistry at an investigative and mathematical level. Particular attention is paid to the mathematics of formulas and equations. Major topics include atomic structure, reactions, stoichiometry, thermochemistry, kinetics, equilibrium, and all the governing laws of the different phases of matter. Laboratory exercises are an integral part of this course and guided-inquiry investigations are introduced. Students will approach problem solving from the perspective of experimental design. Grade Level: 10 (1 credit; full year)
This year-long course is designed to provide a fundamental overview of organic chemistry: a field of exploration involving puzzles focused on carbon-based molecules. In their studies students will understand the relationship between the structure and function of molecules, the major classes of reactions, basic reaction mechanisms, and synthesis of organic compounds. Labs will be performed on a weekly or biweekly basis and split into two types: content driven and skill driven. Learning outcomes include: prediction of bonding and threedimensional structure as well as the reactivity, stability of specific functional groups and simple mechanistic pathways for the synthesis of a given compound. Students will be able to use laboratory techniques such as column packing, thin layer chromatography, liquid-liquid separation, recrystallization, and other vital skills for research. Second semester will focus on developing an independent project centered around experimental design and synthesis strategies with the goal of making a molecule of your choosing. Assessments will be given as laboratory procedures to provide a hands-on, research preparatory experience. Prerequisite: Chemistry, Algebra II (seniors); open to juniors if also taking a biology course. Grade Level: 11-12
This year long course is the equivalent of a first-year college chemistry course. Students are expected to demonstrate significant independence and responsibility both in and out of the classroom. In this course students revisit introductory chemistry topics at much greater depth and with significant mathematical analysis, as well as delve into topics not covered in our foundational course. Laboratory is focused on the guided-inquiry approach in which students investigate one or more chemical systems after participating in an introductory investigation. Designed for those considering a major in chemistry or engineering in college, this class requires students to spend an average of one to two hours on homework, studying, reading, and lab reports for each period spent in class. Students taking AP Chemistry as a junior must complete a biology course as a senior to satisfy graduation requirements. Prerequisite: Completion of the three-year science requirement, strong performance in Algebra II, and permission of the science department chair. Grade Level: 11-12 (1 credit; full year)
Students enrolled in this course are introduced to the contemporary and historical concepts that define this discipline. Major topics include cellular physiology, molecular genetics, classical genetics, evolution of biological diversity and ecology. Special emphasis is placed on empirical learning through laboratory exercises, field investigations and group projects. During the last five weeks of the second semester students will determine the water quality of our school ponds through research, data collection and analysis, and scientific reporting. Projects will be shared with peers and the greater community. Grade Level: 11-12 (1 credit; full year)
This one-semester biology course is designed for those students whose main interests lie in the structure and function of the human body. Topics will include cells and tissues, and various organ systems including but not limited to immune, endocrine, nervous, reproductive, circulatory, and digestive systems. Both healthy and diseased states of these systems will be addressed as well as ethical and moral considerations. Dissections may be required but digital substitutions will be available. Prerequisite: science graduation requirements met or concurrent with Biology or for those seniors in need of fulfilling a 1/2 credit in Biology. Grade Level: 12 (1/2 credit; first semester)
Students in this one-semester biology course will explore the central dogma of biology as stated: that the coded genetic information of DNA is transcribed and translated into proteins. However, this classical view is evolving as research in this field of study advances our understanding. Special emphasis will be placed on empirical learning through laboratory investigation. Laboratory experience will include the methodologies used in genetic analysis and engineering such as amplification, gel electrophoresis and the genetic modification of organisms through the process of transformation. This course is recommended to students considering a major in the field of science, and/or want to experience a more in depth understanding than is expected at the general level. Prerequisite: science graduation requirements met or concurrent with Biology or for those seniors in need of fulfilling a 1/2 credit in Biology. Grade Level: 12 (1/2 credit; second semester)
This year-long senior elective follows the standard collegiate biology curriculum in preparation for the AP Biology Exam. Biology and Chemistry are prerequisites. AP Biology students should be prepared to work during the summer and school vacations, work independently, and study complex materials in great depth. A strong performance in previous science and math courses and permission of the Science Department Chair are required for enrollment. Grade Level: 11-12 (1 credit; full year)
This year-long course is designed to be equivalent to the first semester of an introductory college-level algebra-based physics course. The topics covered in this course will be useful for potential engineering, pre-med, science, and computer science majors as well as anyone interested in Advanced Physics. Because Advanced Physics is taught over a full school year, there is time for thorough, in-depth, student-centered inquiry activities allowing students to carry out careful experiments and design laboratory practical work to answer real world questions. Advanced Physics covers the study of Classical Mechanics which includes: Kinematics, Projectile Motion, Newton’s Laws, Circular Motion, Gravitation & Kepler’s Laws, Work & Energy, Momentum & Impulse, and Torque & Rotational Dynamics. Additionally, students will study Electrostatics & basic DC Circuits, Simple Harmonic Motion, and Mechanical Waves. Grade Level: 11-12 (1 credit; full year)
This is a one-semester senior elective course. Students will explore biological, cultural, social, economic, and political issues profoundly affecting girls into adulthood. This interdisciplinary approach recognizes the complexity of the challenges women and girls face today and, further, acknowledges our health and well-being depends on the continued development and restructuring of policies and systems specifically affecting women. Students will spend a good portion of class time working in small groups and independently researching topics of personal interest and pertinent to the course. Projects will be shared with peers and when applicable, the greater community. Prerequisite: science graduation requirements met or concurrent with Biology. Grade Level: 12 (1/2 credit; first semester)
This one-semester senior elective science course explores the fascinating discipline of criminal investigation. Students are expected to rely heavily on previously learned laboratory skills as they apply to the very specific protocols of forensics, specifically DNA, fiber, and hair analysis. Students will learn how to secure a crime scene, gather and analyze evidence, and present their findings objectively. This course has a hands-on approach, requiring students to work in investigative teams as they solve cases.
This year-long Hallmark course will explore the following overarching themes and provide the foundation of this course. First, science is an ongoing process. Second, humans alter the natural systems of our planet, and our health and well-being depend on the continued development of sustainable practices. Third, environmental problems have a profound cultural and social context. Students will critically research and discuss environmental issues faced at the local, national and global level. A field study of the local watershed will be conducted comparing water quality and biodiversity. This analysis of aquatic ecosystems will give students hands-on practical experience in which to reinforce the concepts learned in the classroom and foster an appreciation for the natural capital the planet offers. Students will finish the course with the completion of a service-learning project. Prerequisite: science graduation requirements met. Grade Level: 12 (11 with permission from the department chair) (1 credit; full year)
Science Teacher Donna Daigle has been named Science Department Chair. Donna, who joined the School in 2002, has taught Biology, Honors Biology, and Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science at Miss Hall’s. She also advises the Judicial Committee, which hears cases involving student rule infractions.
Additionally, Donna held the Leonhardt Family Teaching Chair for the academic years 2011-2015. The designation recognizes an MHS faculty member who possesses the highest personal and professional ethics, who has made a life-long commitment to young people, whose skillful instruction enlivens the experience of learning, and whose wise counsel and guidance to students extend beyond the classroom.
Prior to joining MHS, Donna taught science for ten years at a public high school in Connecticut. At MHS she teaches. She holds a B.S. from Central Connecticut State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Leadership at Bay Path University.
Virginia Lee Blackmer, known as Lee, joined MHS as a Science Teacher in Fall 2016. Lee comes to MHS from Mount Holyoke College, from which she recently graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry. While at Mount Holyoke, Lee led individual and group tutoring sessions in science, working with as many as 150 students. She also participated in several research groups at Mount Holyoke, as well as at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Richmond. Additionally, Lee is the graduate of an independent school, St. Catherine’s School, in Richmond, Virginia.
University of Massachusetts Amherst - M.S. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts - B.A.
Jennifer joined MHS in 2016-17 as a Chemistry Teacher, bringing fourteen years of experience teaching math and science at the college and high school levels. Most recently, Jennifer was Science Department Head at the Berkshire Arts and Technology (BART) Charter Public School in Adams, Massachusetts. She previously taught at the Academy at Swift River, in Plainfield, Massachusetts, and was an adjunct instructor at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. Jennifer holds a B.A. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and an M.S. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Science Teacher Susan Lovell joined Miss Hall’s in 1991 and has taught AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Introductory Physics, Physics, Robotics, and others during her tenure. Sue was appointed Science Department co-Chair for the 1995-96 academic year, and served as Department Chair from 1996 through the 2015-16 school year. Sue holds and M.A. in Biology Education from the State University of New York at Albany and a B.A. in Biology and a B.A. in Biochemistry from Russell Sage College.