Academics
Departments

Science

The Science department develops the natural, bold curiosity innate in all of us and prepares students to be scientifically literate global citizens.  
 
We empower our students to investigate, to question, and to wonder about themselves and the world around them.

Experiential Learning

Science Department Courses

List of 13 items.

  • Forensics

    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)
  • Intro Physics: Electricity, and Magnetism

    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.
  • Chemistry

    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)
  • Organic Chemistry

    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
  • AP Chemistry

    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)
  • Biology

    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)
  • Biology: Anatomy & Physiology

    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)
  • Biology: Genetics & Biotechnology

    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)
  • AP Biology

    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)
  • Advanced Physics

    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)
  • Women's Health and Global Issues

    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)
  • Forensics

    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.
    Grade Level: 12
    (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • Hallmark Environmental Science

    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)

Meet the Faculty

List of 5 members.

  • Donna Daigle 

    Science Department Chair
    Central Connecticut State University - B.S.
    Read Bio
  • Virginia Blackmer 

    Science Teacher
    Mount Holyoke College - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Jennifer  LaForest 

    Science Teacher
    University of Massachusetts Amherst - M.S.
    Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Susan Lovell 

    Science Teacher
    SUNY at Albany - M.A.
    Russell Sage College - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Kennedy  Raimer 

    Science Teacher
    Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts - B.S.
492 Holmes Road Pittsfield, MA 01201
Phone: (413) 443-6401

About us

Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is a private, college preparatory, boarding and day high school for girls grades 9-12.
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