Departments

Science Department Mission

The Science department develops the natural, bold curiosity that is innate in each girl and prepares all students to be scientifically literate global citizens.
Students in Ed Eckel's physics class participated in a brave experiment to save precious cargo. Were they successful?

Science Department Courses

List of 15 items.

  • Intro Physics: Life in Motion

    Students will explore the concepts of motion and force with a focus on the physics of driving. Topics will include scalar and vector quantities of the metric system, velocity, acceleration, inertia, Newton's Laws, impulse, momentum, and pressure. These topics will be studied around the concepts of response times, starting and stopping moving objects, seatbelts, airbags, driving on curves, and how to know whether to stop or go at a yellow light. This course is activity based and students should have a minimum math prerequisite of a pre-algebra course.
    Gr. 9

    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Intro Physics: Robotics

    Students will discover in this course the joys and frustrations of the engineering process through the building and programing of Lego EV3 robots. Tutorials soon become challenges that will require good cooperative skills, problem solving, and perseverance. Part of the charge of this course is to begin to teach these qualities as a life skill. This course is fun and active and encourages students to plan and design programs that will perform the desired task. Some outside reading about robots in our society should be expected.
    Gr. 9
    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Intro Physics: Light and Sound

    Students will explore the transfer of energy as modeled by waves. The physics basis of the course will be wave motion including concepts of resonance, interference, and energy transfer in both sound and light. Experience constructing a musical instrument and a pin-hole camera will serve as capstone projects. Students will be expected to work easily with algebraic and geometric tools. Numerical and verbally-based evidence and arguments will be used freely.
    Gr. 9

    (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • Intro Physics: Energy and Society

    Students will explore the energy needs of a technologically driven society. The physics basis of the course will include study of motion, Newton's Laws, current electricity, and work-energy concepts including thermal energy and the concept of efficiency of energy conversion processes. Experience constructing simple vehicles that run on stored energy will form the basis for examining the harvesting and distribution of energy sources for the needs of a technological society. As time permits, ramifications of the processes of harvesting, using, and disposing of exhausted energy resources will be considered. Students will be expected to work easily with Algebra I concepts and tools, including graphing and interpretation of functions. Numerical and verbally based evidence and arguments will be used freely.
    Gr. 9

    (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • Chemistry

    Students taking this course study the topics of chemistry in a way that makes this science real and relevant to their lives. Topics include the study of the history of chemistry, atoms, periodicity, bonding, molecules, energy and forces, phases of matter, chemical reactions, and introductory stoichiometry. Labs are an integral part of this course, and students will gain experience in using the standard equipment of a working chemistry laboratory as well as keeping a lab notebook and writing formal lab reports. Students taking this course should have successfully completed Algebra I.
    Gr. 10
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Chemistry - Honors

    This accelerated 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. This course is for students who are interested in science, willing to study material in preparation for class, and eager to approach problem solving from the perspective of experimental design. A strong performance in Algebra I is required for enrollment.
    Grade Level: 10
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Chemistry - Advanced Placement

    Advanced Placement Chemistry is the equivalent of a first year college chemistry course and 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 the first year course at Miss Hall's. 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 and 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. Prerequisites: 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: Anatomy and Physiology

    This is a one-semester biology course choice 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 are available.
    Gr. 11-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Biology: Animal and Plant Form and Function

    This is a one-semester course that will concentrate on the anatomy and physiology of plants and animals, including humans. Subject matter will include biochemistry, cell diversity, and cell processes, but the main focus will be on corresponding systems in plants and animals: tissues, transport, sensory systems and signaling, homeostasis, matter and electrolyte balance, nutrition, immune and endocrine systems, and reproduction. Students can expect to be involved in several independent investigations.
    Gr. 11
    (1/2 credit; first semester)
  • Biology: Evolution and History of Life on Earth

    This is a one-semester course that will concentrate on the last 3.5 billion years of life on Earth: the development of organic molecules and cells, and the process of evolution of bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi, plants, and animals. The interactions between living and non- living factors on Earth will be explored in detail. Topics necessary to thoroughly understand these principles will be included as needed, including geography, atmospheric science, genetics, and biochemistry.
    Grade Level: 11
    (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • Biology: Ecology and Environmental Science

    This is a one-semester course which explores the relationship between living organisms and their environment. This course focuses on the following key principles affecting natural systems: energy flow, evolution, biogeochemical cycles, biodiversity, species interactions, population dynamics, and climate. Students will be expected to critically review and discuss environmental issues faced at the local, national, and global level with particular emphasis on the positive and negative effects humans have had and still have on our planet. A field study of local ponds, rivers, and lakes will be conducted comparing water quality and biodiversity. The 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 our planet offers.
    Grade Level: 11
    (1/2 credit; second semester)
  • Biology - Honors

    Students enrolled in Honors Biology are introduced to the contemporary and historical concepts that define this discipline. Topics include cellular physiology, molecular genetics, Mendelian, or classical genetics, evolution of biological diversity, ecology, and, comparative plant and animal physiology. Special emphasis is placed on empirical learning through laboratory and field investigation. This course is recommended to students interested in preparing for an AP- level science course, considering an undergraduate major in science or a related field of study, or wanting to experience a more in-depth understanding of biology.
    Grade Level: 11
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Biology - Advanced Placement

    This year-long senior elective follows the standard collegiate biology curriculum in preparation for the AP Biology Exam. Biology and Chemistry are prerequisites. In some cases, outstanding juniors may take this course as an alternative to the standard Biology course. AP Biology meets for an additional class and lab period each week. 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. 
    Gr. 11-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Environmental Science - Advanced Placement

    The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one semester, introductory college course. The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Yet there are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. The following are just a few that provide the foundation of the AP Environmental Science course. First, science is an ongoing process. Second, humans alter the natural systems of our planet, and our health and well-being depends on the continued development of sustainable practices. Third, environmental problems have a profound cultural and social context.
    Grade Level: 11-12
    (1 credit; full year)
  • Physics with Algebra

    Students in this full year, algebra-based physics course will learn to apply the fundamental tools of Classical Physics to analyze physical events in the world of their experience. During the first semester, topics of study include Measurement and Data Representation, Linear and Rotational Kinematics, Newtonian Dynamics, Energy, and Momentum. During second semester, topics of study will include Gravitation, Static Electricity, Circuits, Magnetism, Optics, and Fluids. Students will engage in group work, class presentations, readings, experiment, and projects to generate a wide-range of experiences informing their understanding. Students must have a T-Nspire calculator.
    Pre-Requisites: Completion of Geometry and Chemistry with a C or better.
    Grade Level: 11-12
    (1 credit; full year)
Miss Hall’s has a three-credit science requirement, and two credits must be Chemistry and Biology. The curriculum is based around the core values of curiosity, self-visualization, scientific literacy, and cross-curricular integration. The MHS Science curriculum follows the Physics First approach, building from the mechanical to the conceptual as girls become academically mature.

Science Department Core Values

News from the Science Department

Meet the Faculty

List of 5 members.

  • Edwin Eckel 

    Science Department Chair
    University of Massachusetts - M.S.
    University of Massachusetts - B.S.
    Read Bio
  • Virginia Blackmer 

    Science Teacher
    Mount Holyoke College - B.A.
    Read Bio
  • Donna Daigle 

    Science Teacher
    Central Connecticut State University - B.S.
    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
492 Holmes Road • Pittsfield, MA 01201  (413) 443-6401

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