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Physics Fundamentals: From Playgrounds to Action Parks

What is an adventure park? What is a playground? How are these two alike? How are they different? Why is a playground less fun than an adventure park? Students explore the physics of fun in this course by viewing a model roller coaster/film; observing several playgrounds and collecting data; reading adventure parks and playgrounds. (BBK- anchor text). Observations/experiment of falling objects using lab tools. Readings- jigsaw text, personal account, photos, graphs on gravity, freefall.

Media Used: 
Jigsaw texts on freefall: on velocity, acceleration, gravity, force
Visit to Great Adventure (Fall term- late October Friday)(Spring term- educator’s day- early May)
Significant Assignments: 

Create a model of a loop-the-loop using a ball with description and diagrams of forces acting on it.

Diagram of forces acting on a person on a merry-go-round

Detailed concept map- gravity in the playground- adventure park.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Final presentation displaying design and one fabricated component of proposed playground element chosen by student.

Describe, diagram forces acting on a ball rolling down a ramp and off a table and determine landing point. This includes a background research component.

Sample PBATs: 
How can we describe the fun of a slide or roller coaster in numbers?
Can we design a playground that maximizes "fun"?

Chemistry II PBAT

This course will serve as a sequel to "Chemistry I". In this course, we will take an in-depth look at some of the topics covered in "Chemistry I" and some of the practical applications of the same. Students will carry out and design several investigations that will require them to utilize their critical thinking and analytic abilities. Topics will broadly include acid-base, redox, and organic chemistry. Students will be required to write a college-level lab report by the end of the course.

Chemistry: An Environmental Perspective
Glencoe Chemistry
Prentice Hall Chemistry
Chemistry in Society
The Extraordinary Chemistry of Ordinary Things
Media Used: 
Several clips taken from Discovery Education Streaming
Significant Assignments: 

For each lab conducted, the following assignments are given:

• Thoroughly conduct background research on a topic in commercial chemistry using at least two original sources.
• Develop a hypothesis for your research question that is grounded in the background research.
• Identify, describe and control all relevant variables in your experimental investigation.
• Thoughtfully evaluate the procedure and/or set up in your experimental investigation.
• Clearly describe bias in the your experimental design
• Collect data in a reliable and valid manner for your experimental design.
• Present relevant data that is consistent with your experimental problem.
• Generate appropriate tables, charts and graphs with data and makes appropriate calculations.
• Conduct mathematical and statistical analyses of the data for your experiment.
• Draw thoughtful conclusions that are supported by your data.
• Relate conclusion to original question.
• Thoroughly describe sources of error and their effects on your data.
• Propose effective and relevant revisions for your experimental plan to lessen the effects of bias and sources of error.
• Pose thoughtful and relevant questions for future research.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Significant Activities or Projects

Design and conduct a controlled scientific investigation on various aspects (of your choice) of the following commercial products:
• Pain relievers
• Antacids
• Juices

(Each investigation runs for approximately one month.)


• Research and report on the chemical roles certain ingredients in your favorite juice play.
• Analyze the efficacy of active ingredients in an antacid brand of your choice.
• Describe how the body processes the various active ingredients found in Aspirin, Tylenol, and Advil.

Sample PBATs: 
What type of juice has the highest level of citric acid?
Which juice will be most suitable for heartburn patients?
Which antacid is most effective in relieving acid indigestion?
Which brand of aspirin is most effective in relieving pain with minimal side-effects?


In this two semester Neuroscience course, students will conduct investigations through which they develop and implement skills necessary for the completion of the Science Graduation Requirement. Students will use scientific inquiry to design investigations that allow them to answer specific questions. Students will conduct background research by locating, documenting, and interpreting scientific sources, including academic journal articles.

Six or more professional journal articles related to the field of study
Media Used: 
Adobe Photoshop, iMovie, QuickTime, iPhoto, iTunes, iDVD, digital recorders and camcorders to create experimental materials
Significant Assignments: 

Independent Investigation Lab Report (Final Draft) and Exhibition

Laboratory Skills:
Practicing dissection techniques--sheep eye & brain
Safety in handling laboratory equipment
Following procedures with large groups of test subjects
Making detailed observations.

Significant Activities or Projects: 

Communication Skills used in exhibition:
Clearly convey experimental purpose and question
Effectively express experimental question as emerging from background research and experience
Use and explain facts & quotes in writing to provide background information on experiment topics
Propose clear hypotheses, and explain reasoning
Work toward reconciling competing explanations; clarify points of agreement and disagreement
Pose questions emerging from previous investigation.

Math Connections:
Use algebraic functions and statistical tests to analyze data, including: Mean, mode, median, percentages, retrograde analysis, testing for significance
Extrapolate; use slope and lines of best fit to make predictions
Identify appropriate representations of data as histograms, bar/column graphs, scatter/box/whisker plots, pie charts, etc.
Conduct T-tests, chi-square tests of significance
Identify multiple meaningful patterns in data sets

Data Analysis:
Collect & analyze data; make detailed observations to generate evidence in addressing a specific question
Interpret data published in academic journals
Determine effective and appropriate ways to graphically represent data
Create tables and graphs using Microsoft Excel to represent data algebraically and statistically.
Use various methods of representing and organizing observations (e.g., diagrams, tables, charts, graphs, equations, matrices) and insightfully interpret the organized data.
Make accurate statements about data, supported by evidence
Compare actual results to hypothesis
Relate data to that of other researchers
Identify patterns in data to support an argument and draw conclusions
Place experimental results within the context of related research
Analyze data to deduce the location of damage in the brain causing disorder


Access, read, interpret and use information from scientific sources, including academic journals, to provide background information on a specific topic.
Complete background research using a minimum of 6 professional journal articles
Refine research ideas through library investigations, including electronic information retrieval and reviews of academic journal articles.
Learn search strategies to find relevant, verifiably accurate scientific sources via the Internet.
Interpret complex scientific information.

Sample PBATs: 
The effect of gender and color on the ability to detect change
The effect of lyrics in music on short term memory of images
The effect of age on the ability to detect fear in facial expressions


Course Description:

Stephen Nowicki: McDougal Littel's Biology, Berdell R. Furke & Christine L. Case & Tortora, 2003: Microbiology, Lansing M Prescott, John P Harley, Donald A Klein, McGraw-Hill 2004: Microbiology,,,,,
Media Used: 
Computers for internet access and Microsoft Word and Excel
Significant Assignments: 

Series of lab assignments
Gram Staining- Practice staining bacteria cells to determine morphology
Aseptic Techniques- Practice using sterilization techniques to culture bacteria


Research required to answer the questions: Are Protists helpful or harmful?
Are fungi helpful or harmful?
Are bacteria helpful or harmful?

Sample PBATs: 
Part I: Where in the school do you find the most microbes? What factors contribute to the hotspot?
Part II: Does manipulation of one contributing factor eliminate bacterial growth in the hotspot?
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