The science sequence at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) introduces you to a way of thinking about the world and inspires you to investigate how science interacts in our lives everyday. After solidifying (in grades 7 through 10) a knowledge base for the main branches of science, students then have the opportunity to continue with at least one Advanced Placement (AP) science course.
TJ Students take one science course per year for four years: Earth and Environmental Science in the seventh grade, Introduction to Chemistry in the eighth, Introduction to Biology in the ninth, and Introduction to Physics in the tenth. As a junior or a senior, each student elects a minimum of one AP science: biology, chemistry, or physics. The earlier course in each area prepares the students for the greater demands of these classes, (such as dedicated laboratory sessions), which are equivalent to introductory college courses. Students can take a second or third AP science course if their schedules allow.
The laboratory is an integral part of a science course, offering an opportunity for students to further investigate what they learned in the classroom. For students in grades 7 through 10, experiments and demonstrations take place, for the most part, during regular class periods. Each AP course has a separate weekly afternoon time slot for its lab. All labs utilize technology whenever possible. Some experiments are done individually, but most are done collaboratively, and lab reports are required in all science courses. Because the St. Louis area offers a wealth of learning opportunities in the sciences, all classes take field trips.
Writing a research paper and giving presentations are other features of the science curriculum. This gives students the opportunity to extend their science knowledge and learn how science is applied in the real world. Planning, researching, and writing a long paper over an extended period of time is also an important skill for college.