Science

(301) 649-8246
Resource Teacher: Summer Roark
Summer_S_Roark@mcpsmd.org

The Staff:

  • Reuben Ambenge – Chemistry / Honors Chemistry – Reuben_O_Ambenge@mcpsmd.org
  • Desiree Balla – Honors Biology – Desiree_D_Balla@mcpsmd.org
  • Leslie Blaha – ESOL Biology – Leslie_V_Blaha@mcpsmd.org
  • Janice Blitz – Honors Geoscience Exploration / Physical Science – Janice_L_Blitz@mcpsmd.org
  • Charlie Demma – A.P. Biology / Honors Chemistry – James_Demma@mcpsmd.org
  • Deanna Earle – ESOL Biology / Physical Science – Deanna_K_Earle@mcpsmd.org
  • Desiree Balla – Honors Biology – Desiree_D_Balla@mcpsmd.org
  • Antonios Ekatomatis – A.P. Chemistry / A.P. Physics – Antonios_Ekatomatis@mcpsmd.org
  • Allison Frels – Honors Biology – Allison_C_Frels@mcpsmd.org
  • John Haigh – Anatomy and Physiology / Guided Research – John_A_HaighIII@mcpsmd.org
  • Megan Hart – Forensic Science / Organic Chemistry – Megan_K_Hart@mcpsmd.org
  • Lawrence Hsin – ESOL Physical Science / ESOL Physics – Yu-Lun_L_Hsin@mcpsmd.org
  • Elizabeth Levien – A.P. Environmental Science / Horticulture – Elizabeth_R_Levien@mcpsmd.org
  • Puja Luthea – Chemistry / Forensic Science – Puja_V_Luthra@mcpsmd.org
  • Lillian Miller – Paraeducator – Lillian_Miller@mcpsmd.org
  • Manana O'Donovan – Honors Chemistry – Manana_O’Donovan@mcpsmd.org
  • Eric Prange – Chemistry / A.P. Chemistry – Eric_R_Prange@mcpsmd.org
  • Summer Roark – Environmental Chemistry – Summer_S_Roark@mcpsmd.org
  • Darcy Sloe – A.P. Biology – Darcy_I_Sloe@mcpsmd.org
  • Marta Woodward – Biology – Marta_N_Woodward@mcpsmd.org

The Courses:

Click here for an overview of the course pathways in Blair science.All students must take 3 credits of lab science, including one biology credit and one physical science credit. Courses that fulfill the biology and physical science requirement are noted in their descriptions, below.

Anatomy and Physiology (1 credit; Prerequisites: Biology and either Chemistry [may be taken concurrently] or teacher recommendation) — This course includes a study of structures, functions, and causes and cures of dysfunctions of the major systems of the human body. Career opportunities in medicine related fields are examined. The course is intended for advanced students who wish to study how the human body works in greater detail than offered in his/her biology course. The first semester covers cell specialization, the skeletal, muscular, integumentary, and nervous systems, the sense organs, and food chemistry. Semester two topics include the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, excretory, endocrine, and reproductive systems, and heredity. Dissection is required.

Biology (1 credit; fulfills the biology requirement; may also be taken at the honors level; Physical Science is highly recommended course to precede this course) — This course emphasizes the study of living things through laboratory experiences and investigative techniques. Biology includes the topics of ecology, cytology, reproduction, genetics, scientific evolution, and taxonomy. Attention is given to pertinent social issues and career opportunities related to the biological sciences. Biology students are required to take the State High School Assessment at the end of their second semester of study.

A.P. Biology (2 credits; double-period course; Prerequisites: Biology and either Chemistry [may be taken concurrently] or teacher recommendation) — A.P. Biology is an elective course for students with a special interest in and high motivation for an in-depth study of the biological sciences. For all topics, the emphasis is on laboratory investigation. The course builds on the concepts covered in the student's previous Biology course, with greater detail in content and with additional topics and laboratory investigations. A student may elect to take the Advanced Placement Biology Examination and may qualify for college placement. First semester topics include the unity of life, cellular energetics, and genetics. Second semester includes the diversity of life, scientific evolution, ecology, and behavior. An opportunity is provided for an independent research project.

Chemistry (1 credit; fulfills the physical science requirement; may also be taken at the honors level; Prerequisites: Algebra II [may be taken concurrently]; Physical Science is also highly recommended) — Chemistry emphasizes a laboratory approach to problem solving as well as imparting a body of basic knowledge. First semester topics include classification and organization of matter; atomic theory and periodicity; mole concept; heat and molecular motion; and chemical bonds and the properties of matter. Second semester moves on to thermodynamics; reaction kinetics; equilibrium systems; solutions and solubility; and acids, bases, and salts. Optional topics include nuclear chemistry, organic chemistry, oxidation-reduction, and electrochemistry.

A.P. Chemistry (2 credits; double-period course; Prerequisite: Chemistry) — A.P. Chemistry are designed for highly motivated students who wish to achieve additional skills to ensure greater success in first-year chemistry at the college level. Students may elect to take the Advanced Placement Chemistry Examination and may qualify for college placement in chemistry. The course emphasizes problem solving, laboratory and organizational skills, independent study habits, and self-discipline while engaged in chemical investigations. The first semester includes atomic theory, chemical bonding, phases of matter, and solutions. The second semester includes types of reactions, equilibrium, reaction kinetics, and thermodynamics. During both semesters, there is an emphasis on statistical treatment of data and laboratory methods.

Environmental Chemistry (1 credit; fulfills an elective science requirement; Prerequisites: Algebra II [may be taken concurrently]; Physical Science is also highly recommended) Chemistry in the Community is an application-based approach to chemistry.  It consists of eight 4 ½ week units in which diverse areas of chemistry are used to understand and solve real-life problems.  Units include contamination of our water systems, the production of alternative fuels, solutions for global warming, uses of nuclear power, and the development of plastics.  Content is investigated in a spiraling pattern in which concepts and skills are introduced as needed and deepened as the year continues.

A.P. Environmental Science (1 credit) — this course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Unlike most other college introductory-level science courses, environmental science is offered from a wide variety of departments, including geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry, and geography. This is a rigorous science course that stresses scientific principles and analysis, and that includes a laboratory component.

Forensics (1 credit; fulfills a physical science requirement; prerequisite Biology; corequisite of chemistry is strongly recommended.) This course is an integrated science involving the disciplines of biology, chemistry, earth science, archaeology, anthropology, law, medicine, and professional / technical writing. Focus will center on crime scene investigations, evaluation of physical evidence, glass and soil sampling and analysis techniques, organic analysis, microscopic evaluation of evidence, and analysis of hair, fiber, paint, and drugs. Inquiry based lab activities, case studies, field trips, guest speakers, and Internet research will give students opportunities to study and apply skills and concepts of forensic science. 

Honors Geoscience Exploration — Students will have the opportunity to work collaberatively, enage in science and engineering practices, explore STE careers, use biotechnology methods, solve design challenges, and participate in local or national citizen science projects.

Horticultural Science (1 credit; fulfills the biology requirement) — Horticultural Science is designed for those students interested in mastering fundamental techniques in the care and culture of plant life in the home, business, and community environments. Major attention is given to plant propagation, taxonomy, physiology, and experimentation appropriate to the facilities available. Students are encouraged to pursue individual areas of interest. Topics in the course can vary from year to year, but generally include plant anatomy and physiology, growth conditions, plant propagation, control of disease, weeds, and pests, greenhouse management, careers in horticulture, plant identification, soils and their preparation, crop plants, lawns, and landscaping. Students may take semester two of this course first, followed by semester one in the following school year.

Physical Science (1 credit; fulfills the physical science requirement; may also be taken at the honors level) — This is a laboratory-oriented, equipment-based physical science course that emphasizes chemistry and physics concepts and the development of observation, experimentation, and analysis skills applicable to succeeding laboratory courses in high school science. Students work with scientific instruments and materials in a problem-solving context. First semester includes an introductory unit on scientific skills and processes, waves and their properties, mechanics (forces and motion), and electricity and magnetism. Second semester includes physical properties, chemical properties, organic chemistry, and nuclear chemistry.

Physics (1 credit; fulfills the physical science requirement; may also be taken at the honors level; Prerequisites: Algebra II [may be taken concurrently]; Physical Science is also highly recommended) — The Physics course is for students who wish to investigate physical laws and theories, relationships of physical phenomena, and the interrelationships of physics to other fields of human endeavor. First semester includes discussion of vector mathematics, kinematics, dynamics, energy, and momentum. Second semester includes discussion of thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, waves, and modern physics.

A.P. Physics (2 credits; double-period course; Prerequisite: Physics and either Precalculus [may be taken concurrently] or teacher recommendation) — The A.P. Physics course is for students who have shown special aptitude and interest in the physical sciences. The content and activities are college level and prepare interested students for the Advanced Placement Physics Examination. During the first semester, students examine vectors, kinematics, particle dynamics, work, momentum, collisions, rigid body motion, gravitation and planetary motion, and oscillations. During the second semester, emphasis is placed on electricity and magnetism, including electric charge, Coulomb's Law, electric fields, Gauss's Law, electrical potential, capacitance and dielectrics, energy storage in capacitors, electric currents, magnetic fields, Ampere's Law, and electromagnetic induction.


There are also several science courses offered by the Magnet Program that are available to any 11th and 12th grade Blair student who has completed the appropriate prerequisites. Students who have completed Honors Physics and are taking/have completed A.P. Calculus may take Quantum Physics or Thermodynamics. Students who are taking/have completed just A.P. Calculus can take Optics. Those who have completed Honors Chemistry can take Materials Science or Plate Tectonics and Oceanography. Honors Chemistry and Honors Physics are the prerequisites for Astronomy. Students who have completed Honors Chemistry and Algebra II with Analysis can take Analytical Chemistry. Those completing Honors Chemistry, Honors Physics, and Precalculus with Analysis can take Physical Chemistry. Those who complete Honors Biology and Honors Chemistry may take Genetics, Cell Physiology, or Marine Biology. Students who have taken Honors Physics and are taking/have completed Magnet Analysis II (AKA Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations) can take Mathematical Physics. Finally, there are no prerequisites for 11th and 12th graders who wish to take the very popular Origins of Science. Some of these courses may have additional prerequisites or other requirements; please see the Magnet Program's webpages and/or your guidance counselor for more information.