Much like science itself, the Spartanburg Day School Science Department does not support a single model for educating our students. When appropriate, students are encouraged to explore topics in an inquiry-based environment.

We create a classroom community of guided exploration. Students are expected to propose ideas, apply process skills and judge evidence within context to create scientific models. We recognize that for students to succeed in such an environment they must build a base of knowledge through teacher led instruction, laboratory exercises, research and independent skill development.


In this ninth grade course, students concentrate on the physical topics of force and energy. Heavy emphasis is placed on scientific philosophy and use of the scientific method in a laboratory setting. A large portion of this course is based on student-constructed experiments and the results of those experiments. Students are assessed on their ability to construct, implement, analyze, and apply the results of these experiments. In addition to the classroom lab activities, there are also individual projects throughout the year which stress design and analysis.The topics studied include motion (both 1 dimensional and 2 dimensional), forces, momentum, energy, light, and electricity.


In addition to learning concepts such as the elements in the periodic table, chemical nomenclature, and the nature of chemical reactions and thermodynamics, sophomores will develop the basic laboratory skills that will give them the confidence needed to succeed in a college laboratory course. In this required course, usually taken during the sophomore or junior year, students will also build their problem-solving skills by working a wide variety of chemistry problems. Physics and Algebra I are prerequisites for this course.


In this required course, usually taken during the junior year, students will gain foundational knowledge in topics such as cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, population biology, and evolution. This course prepares students to be literate consumers of science, in addition to preparing them for advanced coursework in the sciences.

AP Physics 1 & 2

This advanced course serves to prepare the student for the national Advanced Placement physics 1 exam. It is very oriented toward problem-solving skills and carries an intense workload if success is to be achieved. One hundred percent of the content proposed by the AP CollegeBoard is covered during the year. Experimentally, students are asked to review and extend the investigations performed during the first year of physics. Students are also asked to complete an individual project that incorporates a research component.

AP Chemistry

This upper level course is specifically designed to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement chemistry exam. It is highly math intensive, with a focus on the analytical and physical areas of chemistry. While some of the material will be review from the regular chemistry course, topics will be covered in much greater detail and new material will be added in all areas. Physics, chemistry and algebra 2 are prerequisites for this course.

AP Biology

This course is specifically designed to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement biology exam. It covers topics typically associated with a college level biology course. The basic categories covered are molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, and organisms and populations. Physics, biology and chemistry are prerequisites for this advanced course.

AP Environmental Science

Upon completing this course, students should be prepared to make informed decisions about some of today’s most pressing environmental issues. Through lecture, discussion, labs, field studies, guest speakers, and field trips, students will develop the basic skills necessary to understand the interrelationships in our natural world and evaluate the benefits and risks associated with the role humans play in the biosphere. As this course is designed to prepare students for the national Advanced Placement environmental science exam, the expectations for this course are similar to those of a college classroom, such as extensive reading and writing assignments and the ability to work independently. This course is traditionally taken during the junior or senior year but may be taken during the sophomore year with teacher approval.

Human Physiology 1&2

Through the study of the human body, this course will reinforce and expand the student's knowledge of general biology. Topics include cell biology, genetics and inheritance, human anatomy and physiology, immunity and human disease, disease prevention and healthy lifestyle choices, and human evolution. Students will also explore the scientific process and learn to critically evaluate scientific claims, in an effort to be wise "consumers" of everyday science.

Research in Science

In Research in Science, students will complete original and independent research that is characteristic of college-level courses. Under the supervision of a college professor, students will be challenged to generate a research question, complete a literature review, develop a hypothesis, collect and analyze data, and present original research at their choice of student research symposium, such as Piedmont III Region Science Fair, South Carolina Junior Academy of Science Annual Meeting and Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.