High School Course Descriptions & Information

Belle Plaine High School Course Offerings


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Agricultural Education Course Descriptions


Agricultural Education is more than “just a class.” It is a total educational approach and includes three critically important aspects: classroom/laboratory instruction, FFA, and SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience). In order to obtain the maximum benefit from an agricultural education program, students must be actively involved in all three aspects.   *See note below…

Classroom/laboratory instruction: The foundation of the agricultural education lies in the classroom and laboratory instruction provided by the agricultural education instructor.  Instruction may take place in the regular ag classroom, greenhouse, shop, or other school or community facilities. Some of the time spent in an ag class may be similar to required classes.  At other times, the class will be much more hands-on and tied to the “real world.”

FFA: FFA is the organization for students who are studying agriculture.  There are many areas of agriculture and they are all a part of the FFA.  Through FFA, students will have the chance to practice what they are learning in the classroom and apply it in real-life situations.  Public Law 740, passed by Congress in 1950, granted the FFA a federal charter and established FFA as an intercurricular part of agricultural education. Today the FFA organization’s federal charter is part of Public Law 105-225. FFA membership will be provided out of the chapter activity account for all students in agricultural education classes. Involvement in FFA activities taking place while school is in session will be expected.  Further involvement will be strongly encouraged.   

SAE: The Supervised Agricultural Experience program or “SAE,” is a hands-on agricultural program that students create and carry out.  It gives students a chance to explore areas of agriculture that interest them.  An SAE can be based on anything relating to agriculture.  All students enrolled in agricultural education classes are REQUIRED to have an SAE composed of entrepreneurship, placement, research or exploratory projects.  SAE project records and information will account for a portion of the student’s grade.    

NOTE:  FFA membership is desired for ALL students enrolled in an agricultural education class, but will be provided by chapter funds.  Participation in FFA activities and events is encouraged. Contact Agricultural Education Instructor with questions or concerns.  

Suggested Course Sequence:

Freshman Year: Ag Ed IA and Ag Ed IB (AFNR)

Sophmore Year: Ag Ed 2A and Ag Ed 2B (Plant Science)

Junior Year: Animal Science A & Animal Science B (Ag 3A and Ag 3B)

Senior Year: Farm Business Management & Agronomy (Ag 4A and Ag 4B)

Stand Alone Electives:

*Ag Welding (Grades 10 & 11)

*Ag Woods (Grades 10, 11, 12)

*Horticulture (Grades 10, 11, 12)

*Ag Mechanics A & B (Grades 10, 11, 12)

Ag Ed IA & Ag Ed IB [Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources] (AFNR)

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

The Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources course is intended to serve as the introductory course within the CASE Program of Study. The course is structured to enable all students to have a variety of experiences that will provide an overview of the fields of agricultural science and natural resources so that students may continue through a sequence of courses through high school.


In addition, students will understand specific connections between their lessons, Supervised Agricultural Experience and FFA components that are important for the development of an informed agricultural education student. Students will investigate, experiment, and learn about documenting a project, solving problems, and communicating their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community.


Ag Ed 2A & Ag Ed 2B (PLANT SCIENCE)

2 Semesters: 2 Credits

Grades: 10,11,12

Prerequisite: Ag Ed IA & Ag Ed IB

The CASE program of study pathways are carefully designed to scaffold student learning within a course and throughout the pathway. Similar to all CASE pathways, the plant science pathway begins with the Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources course. Students then progress to the foundation level course, Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant. Next, students have the option to complete either the Animal and Plant Biotechnology or Food Science and Safety specialization level course. All CASE pathways culminate with the capstone course, Agricultural Research and Development.


AG WOODS

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12

This course will allow students to become familiar with all wood shop tools and safety practices.  Much of the time will be spent in the Ag Shop constructing projects of the student’s choosing.  Students will need to purchase lumber for these projects and can expect to spend $40-$200 depending on the project constructed.


ANIMAL SCIENCE [Animal Science - Agricultural Sciences – Animal (ASA)]

Kirkwood Credit Available

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  11, 12

Prerequisite:  Ag Ed IA & IB

The Principles of Agricultural Science – Animal (ASA) course is intended to sever as one of two foundational courses with the CASE sequence.  The course is structured to enable all students to have a variety of experiences that will provide an overview of the field of agricultural science with a foundation in animal science to so that students may continue through a sequence of courses through high school.  Students will explore hands-on projects and activities to learn the characteristics of animal science and work on major projects and problems similar to those that animal science specialists, such as veterinarians, zoologists, livestock producers or industry personnel face in their respective careers.  Areas of study include history and domestication, handling and behavior, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, reproduction, genetics, health, selection and marketing.  The knowledge and skills students develop will be used in future courses within the CASE program.

AGRICULTURAL MECHANICS A & B

2 Semesters:  2 credits

Grades: 10-12

Prerequisite:  Ag Ed IA & Ag Ed IB

This course is designed to provide students with engineering and power technology principles, skills, and knowledge that is specifically applicable to the agricultural mechanics industry.  Topics will include basic operation, maintenance, and repair of power, electrical, hydraulic, small gas engines, and mechanical systems skills.

AGRICULTURAL WELDING

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12

This course is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge that is applicable to the tools and equipment used within the welding industry.  Terminology and vocabulary specific to welding will be learned and used appropriately.  Students will acquire essential knowledge and skills related to basic operation of GMAW, OxyAcetylene, Plasma Cutting, and Stick welders.  


HORTICULTURE

1 Semester: 1 Credit

Grades: 10,11,12

Students will discover the various uses of plants in our daily lives. The course will focus on competencies, skills and basic information relating the horticulture industry. Areas of study will include plant taxonomy, parts of plants and their functions, environmental requirements for plant growth and various other topics related to the production of horticultural crops. Floriculture, gardening and landscaping may also be included.

For a portion of the course students will work in the school greenhouse, learning and applying skills necessary to be successful in the field of horticulture, Students will be assigned to raise and care for special plant crops provided by the AgEd budget. They will be fully responsible for maintaining the plant crops through the duration of the course.


AGRONOMY - 114

1 Semester: 1 Credit

Grade: 12

Prerequisite: Ag 1

Kirkwood Credit available

Presents instruction in crop plant classification, use and identification. Also covers cropping systems, tillage methods, planting and harvesting methods, and crop growth patterns. A balance of theoretical and practical crop science


FARM BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

1 Semester: 1 Credit

Grade: 12

This course includes current principles and practices of farm business management. Topics include strategic planning, decision making, production enterprise budgets, partial budgets and cash flow budgets.


Art Course Descriptions


Art I

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

This semester course is a foundation class emphasizing the basic elements of two-dimensional and three-dimensional art processes and design.  Art I is the prerequisite class for all students taking most of the other studio classes offered.  Introduction and exploration into the many art media areas will include drawing, painting, sculpture, and pottery.

Beginning Drawing

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

This is an introductory class for students with the desire to improve on drawing skills.  The student shall be introduced to various types of drawing techniques and media use.  Basic Drawing is recommended for any student with the “I can’t draw but wish I could” syndrome.

Painting (Studio Class)

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Prerequisite:  Art I

A foundation course in painting that will include pastels, watercolor, acrylic and other media.  Techniques and processes in painting will focus on painterly as well as hard-edged approaches and will include subjective and non-subjective painting forms.

Pottery (Studio Class)

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Prerequisite:  Art I

This course is an introduction to hand-built and wheel thrown pottery, its form and function.  A study of clays, glazes, kiln firing, design techniques and other related processes will be explored.


3-D Design

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12

Prerequisite:  Art I

This course focuses on 3-dimensional design, processes and materials used in making sculpture.  Experimentation and investigation using a variety of materials such as wire, wood, clay, plaster, found objects, as well as others, shall be the basis for creating sculptural type art.  Decorative masks, low relief sculpture, mobiles and wire forms will be some of the types of sculptures completed in class.


Advanced Art

Maximum Credit:  4 (This course can be taken 2 years---4 semesters)

Grades:  11, 12

Prerequisite:  Art I and three art studio classes listed above.

This is a year-long class offered to juniors and seniors emphasizing individual motivation with subject media choice.    Advanced Art is a course for career minded students with intentions of continuing on into an art related field.  Good work ethic, self-motivation and a strong interest in art is mandatory.  Each student is required to exhibit current work in a one-person showcase at the end of the course.  *All students need to obtain permission from the instructor before taking this class.   This class may be repeated once for credit.



Business Education Course Descriptions


Accounting I

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Accounting is a class for students wanting to pursue a secondary degree in accounting or any business major.  Students will learn double-entry accounting to organize and analyze financial data.  They will analyze transactions, journalize transactions, post to ledgers, and prepare financial statements covering a fiscal period for a business.


Accounting II

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12

Accounting II is a follow-up class to Accounting for students wanting to further their knowledge of accounting and accounting systems.  Students will be working on accounting for a merchandising business organized as a corporation through one full business cycle.  They will handle accounting for purchases, sales, cash payments and receipts using special journals.  The students will analyze transactions, journalize transactions, and post to ledgers.  They will prepare payroll records and account for the payroll and payroll taxes.  The students will do accounting for uncollectible accounts receivable.  Students will also prepare the financial statements for the business and analyze these financial statements.


Business Law

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Business Law is a class for students to gain an understanding of how the law works and how it affects their daily lives.  The students will learn about the different legal systems and learn the difference between Criminal and Civil Law with an emphasis on Contract Law.


Computer Business Applications (Word Processing)

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Computer Applications is a class designed to help students become proficient using Microsoft Office 2016 programs.  The students will be working with Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint.


Fundamentals of Web Programming

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12  

This is a concurrent enrollment class through Kirkwood Community College.  This course presents hypertext markup language (HTML) principles used in creating well-designed Web pages.


Intermediate Computer Business Applications

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12

Prerequisite:  Computer Business Applications (Word Processing)

This is a concurrent enrollment class through Kirkwood Community College.  This course extends students’ knowledge of and skills using Microsoft Office.  Programs covered are Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.


Introduction to Business

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12    

Introduction to Business is a class for both students wanting to pursue a career in the business field as well as students wanting to gain an understanding of what business is and how it will relate to their lives.  The class covers introductory business connects such as Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and the Economy.


English Course Descriptions


Advanced Composition
1 Semester:  1 Credit
Grades:  12
Prerequisites:  English 12
This course is designed to further develop composition skills in essay writing and personal reflections.  Students will explore controversial issues which require personal response, as well as Hamlet.  Students learn to edit their own compositions proficiently in preparation for college.


English I

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  9

This class is devoted to combining the studies of literature and language into one class period.  While reviewing mechanics, usage, and basic writing skills, students will also study different literary forms including short stories, novels and dramas. Students also work to produce The Plainsman Page, which is the student-produced newspaper.


English II

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  10

Students will enhance their studies of literature and writing.  The curriculum includes units of short stories, poetry, drama and novels, and a basic review of mechanics and usage.  Students also work to produce The Plainsman Page, which is the student-produced newspaper.


English III

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grade:  11

This course is designed to acquaint students with literature, including world literature, and give them an opportunity to respond to literature using various techniques including writing, slide presentations, and collaborative projects.  It offers a survey of early American literature/documents, 18th century literature,  and modern world fiction/non-fiction.


English IV

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  12

This course will focus on reading and writing.  First quarter includes “Old Man and the Sea,” “The Pearl,” and “Taming of the Shrew.”  During the second quarter, students will create a portfolio which includes a resume, essay, job application, letters of reference, and other real world documents.  


Individualized Reading

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Students read books of their own choosing and respond electronically everyday.  A short daily summary/reaction to what they have read as well as a final book analysis are the writing tasks involved.  Students should be self-motivated to read and write on their own.

Introduction to Speaking and Performance (Speech)

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12

This course combines the fundamentals of public speaking with creative dramatics.  The public speaking provides students with a variety of formal and informal speaking experiences based on individual student interests, capabilities, and needs.

Novels

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12 (teacher approval)

The students will read from a variety of selected books and infamous authors throughout the semester.  They will be required to complete projects in addition to participating in many serious class discussions.

Photo-Journalism

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12 (teacher approval)

(freshmen and sophomores admitted based upon teacher recommendation)

This course is designed to offer each student the opportunity to help produce The Plainsman and The Plainsman Page.   In photo-journalism staff members are considered employees who work for an advisor under the direction of the administration.  Students can expect to gain experience in journalistic writing, advertising/marketing, photography, and time management.

Kirkwood:  ENG-105:  Composition I                                                                                                                                          1 Semester:  1 High School Credit/3.0 Kirkwood Community College Credits                                                               Grades:  12                                                                                                               Prerequisite:  Honors English Student and Qualifying Placement Scores                                                                      Composition I helps students develop skill in expository writing with emphasis on organization, supporting detail, style, vocabulary, and library research skills.  

Kirkwood:  ENG-106:  Composition II                                                                                                                                          1 Semester:  1 High School Credit/3.0 Kirkwood Community College Credits                                                               Grades:  12                                                                                                                                                                                Prerequisite:  Kirkwood Composition I                                           Teaches precise and responsible use of research tools.  Requires critical analysis of reading materials, audience and self when communicating content material.  Develops students’ ability to use effective and ethical arguments..

Family Consumer Science Course Descriptions


Child Development/Parenting

Grades:  10, 11, 12

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Prerequisite:  Creative Life Skills

This course is the study of the development of children from conception to school age – good basic information to build on for a day care career.  It covers the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development that occurs during childhood.  The course also identifies various family patterns and lifestyles, problem solving techniques, and how to balance work and family.


Clothing

Grades:  10, 11, 12

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Prerequisite:  Creative Life Skills

Students will develop their skills in sewing and tailoring in this class, along with care and use of equipment.  Students will make projects incorporating sleeves, zippers, buttons, and button holes.  Time will also be given to alterations and repair of clothing.  


Crafts

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12

This class is designed to introduce students to a variety of craft ideas including knitting crocheting, applique, embroidery, latch hook, seasonal crafts, and quilting (hand and machine).  Doing crafts provides a release from stress and gives students an introduction to a hobby for adult life.


Creative Life Skills

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

This is an introductory course in the sequence of Family and Consumer Science grouping.  Units covered are foods and nutrition, clothing, child development and care.  They include an introduction to careers available in Family and Consumer Science.


Foods I

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Prerequisite:  Creative Life Skills

This course introduces fundamental skills and techniques of basic cookery.  Students learn kitchen procedures, use and care of equipment, sanitation and safety, and efficient work methods.  Students will develop basic food handling, competencies and work with dairy, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and starches.


Foods II

Grades:  10, 11, 12

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Prerequisite:  Creative Life Skills, Foods I

This is the second sequential course in Foods, a continuation of food fundamental skills and techniques in soups, stocks, sauces, meats, poultry, seafood entrees, salads, breads and desserts in conjunction with foods of the world.  Foods from different regions of the United States, as well as foods from different countries will be highlighted in this course.


Foods III

Grades:  11, 12

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Prerequisite:  Creative Life Skills, Foods I, Foods II

This is the third sequential course in Foods and will focus on international foods, with units dealing in different areas of the world, including meal customs, native foods and foods labs.


Housing & Interior Design

Grades:  10, 11, 12

1 Semester:  1 Credit

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to investigate housing styles, furniture styles and color as it relates to interior design.  Students will evaluate and develop floor plans and color schemes and learn basic drafting techniques.


Surviving Single

Grades:  12

1 Semester:  1 Credit

This course is designed for life after high school, whether you continue your schooling or become a wage earner.  Basic fundamentals will be taught in:  basic food preparation, living arrangements, travel, how to form a budget and money management.

Foreign Language Course Descriptions


Spanish I

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Spanish I  is an introduction to Spanish.  The class covers basic grammar and vocabulary.  It also incorporates a variety of projects.


Spanish II

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  10, 11, 12

Spanish II continues where Spanish I leaves off.  Students must pass Spanish I in order to take Spanish II.


Spanish III

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  11, 12

Spanish III moves into more in depth grammar and vocabulary.  Students must pass Spanish II in order to take Spanish III.


Spanish IV

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  12

Spanish IV develops more grammar and vocabulary.  The class involves more projects as well.  Students must pass Spanish III in order to take Spanish IV.


Math Course Descriptions


Algebra I

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Algebra I is designed to emphasize the study of multiple representations of linear and non-linear functions.  It includes mathematical concepts for working with rational numbers, various expressions, analyzing and solving linear/non-linear equations & inequalities, systems, and polynomials.


Algebra II

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  10, 11, 12

Algebra II is a deeper look into Algebra I topics such as working with equations, trigonometry, square roots, factoring, and exponents.  This course’s purpose is to blend Algebra I and Geometry and then expand these.  This course will also look at ideas from Geometry that can be solved using algebraic techniques.


College Algebra

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  11, 12

College Algebra will blend ideas from Algebra II and Geometry and expand on them.  It will also mix in a look at basic statistics.  Much of this will be done with the help of scientific calculators and graphing calculators.  It will attempt to challenge even the best math students to expand their mathematical horizons.


Consumer Math

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  11, 12

This course applies mathematics to situations that you will run into in everyday life.  You will look at such topics as insurance, social security, taxes, cars, food, and housing.  This course is designed to make you a wiser “consumer.”  This course is not recommended for students who have already completed Geometry.


Geometry

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Prerequisite:  Algebra I

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Geometry is designed with an emphasis on definitions, theorems, and postulates dealing with lines and planes. Writing proofs to solve (prove) properties of geometric figures, congruence and similarity of figures, basic triangle trigonometry, geometric equalities and inequalities, simple logic, constructions of geometric figures, and measurement of segments, angles, area, and volume are emphasized. Concepts of transformational geometry will also be studied.


Integrated Math I

2 Semesters:  1 Credit

Grades:  9

The course content includes general math topics such as arithmetic, using rational numbers, numeration systems, pre-algebra, pre-geometry, basic probability and statistics.


Pre-Calculus

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  12

Prerequisite:  College Algebra

Pre-calculus will review the major ideas from the previous math courses and prepare you for calculus at the college level.  This course is for those students who enjoy a mathematical challenge and for those who need a transition from College Algebra at the high school level to college level math courses, particularly college calculus.


Music Course Descriptions


Band

2 Semesters:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Concert Band performs at four concerts, at the State Large Group Contest and Commencement. Members of the concert band are eligible for selection to several outstanding honor bands and festivals.


Marching Band practice starts in early August and continues through the football season.  The marching band performs at all home football games.  Varsity football players are exempt from marching band during the home football games.  The band also marches in the annual 4th of July parade in Belle Plaine, the State Marching Competition, and at least one marching competition.


Jazz Band members are selected per audition.  The jazz band performs for the holiday concert in December, the Pops Concert in late February, the National Honor Society induction, and Band-O-Rama in May.  The jazz band competes in various festivals and contests through the spring semester.


Pep band performs at all home varsity basketball games and football games.


Solo and Ensemble:  All members of concert band will perform at State Contest, either as a soloist or in an ensemble such as duet, trio, quartet, quintet, or larger ensemble.  Participating in this contest allows for maximum growth of each instrumentalist.


Choir

2 Semesters:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Concert Choir is open to anyone who wishes to sing. The Concert Choir performs various concerts thought out the year including, but not limited to, Holiday Concert, Pops Concert, and Large Group Contests.


During the year there are also several vocal festivals at nearby college campuses for the experienced vocalist. There are also opportunities to study both solo and small group literature if a student chooses to do so.


Solo and Ensemble:  All members of Concert Choir may perform at State Contest, either as a soloist or in an ensemble such as duet, trio, quartet, quintet, or larger ensemble.


The concert choir is an active group and an organization that warmly welcomes you to help continue its fine tradition.



Physical Education & Health Course Descriptions


Character Development & Leadership

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12

The main objective of this course is to improve character and leadership traits by developing critical thinking, building basic skills, emphasizing positive changes in attitude and promoting essential components of character and leadership. The focus will be to reflect on their own personal character traits, leadership skills and ethics while respecting the viewpoints of others.

Health I

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades: 11, 12

This course is designed to introduce students with a background in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The overall goal is to promote a health curriculum that will provide students information that will assist them in making healthy decisions throughout their lifetime.

Health II

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12

This course will review topics from Health I and advance student’s knowledge in areas not covered in Health I. The focus is to provide students with an advanced background in various areas of health.


Physical Education

1 Semester:  .5 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

This course introduces concepts for personal development in health-related fitness and physical skills: these include cardiovascular exercise, body composition, strength, endurance and flexibility. Students will develop physical and health-related fitness skills through participation in individual and field activities.

Physical Fitness & Conditioning

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12

This course is designed for the students who are motivated to learn the basics of strength training, agility training and cardiovascular fitness training. Students will focus on strength training, agility training, cardiovascular conditioning and nutrition.

Science Course Descriptions


Advanced Placement Chemistry

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

Grades: 11, 12

Prerequisite: Physical Science, Biology, Geometry, Chemistry and Teacher Recommendation

This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introduction to chemistry course usually taken by chemistry majors during their first year. Some AP students are permitted to undertake upper-level courses in chemistry or fulfill a basic requirement for a laboratory science course and will be able to pursue other courses. An end of the year cumulative test must be taken to receive college credit for the course.

PLANT SCIENCE (…Ag Ed 2 – Agricultural Sciences – Plant (ASP)

2 Semesters: 2 Credits

Grades: 10,11,12

Prerequisite: AFNR

The CASE program of study pathways are carefully designed to scaffold student learning within a course and throughout the pathway. Similar to all CASE pathways, the plant science pathway begins with the Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources course. Students then progress to the foundation level course, Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant. Next, students have the option to complete either the Animal and Plant Biotechnology or Food Science and Safety specialization level course. All CASE pathways culminate with the capstone course, Agricultural Research and Development.


Biology

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  10, 11, 12

Biology is the study of life.  This course begins with the study of molecular and cellular biology as the structural basis for life.  We look at the nature of science by reviewing the scientific method and tools used by a scientist.  We then study Mendelian genetics and microbiology.

The second semester starts with a study of evolution as a natural process.  Then we study classifications of living things, which leads to the study of the different kingdoms.  In the study of animals we will do several dissections.

Chemistry

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

Grades:  11, 12

Prerequisites:  Algebra and Physical Science

Chemistry is a course designed to develop an understanding of basic chemical principles.  This will be done using laboratory, every day experiences, class discussions, and hard work.  During the year students will investigate the properties, composition, and structure of matter.  They will also be observing the changes that occur in matter and the energy released or absorbed during these changes.

Ecology

1 Semester:   1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12

Prerequisite: Biology

Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with each other and their environment.  Living and nonliving things of each region of the world will be studied to see how they are related to each other as well as weather and climate to see how the different biomes got to be the way that they are.  We will look at how energy flows through each system and how populations interact.  We will be using IOWATER to study water quality in Iowa.  Much of the course work will be done outdoors as we study the makeup of small microenvironments like a stream and forest.


General Biology

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

Grades:  10, 11

This course is designed to give students a broad overview of the major concepts of Biology, the science of life.  Units covered will include cells, evolution, simple living things, plants and animals.  This course is recommended for students who feel they struggle with science and are not college bound.  It meets the high school requirement for Biology but does not meet the requirement as a prerequisite for high school Advanced Biology, Human Anatomy, Botany, or Ecology.

Human Anatomy A and/or B

1 Credit for Each Semester Taken

Grades:  11, 12

Prerequisite: Biology

Human Anatomy A is offered first semester; Human Anatomy B is offered second semester.  Students may choose to take either one or both.  Both courses include a study of the structure and functions of the various organs and organ systems of the human body.  The laboratory will be an integral part of the work in this course.  Dissection of a fetal pig will be used to identify the various systems of the body.

Physical Science

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

Grade:  9

This course is designed to provide the student with a basic understanding of the physical sciences, which include chemistry, earth science and physics.  You will be given the opportunity to learn these basics through various laboratory experiences, along with class discussions, readings, and problem sets.  This course is required before physics and chemistry.

Physics

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

Grades:  11, 12

Prerequisite:  Algebra and Physical Science

This course is designed to provide the student with a basic understanding of physics.  You will be given the opportunity to learn these basics through the interpretation of laboratory experiences, demonstrations, readings, problem sets, and class discussion.  Second semester will include applications of physics principles.  Topics include: motion, energy, electronics, and nuclear physics.

Zoology

1 Semester:   1 Credit

Grades:  11, 12

Prerequisite:  Biology

Zoology is the study of animals.  We will begin with the simplest forms and study characteristics of each phylum as we increase in complexity.  Topics covered will include reproduction, development, means of locomotion, methods of food getting, adaptations, and the interrelation between organisms and their environment.  Some dissection will be involved.

Social Studies Course Descriptions


AP American Government

2 Semesters:  1 Credit (course does not meet every day)

Grades:  12

AP American Government is a class offered to students their senior year.  This class is a college level class offering a very detailed, demanding & thought provoking view of our government.  Students are expected to relate current events with the structure of our government.  


Advanced Placement U.S. History

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

Grades: 11, 12

AP U.S. History analyzes and explores the economic, political, and social changes in America since Columbus. Students will master historical knowledge and critical analysis, build reading, writing, and communication skills, and discover how historical events have contributed to American culture. The course is very intensive and challenging. The course concludes with the AP Final Exam.

American Government

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  12

American Government is a class offered to students their senior year.  This class offers a brief look into American History leading up to our Constitution, a breakdown of the Constitution, examination of principles such as separation of powers & checks/balances & federalism.  American Government also will offer students the opportunity to get involved in government on a local level as well with participation in editorials, school board/city council meetings & government terminology in current issues.


American History

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

Grade: 9

American History is the study of our nation’s past from Post-Reconstruction to the start of the Cold War.  1860’s-1960’s Areas of study include: Native Americans, Industrial Growth, Cities and Immigration, Political Changes, World War I, Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, World War II, and The Cold War.

Civics

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  9, 10, 11

Civics is a one semester social studies elective course for any 9th-11th grade student.  Civics will cover several aspects of government. Students will explore the origins of the American democratic system while looking at how the constitution embodies the values and purposes set up by the founding fathers. The structure and function of the government will be analyzed on a national, state, and local level while showing how each are interrelated.  The course will focus on how people play an active role in government and the importance each citizen contributes to society.


Current Issues

1 Semester:  1 Credit

Grades:  10, 11, 12

Current Issues is a class that is open to sophomores, juniors & seniors.  It is a class that is taught out of the Upfront news magazine.  Students also will watch numerous news videos relating to events as they unfold overseas, in the US & even here in Iowa or Belle Plaine.  


Economics

1 Semester:   1 Credit

Grades: 11, 12

This is an intro level course designed to give the student a stronger vocabulary and understanding of the economy around them.  This class explores a wide variety of economic topics with a tie to their personal lives.  The class is to show how each student is an active and important member of the overall economy.

Intro to Philosophy

1 Semester:   1 Credit

Grades: 11, 12

This class will explore some of the age old questions that have challenged philosophers for hundreds of years.  This course will ask the student to put into writing and give a voice to their thoughts, ideas, and feelings.  Students must be curious and have the ability and willingness to organize and think seriously.

Psychology

1 Semester:   1 Credit

Grades: 11, 12

Psychology will try to give the student a better understanding of why people act the way they do.  This class is designed to give the student an introduction to a variety of psychological courses they may experience in college.  Major topics include: Study of the brain, Developmental Psychology, Behavioral Psychology, and Abnormal Psychology.

Recent American History

1 Semester:   1 Credit

Grades: 10, 11, 12

Recent American History is the study of our nation’s past from The Cold War to today.  1960’s-2010’s Areas of study include: The Cold War, The Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, Watergate, 1970s, 1980s,  911.

Sociology

1 Semester:   1 Credit

Grades: 11, 12

This class is designed to give the student a better understanding of the world they live in.  The class asks each student to examine their ideas and beliefs of those around them.  Major topics include: Teenagers and Dating, Society through Television, Crime, Drugs, Juvenile Crime, Cults, and Socialization

World History

2 Semesters:  2 Credits

Grades:  10, 11

World History is a class offered to students either their sophomore or junior year.  This class offers a look at many different aspects of history around the world.  Students will be expected to be able to research, organize information, prepare & give presentations, construct papers & critically analyze information.  Example topics of study are the Romans, Greeks, etc...


Special Education Course Descriptions


Skills Development

2 Semesters:   2 Credits

(other arrangements made with teacher approval)

Skills Development is for student with an Individualized Education Plan.  Skills Development guides and supports students with learning and/or behavior disorders to make progress, monitor, and collect data that coincides with each individual goal.


Stem Course Descriptions


Computer Science Principles (AP or non-AP course)

2 Semesters:  2 Credits (year-long course)

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Computer Science Principles introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world. More than a traditional introduction to programming, it is a rigorous, engaging, and approachable course that explores many of the foundational ideas of computing so all students understand how these concepts are transforming the world we live in.

This year-long course can be taught as an AP or non-AP course - no prerequisites required for students. The emphasis is a deeper focus on concepts such as how the internet works and the societal impacts of computer science.


Introduction to Engineering Design

2 Semesters:  2 Credits (year-long course)

Grades:  9, 10, 11, 12

Prerequisite: Must be currently enrolled in or have taken Algebra IA and Algebra IB

Students are introduced to the engineering design process, applying math, science and engineering standards to identify and design solutionsto a variety of real problems. Students work both individually and in collaborative teams to develop and document design solutions using engineering notebooks and 3D modeling software.


Introduction to Engineering Design (IED) is a high school level foundation course in the Project Lead the Way Engineering Program.



Talented & Gifted


Formally identified students in need of enrichment meet with the TAG instructor.  Meetings cover college preparations, goals and objectives for high school advanced placement courses and career options. There are opportunities for college visits, leadership, philanthropic fund raising and community service projects.


Individual Courses Planned with the Counselor

Academic Mentoring

1 Semester:  1 Credit (up to 4 credits can be earned)

Grades:  11, 12

Juniors and seniors may mentor at an elementary school if granted approval by the counselor and a cooperating teacher is available.  Academic mentors will report to the designated classroom  and teacher every day and be evaluated by both their cooperating teacher and counselor for a final grade.  See the counselor if interested.

POST SECONDARY OPTIONS ACT

602.21

The Post-Secondary Options Act is intended to promote rigorous pursuits and to provide a wider variety of options to high school students by enabling eleventh and twelfth grade students (as well as ninth and tenth grade Talented and Gifted students) to enroll part time in nonsectarian courses in eligible postsecondary institutions of higher learning in Iowa.  Application forms and further information are available in the high school office.  The following factors shall also be considered in the board’s determination of whether a student will receive high school credit for a course at a post-secondary institution:

  • The course must be taught at a public or accredited private institution.

  • A comparable course is not offered in the school district.

  • The course must be a credited course at the postsecondary institution.

  • The course is not religious or sectarian.


Contact the school counselor for more information.

Kirkwood's Patient Care Academy

Please see separate link under HIGH SCHOOL COURSE DESCRIPTIONS. Then see Mrs. Koch for additional registration information.
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