The science department aims to provide a grounding in fundamental scientific principles by which students see and understand the workings of science in their everyday lives. Science is a method of thinking about the world in which one lives; its study sparks an appreciation for the complexity of nature and a sense of wonder about what remains to be discovered. Students learn to use logic to examine their own conception of natural phenomena, to break down a question into manageable pieces for the sake of analyzing it more thoroughly. Through experimentation and demonstrations, students are encouraged to ask “Why?” and make a discovery for themselves, by themselves.

Classes create a learning environment in which hands-on work is balanced with theory. Of particular emphasis is the ability to see patterns and connections between topics and across the many disciplines of science. Specifically, teachers illustrate how mathematical procedures can be used as tools to enhance one’s investigation of a scientific concept or question. The ultimate goal of the Dublin School curriculum in science is to instill a curiosity for knowledge and to develop the logical, quantitative, creative, and scientific reasoning skills students will need to seek out the answers to their questions.

Course of Study

Introduction to STEM Science

Dublin’s freshman science course is a hands-on, intensive, student-driven, project-based class that incorporates scientific questions from the real world. You will develop a fundamental science literacy by learning to think, observe, ask, and experiment in the manner of scientists in a given discipline. In grappling with problems derived from your own experience, you engage in hands-on work that promises to make a lasting contribution to the immediate Dublin community as well as to a greater scientific field. Topics include ecology, energy, meteorology, astronomy, programming, physics, biology, and engineering. Expect to work both individually and in collaboration to complete various projects throughout the year. Assessments include presentations, research papers, lab reports, class discussion, and tests.


This course dives headfirst into the complexity of the living world. Areas of inquiry include ecosystems and communities, cell structure and function, cell respiration and growth, genetics, DNA and RNA, genetic engineering, and evolution. These topics themselves reveal larger scientific principles, such as how biological form affects function, the interconnectedness of life, and the cycling of materials and energy into the living world. Readings, teacher demonstrations, and multi-modal student projects are at the heart of our investigations. Throughout, you will be given opportunities to develop your scientific thinking, writing, research, and laboratory skills.


Chemistry describes the small-scale interactions of atoms and molecules that govern the living and non-living worlds that surround us. What is the structure of an atom? What does the periodic table describe? How do different types of matter interact? Through demonstrations, current periodical articles, and first-hand experimentation, you will learn to predict the outcome of certain types of reactions by finding patterns in the physical and chemical properties of various substances. More advanced concepts, such as the unique properties of acids and bases, organic chemistry, and radioactive decay, are explored later in the year, as time permits. Laboratory work is a major part of first-year Chemistry, and in keeping with the true method of scientific inquiry, you will be asked to become increasingly self-reliant in your investigations as the year goes on.

Advanced Placement Courses

Prerequisites: “B” or better in appropriate previous course and permission of the instructor.

Advanced Placement courses are offered on a rotating basis in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Environmental Science. These are demanding, college-level courses with heavy laboratory components. Students are prepared for the AP exam in May. Success on that exam may earn college credit. AP courses are designed for those students willing to commit the time and intellectual discipline required for mastery of material at an advanced level.

Current and Recent Electives Offered

  • Science Behind Emergency Medicine
  • Anatomy of Movement
  • Global Food Systems

Past Electives include:

  • Environmental Science
  • Toxins in the Environment
  • Marine Science
  • Physics
  • Nutrition, Health and Society
  • Sports Medicine
  • Introduction to Rivers and Watersheds
  • Introduction to Astronomy
  • Astronomy: Stars and Space