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The Science Department

Our Mission

We offer a rigorous course of study which enables students to prepare for a future career in science or technology. The Science Department is committed to offering the students a robust program based on the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Standards. We strive to incorporate the latest laboratory methodologies and techniques. This program is also meant to develop scientifically literate persons who understand how science, technology and society influence one another and who are able to use this knowledge in their everyday decision making. The scientifically literate person has a substantial knowledge base of facts, concepts, and process skills which enable that individual to continue to learn and think logically. The individual learns to appreciate the value of science and technology in society and to understand their limitations.

By fulfilling the Abraham Lincoln and the San Francisco Unified School District science requirements, all students will have had the opportunity to complete a year long course in a Biological Science and in Physics or Chemistry. Students who wish to pursue additional science courses are offered a variety of options beyond the basic required courses.


Science Department Course Offerings

Health 1-2
The major goal of health education is the development of health literacy in all students.

Biology 1-2

This course is a study of the major topics in the life sciences. Meets UC ’D’ requirement.

Advanced Placement Biology 1-2
This course covers the equivalent of a first-year university "introduction to Biology" course, as outlined by the College Board. The course is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Examination. Meets UC ’D’ requirement. Pre-requisite: Biology 1-2 with a grade of C or better.

Chemistry 1-2 
This course explores how matter is put together and includes the principles of general chemistry. It is recommended for any student with an interest in exploring future study in any of the sciences, engineering or medicine. Meets UC ’D’ requirement. Advised: A grade of “C” or better in Algebra 1-2 (or equivalent course.)

Conceptual Physics 1-2

This course focuses on an investigation of energy and its interactions with matter. Requires introductory level algebra skills.  Meets UC ’D’ requirement.


Advanced Placement Physics 1-2

This course follows the Advanced Placement Physics curriculum specified by the College Board and is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Physics examination in the spring semester. Pre-requisite: successful completion of Conceptual Physics, concurrent Advanced Algebra or completion of Advanced Algebra with a C or better.


Physiology 1-2
This course emphasizes the structure and function of the human body. Topics include skeletal, muscular, circulatory and respiratory physiology, neuroscience, and relationships of systems. Laboratory work includes dissection, musculature construction and microscopic histological study. Meets UC ’D’ requirement.  


Marine Biology 1-2

This course emphasizes the interactions of the marine ecosystem, with a focus on the various forms of marine life that make up the system and the environmental challenges they face. Meets UC 'D' requirement. Advised: Biology 1-2, and either Conceptual Physics 1-2.


Advanced Placement Environmental Science 1-2

 This course covers the equivalent of a first-semester university Environmental Science course, as outlined by the College Board, and prepares students for the Advanced Placement Environmental Science examination. Meets UC 'D' requirement.


Principles of Biotechnology 1-2
This course is designed to prepare and motivate students for future employment in the Biotech Industry or in academic research. Topics covered include genetics, DNA chemistry, gene expression, protein structure and function. The course emphasizes lab work, and the laboratory techniques are the same as those used in research labs the world over. Students may have an opportunity to do paid offsite internships.
Meets UC ’D’ requirement. Advised: Departmental recommendation. 

Principles of Biotechnology 3-4
A continuation of Biotechnology1-2.  This class is laboratory intensive; independent laboratory work will be emphasized. Required: Successful completion of Biotechnology 1-2 and departmental recommendation.

Revised August 2016


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much Science should I take? The District requires you to take a minimum 2 years of UC approved laboratory science; one science must be a life science (e.g. Biology or Physiology), the other a physical (e.g. Chemistry, Physics.) 3 years are recommended  if you wish to be competitive for UC admission. For those interested in science, we encourage you to take as much as you can fit in your schedule!

2. What is the difference between a Physical and Life Science? Life sciences focus on living organisms and systems. Biology, Physiology, and Biotechnology are classified as Life Science courses. Physical sciences focus on non-living systems and form the foundation for studying the life sciences. Physics, Chemistry, and Environmental Science are Physical Science courses.

3. What does UC require for admission? San Francisco Unified School District graduation requirements are designed to meet the UC admission requirements. UC requires two years of “D” level science. They must be in different categories. The categories are Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Chemical Sciences and Interdisciplinary Sciences. UC recommends three years of science.

4. What does CSU require for admission? San Francisco Unified School District graduation requirements are designed to meet the CSU admission requirements. Like UC, CSU requires two years of “D” level science. They must be in different categories. The categories are Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Interdisciplinary Sciences.

5. What is the normal order for science classes? Most students will take Biology in 9th grade and Conceptual Physics or Chemistry in 10th grade. In the upper grades, students may choose from the science classes listed above.


Science Department Head: Julie Reis