Instructors: William Fenton, Virginia Faus, Melissa Belardi, Richard Kirby, Anju Taneja, Jesse Young; Science Department, The Hotchkiss School



Science 250 is an introductory course that provides a survey of topics in physics and chemistry. The course is also intended to establish basic science skills essential for further scientific study. The core of the course is a combination of classroom laboratory activities and projects that apply physical science concepts to everyday situations.


Course Goals

Science 250 is intended to meet the following goals:

Laboratory Activities

This course is largely the study of the world around us. You don't really learn science by reading about it or talking about it. Rather, you learn by doing things that allow you to manipulate, interact, and/or analyze objects and events. Significant class time will be spent doing activities or experiments. Teamwork is extremely important in this class because most of the activities require you to work in groups of 2-3. It is important that you work with a variety of lab partners. If you are open to working with different people, you will learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses as a student.

Text and Required Materials

Required Text: Physical Science - Concepts in Action from Prentice Hall Other necessary items:

Nightly Work

Assignments will be given nearly every night. Some assignments will be collected and graded. Long-term projects and tests will be announced far in advance. You should expect to spend 30-45 minutes preparing for each class. The amount of time that you spend will vary with the assignment; some students read quickly, others write quickly, others complete problem sets quickly. Often the best students are not those who work fastest. It is suggested that you spend an additional 10-15 minutes each day reviewing your notes, homework, and lab work. This strategy will ease the pressure of studying for tests and it will help you incorporate a "science vocabulary" into your everyday language.


All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the specified due date. Extensions are granted for really compelling reasons, but only when requested in advance. All late work will be downgraded 10% each day. Work that is not turned in when due, but is turned in the same school day, will be downgraded 5%. Students are reminded of the school-wide policy on extensions:
"If a student has three or more hour tests, major papers, or projects due on the same day, the student has the option of having the paper or test which was assigned last postponed until the next day. It is the student's responsibility to inform the teacher whose assignment is being postponed as much in advance as possible. It is not acceptable to inform the teacher on the day of the test."
Except in the situation described in this policy, extensions are not granted for long-term projects, such as a project, term paper or research work.

Class Participation

Your active participation in class is expected at all times. Your ideas, questions, insights, solutions, and confusion are an integral part of every class. Class participation is part of your course grade. Your behavior in class should be respectful. Remember, we all learn differently and if you are talking, you may be disrupting your friend who learns best when listening. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes....including mine.

Tardiness and Absence

Please be on time! Because many of the activities require set-up and clean- up time, we really need every minute and class will begin promptly according to the school schedule. If you arrive after the bell has rung without a note from a teacher, advisor, or nurse, you are late. You will receive an unexcused absence every third time that you are late to class. (This system is automatic in Minerva!). Please also note, that if you are out of dress code, you will be sent back to change and you will receive a tardy. Class attendance (for all of your classes) should be your number one priority at Hotchkiss, and you are expected to be at each and every class. You are responsible for everything that happens in every class. (Test and quiz questions often refer to demonstrations, examples, or discussions from class.) If you anticipate an absence, it is your responsibility to see me in advance to make arrangements for missed work. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to make-up any missed lab, activity, or test, even when you are on Red Card, on a field trip, or away for a game. (Note...get a "study buddy" who can collect and share with you if you are not in class!) You are responsible for all material covered in this course, whether or not you are present in a given class.

Academic Integrity

You are expected to adhere to the Science Department's Statement on Academic Dishonesty. If you have any doubt at all about the level of collaboration allowed for any assignment, ASK! If you put your name on any assignment, you are asserting that the work on that paper is totally your own, or yours within the clear boundaries of collaboration prescribed by your teacher for that particular assignment. In this class, you will always be given specific instructions about whether or not you can work with others. As a general rule, you may get assistance from your classmates, but you must give credit to the person who helped you by making a note in the margin that simply says "I got help from _____. " Getting help does not affect your grade (in fact, I encourage working with others!), but it is important for me to know what gives you difficulty, and it is important to get in the habit of giving credit to your sources (even if your source is your friend!). ALL academic infringements are reported to the student's advisor, to the Science Department for review, and to the appropriate Class Dean for investigation.


Your marking period grade is calculated thusly:
number of points earned / total possible points
Some typical point values for each assessment:

Course Outline

1Science Skills
13Forces in Fluids
14Work, Power and Machines
16Thermal Energy and Heat
17Mechanical Waves and Sound
18The Electromagnetic Spectrum and Light
2Properties of Matter
3States of Matter
4Atomic Structure
5The Periodic Table
6Chemical Bonds
7Chemical Reactions