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Explore Proctor's on-campus academic courses, athletics, arts, college counseling, and residential life programs to better understand the breadth and depth of a Proctor experience.

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Science

The mission of the Science Department is to graduate individuals who are confident in their ability to learn and pursue science at a collegiate level, who recognize the power of scientific knowledge in everyday life, and who appreciate the complexity and beauty of the natural world.  Through an emphasis on experiential and collaborative learning, students acquire rigorous skills of scientific inquiry, problem solving, and presentation.

The hands-on study of science transcends classrooms and labs to Proctor’s 2500-acre property. A core college preparatory curriculum – Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics – is complemented by a rich set of electives that capitalize on the school’s unique physical resources. The minimum requirement is three years of science (including Earth Science and Biology), but the curriculum allows motivated students to customize their Proctor experience with extensive concentration in advanced studies.
  • Anatomy & Physiology I

    DESIGNATION: Level I elective (Fall, Winter, Spring)

    GOALS
    : This course offers an in-depth and comprehensive study of the human body. Anatomical and physiological concepts are studied through classroom lectures, discussions, case studies, laboratory work, and dissections.

    MATERIAL COVERED:
    This is an introduction to anatomy and physiology, a survey of the body’s unique systems, and the manner in which these structures function. Fall term begins with a general review of cell structure and function before moving on to the integumentary system, skeletal system, and muscular system. Winter term encompasses the nervous system, endocrine system, blood, and immune system. Spring term encompasses the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, and reproductive system.

    TEXT:
    Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology, 9th edition, Pearson/Prentice-Hall and Anatomy and Physiology Coloring Workbook, 9th edition, Pearson/Prentice-Hall

    PREREQUISITE
    : Biology
     
  • AP Biology (1)

     
    DESIGNATION: Level I elective

    GOALS
    : The primary goal of this course is to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement exam in biology. This class is designed to provide juniors and seniors with the equivalent of a freshman college-level biology course. This fast-paced course demands that students are involved in a great deal of independent learning.

    MATERIAL COVERED:
    This course uses evolutionary processes as the underlying theme and driving force of biology. Cellular structure and function is studied, and themes such as energy transfer between living systems, element cycling, internal regulation of living systems, and an in-depth study of the relationship between structure and function of various organisms are also covered. Students read various articles from periodicals, keeping them up-to-date on the most recent developments in biology and related fields. Lab experience and technique is emphasized.

    TEXT:
    Biology, 8th edition, Pearson/Benjamin-Cummings

    PREREQUISITE:
    Biology, at least two terms of Chemistry with 85+ average (may be co-enrolled in C term Fall Chemistry and A term AP Biology), and approval of department head.
     

     
  • AP Environmental Science (1)

    DESIGNATION: Level I elective

    GOALS: The primary goal of the AP Environmental Science course is to empower students with knowledge to critically understand past, present, and future environmental issues, and inspire actions to solve them. To accomplish that goal, this course will focus on the primary objectives set by the AP College Board.

    MATERIAL COVERED: This course will develop a link between issues covered in the text and how those same issues manifest themselves in our local watershed. Field trips, guest speakers, labs, films, and projects will bring global issues to a local level. This is a fast-paced course that demands that students are involved with a great deal of independent learning. Students will be expected to keep up with assigned readings, which include chapters from the text, case studies, and other articles that highlight the topic(s) being examined. Class activities will include group work, calculations, discussions, and hands-on investigations. Students will be required to keep an online blog that contains all lab reports, lab data, and worksheets, as well as narratives on field excursions that include reflective writing, sketching, and mixed media that form a combination creative/technical record of the term.

    TEXT: Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, by Withgott and Brennan, and  Cracking the AP Environmental Science Exam, 2013 ed., Princeton Review; students are also assigned summer reading that varies year to year, the required book for this year is The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollen."
     
    PREREQUISITE: Biology, Chemistry recommended, and approval of department head.
  • Biology (1) (Hon)

    DESIGNATION: Level I requirement

    GOALS:
    -To acquire a rich body of knowledge about the nature of living things, from the "big picture" of ecological relationships, down to the microscopic level.
    -To become scientifically literate citizens who can participate, from a basis of understanding, in helping to shape humanity's relationship with this living planet, Earth.
    -To foster a "sense of wonder" about living things and the natural world.

    MATERIAL COVERED:
    Honors students cover the same materials as regular Biology students. They are, however, required to complete independent work and gain a greater depth of knowledge of the material covered. The course opens with units on Ecology, to give the students a solid framework from the "big picture" within which they can build a detailed understanding of the living world. From there topics covered in the fall term include Biochemistry and Cells, Classification of life and an introduction to Plants. Winter trimester begins with Cell Growth and Division, Genetics and DNA, Human Heredity, Evolution and the History of Life. Spring starts out with a more detailed study of plants including Plant Structure and Function, Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration. Then the majority of the term is devoted to a series of units on the Human Body. The course culminates with the fetal pig dissection project.

    TEXT:
    Biology
                by Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph S. Levine
                Published by Pearson
                It is an I-book text (click on link above to see in I-tunes)
     
    PREREQUISITE: Approval of department head.
  • Biology Cellular (1)

    Cellular Bio
    Goals This course develops an appreciation and understanding of the scientific method and a sound knowledge of basic cellular anatomy and physiology and biological concepts. This goal is achieved through reading and writing assignments, labs, independent study, and research, project based learning and field experiences. 
    Material covered. Fall term will review ecology and investigate how it relates to plant cells and photosynthesis. We will research the intricacies between animal and plant cells as well as prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell anatomy. A comprehensive exploration of cell theory wraps the term. Winter term seeks understanding of DNA, cell growth and division and genetic engineering. The spring term encompasses evolution and human anatomy and physiology. 
    TEXT: Biology
               by Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph S. Levine
               Published by Pearson
               It is an I-book text (click on link above to see in I-tunes)
  • Biology Environmental (1)

    Biology: Environmental 

    GOALS: This freshman level course develops an appreciation and understanding of the scientific method, and a sound knowledge of basic ecological systems and biological concepts that shape and influence the natural environments of our planet. This goal is achieved through reading and writing assignments, class discussions, project-based learning units, independent and individual labs, and field experiences.

    MATERIAL COVERED: The fall term investigates system thinking, basic earth science concepts, biogeochemical cycling, the major spheres of the earth and population ecology dynamics. The winter term delves deeper into population evolution, history of life, classification, evolution dynamics and the kingdom of plants. The spring term explores the kingdoms of life and biodiversity with focused labs and outdoor explorations to better understand the interplay between human impacts and environmental biological systems and concepts.

    TEXT: Biology
               by Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph S. Levine
               Published by Pearson
               It is an I-book text (click on link above to see in I-tunes)
  • Chemistry (1)

    DESIGNATION: Level I elective

    GOALS:
    Through a combination of classroom and laboratory activities, students explore the structure, composition, and behavior of matter as it interacts and changes. The course gives students a basic understanding of chemical principles, allows students to experience these basic principles in a hands-on manner in the laboratory, and develops the ability and confidence to question ideas, solve difficult chemistry problems, and reason in a scientific way.

    MATERIAL COVERED:
    The first trimester topics include modern atomic theory, organization of the periodic table, ionic bonding, chemical formulas and nomenclature, writing and balancing chemical equations, and mathematical work with moles. The second trimester topics include covalent bonding, writing and balancing chemical equations, stoichiometry, chemical thermodynamics, and kinetic molecular theory. The final trimester covers solutions, chemical equilibrium, solubility and precipitation, definitions of acids and bases, reactions of acids and bases, and titrations.

    TEXT
    : Chemistry: Matter and Change
    Thandi, Buthelezi
     Published by McGraw Hill
                It is an I-book text (click on link above to see in I-tunes)


    PREREQUISITE:
    Biology and co-enrollment or completion of Algebra 2.
     

     
  • Chemistry (1) (Hon)

     DESIGNATION: Level I elective
     
     GOALS: This course provides strong science students a more challenging experience in chemistry. Critical thinking, advanced problem-solving techniques, and the ability to apply several basic principles simultaneously are stressed in this course.  Students perform several laboratory experiments throughout the course and learn proper lab report format. 
     
    MATERIAL COVERED: The first trimester topics include modern atomic theory, organization of the periodic table, ionic bonding, chemical formulas and nomenclature, writing and balancing chemical equations, and mathematical work with moles. The second trimester topics include covalent bonding, writing and balancing chemical equations, stoichiometry, chemical thermodynamics, and kinetic molecular theory. The final trimester covers solutions, chemical equilibrium, solubility and precipitation, definitions of acids and bases, reactions of acids and bases, and titrations.
     
    TEXTChemistry: Matter and Change
    Thandi, Buthelezi
     Published by McGraw Hill
                It is an I-book text (click on link above to see in I-tunes)
     
     
    PREREQUISITE: Biology, co-enrollment or completion of Algebra 2 and approval of department head.
  • Climate Science I

    DESIGNATION: Level I Elective

    GOALS:
    - To gain a rich in-depth understanding of Earth's climate, past, present and a peek into the future.
    - To exercise our "science brains" to strengthen knowledge and skills in many branches of science so as to become masters at analyzing information and making holistic connections.
    - To empower students to become creative problem solvers in meeting the challenge of Climate Change.
    - To foster a sense of connection with the living planet we inhabit.

    MATERIAL COVERED:
    This course is going to be a hands-on dynamic learning experience for students.  We will use the excellent I-book "Earth's Climate" as a starting point for our exploration of climate and all the science that is part of its study.  Because the study of climate involves so many branches of science, from ecology, geology, meteorology, to physics, chemistry, paleontology and more, this course offers us a chance to exercise our "science brains" in a diverse array of subjects through activities and mini-experiments.  Our goals are to become skilled at analyzing information, masters of key concepts, and adept at making connections, ultimately putting it all together to see a whole picture of planet earth as an incredibly complex, as well as beautiful, set of interacting systems.  The first two terms will develop a deep understanding of the mechanisms of Earth's Climate, past, present, as well as some insight into the future.  The third term will be project oriented and student driven.  Students will be empowered to create projects that explore alternative energy solutions for our future!
     
    Note: Although the course is designed to build understanding and skills each term, students are also welcome to join the course at any point during the year.

    TEXT:
    Earth's Climate
                by: John Price
                This is a Free I-book text (click on link above to access in I-tunes)
     
    PREREQUISITE: Biology
  • Conservation Ecology I

    DESIGNATION: Level I elective (Fall, Winter, Spring)

    This course runs from Fall term, through Winter and Spring.  Conservation Ecology investigates the interrelationship between wild and human developed landscapes, systems, services and interactions.  Students will explore issues and topics through a series of problem based learning (PBL) units. This course is designed as an upper-level elective designed for those students interested in exploring the various aspects of wildlife research, land management, and conservation ecology. The college prep structure involves reading for understanding, extensive fieldwork, as well as research, writing techniques, and class lectures.

    GOALS:
     Students will be able to relate to what they learn through lecture, readings, etc.  They will develop the capacity to appreciate the complexities inherent in various ecosystems and will be able to articulate their knowledge via presentations, blogs, sharing of journal entries and group projects.  Students will demonstrate improved competency of field science skills.

    MATERIAL COVERED
    Fall term investigates how changes in the landscape tend to impact wild populations differently. PBL on hunting, trapping and timber harvesting are featured. Students will learn about the laws, impacts and history of such actions.

    Winter term will focus on honing outdoor skills (fieldwork) to perform transect and plot studies to understand the biodiversity of our local habitats. The primary PBL unit will focus on building a series of interactive trail stations that teach others about populations and conservation. Students will become proficient in mammal tracking, scat identification, and tree ID.

    Spring term will focus on wetland ecology, bird and frog ID. Students will use their developing field science skills to contribute to the Natural Lens mapping project.
     
    TEXT: 
    Forest Forensics- A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape, by Tom Wessels,
    Peterson’s Field Guide to Mammals,
    Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign, by Paul Rezendes
    Various additional reading materials given out by the instructor.

    PREREQUISITE:
     Biology
     
  • Forensics I

     
    DESIGNATION: Level I elective (Fall, Winter, Spring)

    GOALS: This class is an introduction into the scientific discipline of forensic science. Building on skills and information learned in Biology, the goal is to move toward a sound understanding of basic chemical, physical, anthropological, and genetic science, and how they are related to problem solving and higher deductive reasoning. Forensics will be taught using a combination of text, lecture, lab, computer-generated crime scenes, and current media to gain an understanding of the complexity and scientific challenges involved in the discipline of forensic science. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the most up-to-date technology, as well as exploring what is real vs. myth in current crime shows.

    MATERIAL COVERED: Fall: Students will begin by understanding the basic processing of a crime scene and its physical evidence. Properties of matter and the metric system will be reviewed prior to moving into the analysis of glass, which will be heavily based on basic physics (refraction through a prism, fragmentation and how it relates to impact, wave and particle theory, electromagnetic spectrum, etc.). The chemical analysis of drugs and alcohol using simulated chromatography, simulated infrared spectroscopy, and simulated mass spectrometry will precede a unit on toxicology. Winter:  Blood type and DNA analysis will be studied at the microscopic level. Trace evidence will be examined, including things such as hair analysis (human vs. animal, natural vs. manufactured, DNA typing), fiber analysis, and paint and soil analysis. Mechanisms of heat transfer and combustion, as well as simulated chemical analysis of residue, will be studied in the fire investigation and explosion unit. Spring: Fingerprinting will be mastered, as will tools/firearm identification. Finally, document/technology examination will be explored including the possible topics of handwriting analysis, ink typing, alteration, Internet structure, and email-chat-IM message recovery. Along the way, significant court cases and laws will be considered as to their impact on forensic science methods and reporting.

    TEXTForensic Science: An Introduction, Prentice Hall

    PREREQUISITE: Biology
  • Forestry I

    DESIGNATION: Level I elective (Fall, Winter, Spring)

    GOALS:
    Forestry is an extensive exploration of the academic research, management, and ecology of forests. Academic study is applied through highly experiential methods employing Proctor’s forestlands.

    MATERIAL COVERED
    : The first trimester focuses on the history of New England forests, dendrology, and soil science. The second trimester focuses on silviculture, silvics, forest inventory techniques (including computer applications), and forestry/wildlife resource issues. The final term focuses on maple sugaring, advanced forest management practices, wood products, forest pathology, Christmas tree production, and additional forestry/wildlife issues.

    TEXT:
    Working with Your Woodland: A Landowner’s Guide, University Press of New England and Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs, George Petrides and Roger Tory Peterson

    PREREQUISITE:
    Biology
     

  • Mountain Classroom/Science

     
    Goals and Material Covered: This is a field based ecology course that focuses on the regions we encounter as we travel across the United States, primarily New England, Texas, Arizona and California.  We will study regional watersheds, annual weather cycles, and biome characteristics. Students will be asked to paint a Scienti?c picture of these regions with an eye toward human impact and will relate observations from ?eld work with current environmental issues.  
     
    Assessments:  Two major components of the science grade are the  Science Journal and Project Presentations.  Journals will integrate observations on weather, water sources, soil, flora and fauna.  Presentations will emphasize field work and connections to current environmental issues.  You will be challenged to design solutions for dilemmas facing the regions we research.  There will also be points given for active reading, resources collected and group discussions. 
     
    TEXT:  Data and analysis on regional watersheds from Research Center for Educational Technology, research on biomes of the United States from the U.S. Forest Service and Biotic Communities of Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico, environmental issues presented by the United States Global Change Research Program, Arizona Conserve Water, and Discovering a Watershed: The Colorado put together by Project WET, as well as primary and secondary resources collected on current issues. 
     
  • Neuroscience I

    DESIGNATION:  Level 1 elective

    GOALS:
      One of the most compelling questions for science remains unanswered: how a living brain can give rise to a conscious mind.  Neuroscience has uncovered much about the biological mechanisms behind thought, emotion and behavior.  The primary goal of this course is to give students a basic understanding of these mechanisms, of how the brain functions, and how it might give rise to the subjective experience.  
    Secondly,  as neuroscience is remarkably interdisciplinary, in this course we draw on knowledge from a wide range of disciplines: from biological, physical and computational sciences, to social sciences and the humanities.  
     
    MATERIAL COVERED:
    1) An introduction to the anatomy and function of the brain:  gross anatomy of the brain and how its structure correlates with function; the biochemistry of neuron function; the architecture of neural networks and how they achieve computation and information processing.
    1. Perception:
    the visual system, including the eye, visual processing regions, optical illusions, facial recognition and mirror neurons
    1. Case studies of disfunction and abnormalities such as face-blindness and savantism.
    2. Consciousness and the self.
     
    TEXTS: The Human Brain Book, by Rita Carter, The Tell-Tale Brain, by V.S Rakmachandran, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by Oliver Sachs, additional readings from many online resources.
     
    PREREQUISITES:  Biology and recommendation by Department Chair.
  • Organic Chemistry (Honors)

     DESIGNATION: Level I elective
     GOALS: This is a one-term advanced elective open to students who have taken at least two terms of Chemistry and are ready for greater challenge. The course serves as a basic introduction to organic chemistry, surveying a variety of topics such as basic nomenclature, functional groups, and reaction mechanisms. This course focuses primarily on problem solving with one major lab experiment at the end of the term.
     
    TEXT: Essential Organic Chemistry, Bruice
     
     PREREQUISITE: Two terms of Chemistry with grades averaging above 85, recommendation from Chemistry teacher, and approval of department head.
  • Physics (1)

     
    DESIGNATION: Level I elective

    GOALS:
    Students of Physics develop the ability to understand, interpret and apply mathematical models of physical phenomena. This is done through problem solving, laboratory exploration, collaboration, reading and discussion. While a strong conceptual understanding of each topic is expected, the course emphasizes a rigorous mathematical treatment, with a focus on helping students develop confidence and ability in working with math-intensive and technical material.

    MATERIAL COVERED
    : In the fall term students learn the basic language of physics and essential problem-solving techniques through a study of kinematics and mechanics. Winter term builds on mechanics with a study of work, energy, momentum, rotational kinematics, gravitation, and planetary motion. Spring term involves a study of several topics, including vibrations and waves, sound, electrostatics and magnetism, and electromagnetic radiation.

    TEXT:
    Physics, Holt, Rinehart & Winston

    PREREQUISITE:
    Algebra 2 completed with an 80+ average.
     

     
  • Physics (Hon) (1)

     
    DESIGNATION: Level I elective

    GOALS:
    Students study the mathematical models and concepts of both classical and modern physics by focusing in depth on selected topics. In the first trimester students learn the mathematical language of physics, and many essential problem-solving techniques while covering classical mechanics. Winter and spring terms approach several topics with an interdisciplinary approach. The study of human hearing integrates the physics with biology, neuroscience, and signal processing. The study of gravitation includes an historical account of the development of the physics, and how science, philosophy, and religion have intersected. A mathematical treatment of Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics offers students insight into modern scientific views of nature. Primary throughout is an emphasis on mathematical problem solving, but student work includes research, writing, and laboratory exploration.

    MATERIAL COVERED:
    Kinematics and classical mechanics are the topics for the fall term. Winter term pursues study of Special Relativity, followed by a unit on human hearing, incorporating a study of vibrations, waves, sound, and the mathematics of signal processing. The spring term explores the fundamental interactions in nature, beginning with Gravitation, moving to Electrostatics, and concluding with essential elements of Quantum Mechanics.

    TEXT
    : College Physics, 6th Edition, Serway/Faughn

    CO-REQUISITE
    : Pre-calculus, 85+ average (Honors Precalculus preferred) and approval of department head.
     
  • Wildlife Science I

    DESIGNATION: Level I elective (Fall, Winter, Spring)

    GOALS:
    Wildlife Science is an upper-level elective designed for those students interested in exploring the various aspects of wildlife research, management, and ecology. The structure is similar to a college wildlife course and involves extensive fieldwork, as well as research, writing techniques, and class lectures.

    MATERIAL COVERED:
    Topics covered throughout the year range from fisheries science, marine mammals, and aquatic ecology to endangered species, hunting and trapping, and wildlife/forestry issues. Students are also exposed to various mathematical and computer applications within the field of wildlife science.

    TEXT:
    Peterson Field Guide to Mammals, Houghton Mifflin and Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign, Paul Rezendes

    PREREQUISITE:
    Chemistry (minimum two terms)
     

Faculty

  • Wells Morison

    Science Department Chair/Nordic Skiing
    603-735-6631
    Bio
  • Lynne Bartlett

    Science Department
    603-735-6632
    Bio
  • Christopher Farrell

    Mathematics Department
    603-735-6630
    Bio
  • Ian Hamlet

    Science Faculty/Boys' Soccer & Lacrosse
    603-735-6632
    Bio
  • Megan Hardie

    Student Health & Wellness Coordinator/Science Faculty
    603-735-6742
    Bio
  • Nora Hefner

    Science Faculty
    603-735-6632
  • Susan Houston

    Science Department
    603-735-6632
    Bio
  • Heide Johnson

    Science Department
    603-735-6632
    Bio
  • Amy Makechnie

    Anatomy and Physiology Instructor
    603-735-6632
    Bio
  • Alan McIntyre

    Science Department/Environmental Program Coordinator
    603-735-6810
    Bio
  • Sarah McIntyre

    Science Department
    603-735-6632
    Bio
  • Derek Nussbaum Wagler

    Dean of Academics
    603-735-6645
Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
204 Main Street  .  PO Box 500  .  Andover, NH 03216
p. (603) 735-6000   f. (603) 735-6300   webmaster@proctoracademy.org