• Inquiry-based investigation and constructivist learning theory are the hallmarks of science education at James S. Rickards High School. Instead of teaching science as "an encyclopedia of facts" that students have to memorize and be tested for, our science educators develop critical thinking skills by presenting students with problems for which they have to find solutions. In the process of solution-seeking, principles of science are discovered, argued about, and developed within the context of real-world applications. In short, we learn science by doing it instead of reading it!



    In Ms. Figueroa's Pre-IB chemistry classes students are exploring the physical properties of ionic and covalent compounds in their current lab. They are observing four physical properties of nine compounds in order to get an idea of the differences as well as similarities of properties of ionic versus covalent compounds. The properties include appearance, brittleness, solubility, melting point and conductivity.  


    IB Science students, on October 28th, we will be conducting Group 4 research at Lake Munson.  Mrs. Dobb's Forensics' class has been working on using maggot data to determine the time of death, while her Anatomy and Physiology classes have been making models of plasma membranes.  Dr. Hall's IB Biology Class has been working on making a model of DNA, while her AP Classes have been working on enzymes and modeling the Lock and Key Hypothesis.


    Science would like to welcome Dr. Dokurugu to Rickards as our new Earth Space Science Teacher.  Also, as a department, we were awarded a $10,000 grant for lab probe ware from the Foundation For Leon County Schools Innovative Teacher Grant Program!


    This week's focus in Science is on Ms. Mendoza's Physical Science Classes.  She is working with the students on study skills and how to outline textbook chapters as her upperclassmen prepare for the future.  They are also working on their Periodic Table Rap, which is historically one of the most fun projects they do in class.

    IB Science Students- Your Action plans are due electronically by 6 p.m. on October 17th to all of your current science teachers. Remember you must discuss your plan with the appropriate science teacher before you submit it.  Science teachers are not available during lunch on Thursdays or Fridays.  Please plan accordingly and do not procrastinate.  The discussion must happen before 2:45 on Friday, October 14th. 


    This week we are focusing on Mr. Dignan's Biology classes.  They have completed their baseline assessments for the End of Course Biology Exam and have been focusing on the Ecology Unit.  This week students are presenting, on different biomes around the world.  Next week they will be working on geochemical cycles of matter.  

    IB Juniors and Seniors- All IB Science students have an assembly in the Cafeteria on Friday September 30th during first and second periods to learn about their Group 4 projects.  This assembly is MANDATORY.  October 28th all IB Science students will be on a field trip to Lake Munson to conduct their Group 4 project. 


    This week we are featuring Ms. Figueroa and her Chemistry classes.  Pre-IB chemistry students explored the Non-Newtonian fluid called Oobleck. They used hands-on investigations and observations to understand the physical properties of the Oobleck and designed a model to explain how the atoms interacted with any pressure applied. It was messy fun that helped them explain the states of matter and how atoms behave. IB chemistry juniors learned how to safely operate Bunsen burners and performed synthesis reactions to determine empirical and molecular formulas. 


    Our Science students are working hard in class. Please remember students need to bring their charged Chromebooks to their science classes each day.  This week's focus will be on Anatomy and Physiology.   Mrs. Dobb's students are learning anatomical terminology and focusing on planes and directional terms.  They are practicing their dissection techniques on Sour Patch Kids.


    Please remember to pay lab fees and turn in your paperwork that requires signatures. All checks and money orders should be made out to Rickards High School, or you can pay online via E-Funds.  Science teachers would also like to remind parents and students that students need bring  their charged Chromebook  to school each day.  It is used daily in science classes for various assignments. 

    Earth Space would like to remind students that the lab fee is $20. 

    Science classes are off and running with many classes having already completed their first labs or doing them this week. 

    Anatomy and Physiology will be is working on a homeostasis lab this week.  Forensics is learning about observing scenarios and how eyewitness accounts may not be accurate.  IB and AP biology are working on properties of water and macromolecules, while Pre-IB and honors biology are working on labs on scientific method and surface tension.  Physics students are conducting labs to practice measurements, scientific units, and significant figures.  In chemistry, students are learning to make foam while practicing lab technique.  Environmental Science students conducting labs to test various factors that affect seed germination and plant growth in radish. 

    8/15-19/22: Students across science courses have been focusing on Lab Safety and Classroom Policies this past week.  Many science classes have sent home paperwork, including Lab Safety Contracts and Cell Phone Policy Contracts, for parents to sign and be returned to the teacher.  Please check with your students if you have not received any paperwork for their science class. Also, some science classes require a lab fee. That fee can be paid online or to the teacher.  If the teacher has a lab fee, that would be conveyed in their syllabus.  If you would like to make an additional donation to a science classroom, we are always in need of facial tissue and paper towels.  We look forward to a safe and productive year on Science Island!

Classroom News From Science Island