Science Department
Department Chair: Sister Janet Schemmel SND
[email protected]
919.834.1625 ext 397
Freshmen Course Descriptions
Biology College Prep: This laboratory course covers the chemical and physical nature of living things with an emphasis on
the cell, its anatomy, and physiology. The course includes a general survey of all 5 kingdoms, focusing on their interactions
with each other and their relationship with humans. Emphasis is placed upon the skills of microscope use, dissection, and the
continuing use of proper scientific methods.
Biology Honors: Biology Honors covers each subject area of Biology at a molecular level. An emphasis is placed on inquiry
to discover the major concepts in Biology – energy and matter, molecular structure and function of macromolecules,
maintenance of equilibrium, evolution, cellular interactions, genetic continuity, growth and differentiation, and the place of
science in society. Laboratory experience is extensive with work both in the lab and outside. This course is designed to help
students begin to view life from the level of the biosphere to the molecular level.
Pre-Requisites for Honors Biology:
1. The review of CGHS Placement Test results esp. math and reading comprehension;
2. A grade of “A” in both 8th grade science and Common Core II, (semester 1 used for placement);
3. Student/parent/department chairperson dialogue as necessary;
4. Math placement in Common Core Mathematics II Honors (or higher) for grade 9. (Placement in
Common Core Mathematics II only with department approval.)
Frequently Asked Questions about Biology College Prep and Honors
What goes into placing a student in Honors Biology?
Students going into Honors Biology have a strong interest in science and manifest good problem solving skills and reading comprehension
skills. Students with “A” grades in algebra and Grade 8 science and English are usually placed in Honors Biology if they also placed into
honors geometry. This is because placement in honors geometry reflects good problem solving ability on the placement tests. However,
if their reading comprehension and writing skills are weak this is not automatic.
What is needed to get into Honors Biology if you have not been placed in Common Core Mathematics II Honors and (a)
do have “A” grades in Common Core I and Grade 8 science and English? Or (b) do not currently have “A” grades in
Common Core I and Grade 8 science and English?
Students who have a strong interest and aptitude in science, have the “A” grades in Common Core I and Grade 8 science and
English, and are scheduled to take Common Core II in Grade 9 must exhibit both good reading and writing skills on the CGHS
placement test and be placed into English 9 Honors. Catholic middle school science teachers have already been asked for
their recommendations. Please do not ask eighth grade teachers to send another recommendation. Parents of students in
this category need to contact Sr. Janet by email prior to March deadline.
If students do not currently have “A” grades in Common Core I and Grade 8 science and English they need to bring these grades
up by no later than the end of third quarter. Again, parents are asked to contact Sr. Janet by email and discuss this possibility
prior to March deadline. Do not wait until the end of the school year to make this contact.
If you are placed in honors biology, do you automatically go into honors chemistry as sophomore?
Placement in honors chemistry is not automatic. Freshman in both college prep biology and honors biology go into honors chemistry if
they have an “A” in Algebra I and Biology or Honors Biology and are enrolled in Common Core III Honors for Grade 10. Placement is
made for all Common Core II and Honors II students for this math course by the math department.
How does the work load differ in biology and biology honors?
Students enrolled in any honors course are given assignments which require higher level reading comprehension, thinking skills, good
study skills, self-motivation, and more time than those in the college prep course. Students should evaluate their time commitments to
sports, music, clubs and overall academics. Students should ask themselves: Do you have time for 30 minutes to an hour of science
homework nightly as well as for your other courses and outside commitments?
Note: From years of past experience, placement of students into honors biology against the schools recommendation has generally
not been in the student’s best interest. These students tend to receive lower grades.
Science Department
Course Sequence
and additional Information
Science Course Sequence
Course descriptions and prerequisites can be found in the “Departments” pages on
Gr. 9
Gr. 10
Gr. 11
Gr. 12
Biology/Honors Biology
Honors Earth
Physical Forensics/
Science Environmental/
(Senior only)
AP Environmental
AP Biology
(Senior only)
/ = semester course
Additional Information
All CGHS Students must take three years of science
Students in Wake County Schools have a required earth science course. Freshmen please consider this as a sophomore option if you
do not want to take ecology/environmental science or physics as a junior.
Students must take biology and either physical science or chemistry to graduate.
Four years of science with chemistry are recommended for four-year colleges.
A biology, chemistry and physics course are the best background for a career in science, engineering or medicine. Universities view
taking physics positively when selecting incoming college freshmen!
If you are considering an Engineering career, AP Chemistry followed by AP Physics would provide the best lab/math science
Sophomore science placement depending on biology and math grades. Don’t take chemistry as a sophomore unless you will be
mathematically ready for physics, AP chemistry or AP Physics as a junior
Students coming from earth science or earth science honors go either into physical science or a chemistry/chemistry honors course.
Chemistry must be taken before physics, AP physics, AP chemistry, AP biology, AP environmental, or anatomy.
Physics, AP physics, forensics/environmental issues, AP chemistry or AP environmental can be taken in gr.11 or 12.
Anatomy, and AP Biology are senior only courses.
Sophomores coming out of chemistry, who do not have the math for physics, AP Physics or an AP chemistry course, are
recommended to take forensics/environmental issues or AP environmental. It is our hope that most students take either earth science
or environmental science before graduation.
Please note carefully the pre-requisites for honors and AP courses. A solid math background and an aptitude for math are important
for chemistry, physics, honors and AP course. Waiving into a math course in order to take a science course is not
Parents please check with a student’s present science teacher if you have a question on placement

Biology Honors: Biology Honors covers each subject area of Biology