Chair:  Ms. Fawzia Qazi

Faculty List »

Department Requirements: Six semesters



Department Overview

The aim of Loyola High School’s Science Department is for all of our students to acquire the knowledge and skills of empirical inquiry so that they may better understand and live responsibly in the world God creates.


As Jesuit educators the Loyola Science Department is a component of the Ignatian vision that guides young people in the realization of their dignity, talents, and personal uniqueness. The Department seeks to challenge every student to become an ideal Graduate at Graduation: a graduate who is 1) Open to Growth; 2) Intellectually Distinguished; 3) Religious; 4) Loving; 5) Committed to Justice; and 6) Developing as a Leader. To do this, we challenge our students to engage their minds and nurture their ability to wonder and reason; and to apply scientific methods to reveal truth and beauty in nature while being good stewards.

The Loyola Science Department incorporates the goals of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS 2013 -  Practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas make up the framework of the NGSS.

Dimension 1: Practices

Practices describe behaviors that scientists engage in as they investigate and build models and theories about the natural world and the key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build models and systems.

Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts

Crosscutting concepts have application across all domains of science. As such, they are a way of linking the different domains of science. They include: Patterns, similarity, and diversity; Cause and effect; Scale, proportion and quantity; Systems and system models; Energy and matter; Structure and function; Stability and change.

Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas

To be considered core, the ideas should meet at least two of the following criteria and ideally all four:

  • ·         Have broad importance across multiple  sciences or engineering disciplines or be a                   key organizing concept of a single discipline; 
  • ·         Provide a key tool for understanding or investigating more complex ideas and solving problems;
  • ·         Relate to the interests and life experiences of students or be connected to societal or personal concerns that require scientific or technological knowledge;
  • ·         Be teachable and learnable over multiple grades at increasing levels of depth and sophistication.

Disciplinary ideas are grouped in four domains: the physical sciences; the life sciences; the earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology and applications of science.




Physics 9

2 semesters    Open to all freshmen

Physics 9 is an introductory, year-long laboratory course in which students study kinematics, dynamics, energy, momentum, waves and optics, and electricity. Physics is the study of the fundamental laws of nature and the search to understand the interactions between matter and energy. This course will examine concepts of mechanics; kinematics (motion) and dynamics (force); the laws of conservation of energy and linear momentum; waves; electricity; light; through an inquiry-based curriculum, facilitation of the teacher, projects, cooperative learning, the use of demonstrations, computer simulations, laboratory activities and lectures. The course content is aligned to the fundamental principles of Algebra I.  Laboratory work, in conjunction with the appropriate mathematical reasoning, is an important component used to aid the students’ understanding of the physical world.

Mr. CacnioMr. Jackson, Mr. Lew,  Mr. Uy



2 semesters    Open to all sophomores

Prerequisite: physics recommended General Chemistry is a year-long inquiry-based laboratory course. Topics include: atomic and molecular structure, stoichiometry, gases, chemical reactions, chemical bonding, liquids and solids, solutions, equilibrium, acids and bases, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. In addition to building a strong foundation of chemical concepts, this course will allow students to transfer their learning to complete projects connecting the chemistry they learn to the world around them. This course provides a fundamental foundation of the knowledge required for further study in the sciences.

Mr. Gorr, Mr. Hairston, Mr. Truong


Chemistry - Honors

2 semesters    Open to selected sophomores

Prerequisite: high achievement in math and recommendation of science department A good understanding of chemistry is essential in our modern, technology-driven society. As the “central science,” chemistry relates to all other fields of science and engineering. This course is fast- paced, rigorous introduction to the study of matter and how it behaves. Topics include atomic theory, inorganic nomenclature, chemical reactions and stoichiometry, quantum mechanics, chemical bonding, gases, phases, thermodynamics, kinetics and catalysis, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry, and a brief introduction to organic molecules and their structure. The course includes lecture-based instruction, demonstrations, and group activities; concurrent laboratory experiments are designed to reinforce the concepts discussed in class. Another key goal of the course is the development of sophisticated critical thinking and problem-solving skills, accompanied by training in how to think scientifically and correlate experimental results with reality. Note: this class is mathematically intensive, and students who do not have an excellent grasp of algebra will encounter significant difficulties.

Mr. Hairston, Ms. Qazi


Chemistry - Advanced Placement

2 semesters    Open to selected juniors and seniors

Prerequisites: successful completion of a year of chemistry; high achievement in math and recommendation of science department. As a second-year course AP Chemistry is designed for students who seek a deeper understanding of the structure of matter and how this correlates to its behavior. All of the major topics discussed in Honors Chemistry are revisited in more detail, with an emphasis on the theory behind the general results presented in the first–year chemistry course. This course is the equivalent of a one–year college–level introductory chemistry course and it culminates in the taking of the College BoardTM Advanced Placement Chemistry Exam in May.

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2 semesters    Open to juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: chemistry Biology is the scientific investigation of living things. All creatures great and small in the diversity of life are studied: plants, animals, fungi and microbes. Students investigate the living world from four major perspectives: 1) the molecular level where all life begins; 2) genetics and how genes function and direct the actions of life; 3) interactions and interconnectedness and how humans might use, live with and sustain life on our planet; and 4) the creation and change of living things over time. Students will organize, analyze, discuss and publish their scientific work in the ways that practicing scientists do. Students will also discuss the relevance of these experiences and ideas to their life and those in our society.

Mr. MenghinMr. Picard , Mr. Uy


Biology - Advanced Placement

2 semesters     Open to selected juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: chemistry, high achievement in science, math and recommendation of science department AP Biology is a scientific study of life. Students will explore the structure and scale of life, the diversity and unity of biological organisms and systems, evolution, the mechanisms of molecular genetics and heredity, major functional systems in plants and animals, use of energy by organisms and ecology. Lab activities include molecular analysis of DNA fragments through electrophoresis, separation of chlorophyll pigments, the study of habitat selection of brine shrimp, and effects of dissolved oxygen and aquatic productivity. It will prepare students for the national AP test for college credit.

Mr. MenghinMr. Picard


Environmental Science - Advanced Placement

2 semesters    Open to selected juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: high achievement in science and recommendation of science department Advanced Placement Environmental Science is an integrated science course taught at the first-year college level. This class requires dedicated, highly self-motivated learners who have the ability and study skills to work independently. The AP Environmental Science course is designed to be the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. Unlike most other college introductory-level science courses, environmental science is offered from a wide variety of departments including geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry and geography. The APES course is a rigorous science course that emphasizes scientific principles and analysis while also touching on the sociological and political perspectives. The course is intended to enable students to undertake, as first year-college students, a more advanced study of topics in environmental science or alternatively, to fulfill a basic requirement for a laboratory science and thus free time for taking other courses. 

Mr. Gorr


Astronomy - Honors

2 semesters    Open to selected Seniors

Honors Astronomy is a college-level laboratory course that emphasizes a broad range of astronomical, astrophysical and cosmological processes.   By combining inquiry-based labs, on-line resources and real-time astronomical observations with classroom discussions, students explore both well-established and newly-revealed discoveries of the cosmos.  Major areas of study include the complex motions of the Earth, gravitation, the nature of light, optics and telescopes, manned and un-manned space missions, terrestrial and Jovian planets, asteroids and comets and meteoroids, the sun and stars, stellar evolution, galaxies, the Big Bang and early universe, extrasolar planets, extraterrestrial life, and the future of the universe.  By the end of the course, students will be able to describe the relevance of astronomy, explain its major tenets, articulately expound the validity of accepted astronomical theories, distinguish between science and pseudoscience, critically analyze astronomic data and studies, and demonstrate a mastery of scientific inquiry.   Students must have successfully completed at least two years of science (Honors Chemistry and another AP science preferred) and three years of math (including at least Honors Algebra 2 or Honors Pre-Calculus) to register for honors astronomy.

 Mr. Aristov


Physics 12

2 semesters    Open to seniors

Prerequisite: two years of science Physics is an introductory laboratory course in which students study kinematics, dynamics, energy, momentum, waves and optics, and electricity. Physics is the study of the fundamental laws of nature and the search to understand the interactions between matter and energy. This course will examine concepts of mechanics; kinematics (motion) and dynamics (force); the laws of conservation of energy and linear momentum; waves; electricity; light; through an inquiry-based curriculum, facilitation of the teacher, projects, cooperative learning, the use of demonstrations, computer simulations, laboratory activities and lectures.

Mr. Gatfield


AP Physics 1 and C

2 semesters    Open to selected seniors

Prerequisite: high achievement in science, math and recommendation of science department.  AP Physics 1 and C are introductory, college level courses in the scientific study of Physics. Students will explore the concepts of motion, inertia, conservation of energy, conservation of linear and angular momentum, simple harmonic motion, and Newton’s laws of gravitation, electric fields, electric circuits, and magnetic fields. Lab activities include the determination of the acceleration due to gravity, the study of linear and angular momentum, collisions in one dimension, and simple harmonic motion, and electric circuit analysis. For AP Physics C, students must be concurrently enrolled in either Calculus, AP Calculus AB, or AP Calculus BC.  For AP Physics 1, students must be concurrently enrolled in at least pre-calculus.  Students are admitted to the course only with the permission of the instructor.

Mr. Cacnio, Mr. Lew



2 semesters    Open to seniors

Oceanography is a yearlong laboratory course that explores the world’s oceans. The class investigates many aspects within the ocean including ocean creation, marine provinces, physical properties of water and seawater, waves, tides, and marine biology. There are many laboratory activities incorporated throughout the year. Precise lab work is critical, and will count for a major portion of the overall grade.

Mr. Gatfield


Anatomy & Physiology

2 semesters    Open to seniors

Instruction in the Anatomy & Physiology is based primarily on the "systems" approach. This approach places emphasis upon an entire organ system of the body, and it proposes to integrate the learning of both the anatomy and physiology of that system. This method of presentation, while it may provide a greater challenge to the instructor, will retain the attention of the student longer, and provide a more concomitant learning atmosphere. There will be tremendous emphasis placed upon visual aid and representation throughout all aspects of the course. Also, through a combination of hands-on laboratory exercises, class discussion, current events, and projects relating to the human body and medicine, they will be challenged to look at the function and dysfunction of the human body from a myriad of sources. Students will gain a greater appreciation of the complexity and beauty of the human body.

Mr. Utley



1 semester     Open to Seniors

In this project-based course students will use ROBOTC, NXT and LEGO TETRIX hardware to plan, construct and program robotic devices capable of compass navigation, infrared detection, and various motion sensors. Students will utilize inquiry, guided research, problem solving, and teamwork as they investigate how robots make decisions to navigate through their environment. Students are introduced to C-programming language through the merging of science and engineering with robotics. Students will continue their investigations that explore the fundamentals of programming robots to explore movement, sensor feedback, and variables. In addition, students will complete data logging investigations of motion, heat, sound, light, and color. The semester will end with a student-directed project that involves the application of scientific techniques to real-world engineering problems.

 Mr. Uy


Science TA's

Students will be assisting the science teachers in preparing lab experiments, correcting papers, helping students who are having difficulty, etc. Interested students must receive approval from both the teacher for whom they are interested in working and the department chair before registering for a Teacher Aide position.

Ms. Qazi