Experimental Sciences


UAIS strongly emphasizes the experimental sciences as part of a well-rounded curriculum during students' four years at the Academy. Students will earn anywhere between 5-7 high school credits of science depending on their 11th and 12th grade course selections.  All students will take Physics during 9th grade and both Biology and Chemistry in 10th grade to establish a strong background in terminology, laboratory experiences, and basic concepts. 

Using those experiences and their preferences, students may then select one or two IB classes among the following:


IB Physics HL/SL

IB Chemistry HL/SL

IB Biology HL/SL

IB Nature of Science SL (cannot be taken with another IB science)

Course Descriptions:


PHYSICS (1 credit; 9th grade required)

Physics deals with the natural world of matter and energy and the nature of science.  Its main purpose is to prepare students for the IB Physics course while giving students a deep conceptual understanding of classical mechanics.  Conceptual knowledge of physics and problem-solving will be assessed with Socratic discussion, labs, and tests.

 BIOLOGY (1 credit; 10th grade required)

This class will provide students with a background necessary not only for IB Biology but also college-level biology.  The course is designed around lab experiences, hands-on activities, and scientific inquiry to help students master basic biology concepts.

 CHEMISTRY (1 credit; 10th grade required)

This class deals with the composition of materials and changes they may undergo.  The concepts, laws, and theories explaining the properties and behaviro of elements and compounds are discussed.  Lab experiences are essential to the course. By its end, students should be able to qualitatively and quantitatively express their chemistry knowledge.

 IB BIOLOGY HL/SL 1 & 2 (2 credits; 11-12th grades)

Biology covers the core topics as outlined by the IBO and gives adequate time to them. Options have been chosen based on the personal experience and expertise of the instructor as well as the resources that are available to the school. Upon completion of the IB Biology course, students will have a thorough understanding of scientific facts and concepts, methods, techniques, and the appropriate vocabulary that go along with biology, and they will master the methods for accurately researching and presenting scientific information. The ability to apply these skills will come from instructional practices that assist students in the discovery, construction, analysis, and evaluation of scientific information. Such a classroom will foster the development of personal skills and cooperative responsibility of laboratory based scientific investigations and problem solving. These skills will be performed and sharpened with the highest level of precision and safety.

Students enrolled in the IB Biology course will be encouraged to be open minded, internationally oriented thinkers who seek to build their knowledge base by studying science through the eyes of a person who fully understands the scientific method and the relationships between the various scientific disciplines. Such students will use many different types of technology (the internet, laptop computers, hand-held data loggers, etc.) to familiarize them with its use in facilitating data collection in both guided and open-ended experiments. These tools will assist students in becoming reflective thinkers who are aware of the moral, ethical, social, economic, and environmental implications these tools uncover. Moreover, students will develop the necessary skills to communicate their results to others.  Biology students also engage in a group 4 project, an interdisciplinary activity in which all Diploma Program science students must participate. The intention is that students from the different group 4 subjects analyze a common topic or problem. The exercise should be a collaborative experience where the emphasis is on the processes involved in scientific investigation rather than the products of such investigation.

IB CHEMISTRY HL/SL 1 & 2 (2 credits; 11-12th grades)

Co-requisite for Chemistry HL: Math SL or higher
Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is called the central science, as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems. Apart from being a subject worthy of study in its own right, chemistry is a prerequisite for many other courses in higher education, such as medicine, biological science and environmental science, and serves as useful preparation for employment. The Diploma Program chemistry course includes the essential principles of the subject but also, through selection of options, allows teachers some flexibility to tailor the course to meet the needs of their students. The course is available at both standard level (SL) and higher level (HL), and therefore accommodates students who wish to study science in higher education and those who do not.

The chemistry course covers quantitative chemistry, atomic structure, periodicity, bonding, energetic, kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases, oxidation and reduction, organic chemistry, measurement and data structure, and covers multiple additional options in modern analytical chemistry, human biochemistry, chemistry in industry and technology, medicines and drugs, environmental chemistry, food chemistry and/or further organic chemistry. Both SL and HL students must complete two of these options but the depth and time allocated to the options varies based on level. 

IB PHYSICS HL/SL 1 & 2 (2 credits; 11-12th grades)

Co-requisite for IB Physics HL: Math SL or higher.

The focus of this course is to engage the students in critical thinking and problem solving. Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself, from the very smallest particles—quarks (perhaps 10–17 m in size), which may be truly fundamental—to the vast distances between galaxies (1024 m). Physics is a perfect tool for challenging the students to examine new concepts and develop new thinking strategies. The study of physics includes the use of all of the educational tools the students have acquired. They will be required to read, comprehend, interpret, and apply this new knowledge to the understanding of the world around them. These applications will be both conceptual and mathematical. Physics is one of the sciences used to address many of the global issues facing humanity. Understanding and applying the principles of physics will guide the students to more viable solutions. They will gain skills and confidence toward this goal thorough practice with manageable problems in the physics laboratory. The students will demonstrate their success with physics through presentations of research and laboratory results. They will submit written summaries of their investigations. Continually embedded assessments of student progress through discussions concerning global issues and how physics is being used to alleviate them.

The IB Physics course will cover physics and physical measurement, mechanics, thermal physics, oscillations and waves, electric currents, fields and forces, atomic and nuclear physics, energy, power, and climate change, and two optional subjects from the following sight and wave phenomena, quantum physics and nuclear physics, digital technology, relativity and particle physics, astrophysics, communications, and electromagnetic waves. HL students can also choose from relativity, medical physics and particle physics.  

 IB Nature of Science SL (2.0 credits; 11-12th grades)

This non-laboratory course samples curriculum from biology, physics, and chemistry to cover a variety of topics including the universe, evolution, the impact of science and its role in transport and communications, food security, and medicine.  This course is intended for students not pursuing a science track for their post-secondary plans.  It may not be taken in conjunction with any other IB science course during junior and senior year.