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The science program at MSA was designed to broaden student understanding of a wide range of scientific concepts, nurture developing critical thinking skills, and cultivate engaged and scientifically literate citizens. Students learn subject matter disciplines in the context of inquiry, technology, science in personal and social perspectives, and the history and nature of science while integrating all aspects of scientific concepts. All elements of the program are consistent with the National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy, and meet state-mandated goals as measured by the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA’s) Middle School and High School Science benchmarks.

Typical Science Progression

6th grade

7th grade

8th grade

9th grade

10th grade

11th grade

12th grade


Life Science


Earth Science


Physical Science


Biology OR AP Biology


Chemistry OR AP Chemistry


Physics OR AP Physics


Science Elective


Required Courses

Life Science: 6th Grade

Students will learn subject matter disciplines in the context of inquiry, technology, science in personal and social perspectives, and history and nature of science while integrating all aspects of biological concepts consistent with State Standards, National Science Education Standards and Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy. Rather than study a broad range of general biological topics, students will study a few fundamental scientific concepts that will best prepare them for success in AP Biology/Biological Sciences. Students will practice inquiry by using multiple processing skills – manipulation, cognitive, procedural, laboratory investigations, and by performing relevant short-term and extended activities that investigate and analyze science questions.

Earth Science: 7th Grade

Students will investigate Earth science concepts including the nature and practice of science, Earth in space, geology, meteorology, and human interactions with Earth systems. Students will demonstrate the application of critical thinking skills to science problems and develop an awareness of basic underlying concepts that relate to or explain the natural world (systems, cycles, order, change, energy and matter, cause and effect). The course includes in-class and group activities, online learning, labs and inquiry, research projects, and other assignments.

Physical Science: 8th Grade

Physical Science is foundational to high school chemistry and physics. This class presents a wide range of topics including scientific methods, measurements, matter, chemistry, motion and forces, simple machines, sound, light, and electricity. It is mathematically intense, and the students will develop a strong conceptual understanding of Physical Science by the end of the year. The first semester is an introduction to chemistry, and the second semester will concentrate on physics.

Biology: 9th Grade

Students enrolled in this course will learn about the living world at all levels of organization and the processes involved at those levels. To do this, students will work with concepts, theories, and principles of the living environment. Topics will include cells and cellular processes, genetics, evolution, diversity of life, body systems, and ecology. Laboratory activities and field investigations will be used to supplement student understanding of each of these topics. In addition to these topics, students will also learn about historical biology background, potential careers in the field of biology, and evaluate current biology-related issues.

General Chemistry: 10th Grade

Chemistry is a course in which the student will investigate chemical and physical behavior of matter using the scientific method. In laboratory the student will learn to make careful observations, seek out regularities, and attempt to provide explanations for observed behavior. The student is introduced to a fundamental understanding of chemical reactions and chemical bonding through a detailed analysis of the structure of the atom. Acid/Base Chemistry is the final unit where students will investigate both chemical and physical properties of the hydroxide and hydronium ion. These experiences are centered around laboratory activities with much emphasis being placed on process, observation, and evaluation of observation.

General Physics: 11th Grade

This course provides a conceptually-based exposure to the fundamental principles and processes of the physical world. Topics include basic concepts of mechanics, fluids, electricity and magnetism, sound, and light. Laboratory experiments and computer-based exercises enhance and consolidate the understanding of basic physical principles and applications. Prior to taking this class students should have 1 year of algebra and a basic understanding of trigonometry.

Enrichment & Elective Courses

Engineering Design: 8th Grade (semester course, offered S1 and S2)

Students will investigate engineering design concepts through project-based (STEM) activities. Past projects have explored the fields of industrial design, biomechanical engineering, forensics, aeronautics, civil and mechanical engineering, computer aided design (CAD), and 3D printing. Students will participate in guided investigations and open-ended problem solving activities, learn how to document their work, and communicate their solutions to others.

There will be a lab fee of $15 for this course.

Anatomy & Physiology: 10th-12th Grade

Prerequisites: Biology or AP Biology must be taken prior to enrolling in this course.

This course will focus on the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Topics will include each of the body systems and will focus on the relationship between the physiological and anatomical features of each. Activities that may be done in class include labs, identifying structures on models, and doing computer simulations.

A Taste of Science: High School (semester course)

Have you ever wondered what makes bread rise? Why is red velvet cake red? Now is your chance to find out! In this course, we will explore the science behind cooking and food ingredients. You will explore the budding field of "molecular gastronomy" and become familiar with some techniques used in this field. For example, we will bake red velvet cake and investigate the secret behind the red color. You will also turn yogurt into "ravioli", create rock candy, make ice cream and marshmallows from scratch while learning the science behind these food items.! Time permitting at the end of the semester, you will have the opportunity to delve into the science of climate change and become a detective in the world of forensic science with opportunities to investigate blood-spatter patterns and bullet trajectories!

There will be a lab fee of $20 for this course.

Introduction to Engineering (Engineering I): High School (semester 1)

This course will focus on basic principles of engineering including drafting, CAD, programming, and the engineering design process. The class will be project intensive as students work their way through the engineering process from beginning to end to find creative solutions to problems. Topics include: mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering with continual themes of environmental responsibility, engineering in the workplace, cost analysis, and testing of designed solutions.

Advanced Engineering (Engineering II): High School (semester 2)

This course will continue to focus on basic principles of engineering including CAD, programming, and the engineering design process. The class will be project intensive as students work their way through the engineering process from beginning to end to find creative solutions to problems. Topics include: topics covered in Engineering I, and more advanced topics in CAD, programming, electronics and 3D printing.

Bioengineering : High School (semester 2)

In Bio engineering students will explore how the environmental impact has become an increasingly important concern during the process of engineering any new technology. This course covers design, development and construction of working prototypes to address environmentally friendly alternatives to issues that are addressed in society. This class address how to solve sustainability challenges without causing harm to the environment or human health. Examples of project design challenges: sustainable household water and energy use, upcycled household waste, reductions in food waste, and greener alternative to food production and green transpiration.

Before developing these projects, students will conduct a cost benefit analysis to determine if it is truly feasible and beneficial in meeting the needs and demands of society.

There will be a lab fee of $25 for this course.

AP Biology: 9th-12th Grade (can be taken instead of Biology or as an elective)

Prerequisites: Current 8th going into 9th grade: An A- or higher in Physical Science; For students taking the course as an elective (10th-12th grade): B+ or higher in Biology.

This course can be taken in place of Biology for the graduation requirement or as an elective for students in 10th-12th grade. This course is meant to be the equivalent of a two-semester college introductory biology course that covers topics of the living world at all levels of organization. Students should expect a higher workload than most classes, with 1-2 hours a night being spent on the course. Best success is seen in self-driven students with strong application skills. Students will have the opportunity to take the AP Exam in May for potential college credit.

AP Chemistry: 10th-12th Grade (can be taken instead of Chemistry or as an elective) Prerequisites: 10th-12th Grade (can be taken instead of Chemistry or as an elective) Prerequisites: A- or better in AP Biology (9th grade) or B or better in General Chemistry. Summer homework also required.

This course can be taken in place of Chemistry for the graduation requirement or as an elective for students in 11th-12th grade. The AP Chemistry course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first college year, and uses a college level text signed out to enrolled students at the end of the prior school year. This course will prepare students for success on the May AP Chemistry Test. In addition to content work, students will complete many labs recommended by the College Board and use a Lab Notebook to submit the lab write ups for grading. This course is similar to any rigorous college science class where for every one (1) hour spent in class, a student should expect to spend 2 additional hours for homework, listening to podcasts and taking notes, and preparing/writing up labs in lab notebook.

Students must complete a self-paced summer preparation program consisting of videos, graded online homework covering chapters 1–3 and most of chapter 4 in the chemistry book. No late summer work will be allowed as we begin the content on Chapter 4 in September. The online summer homework is due before the beginning of school and may be started mid-June. Students must also pass a test on the summer homework the first week or two of school to stay in the class.

(Note-It is highly recommended that students take Chemistry before this course as AP Chemistry is considered to be a two-year class with general chemistry taken as a prerequisite. Students will be more successful and this will help ease the learning curve for the summer homework and the coursework in general.)

AP Physics: 11th -12th Grade (can be taken instead of Physics or as an elective)

Prerequisites: B+ or higher in Algebra III and B+ or higher in AP Chemistry or Chemistry.

AP Physics 1 is an algebra-based, introductory college-level physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of Physics through inquiry-based investigations as they explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics (including rotational motion); work, energy, and power; simple harmonic motion, mechanical waves and sound; and electrostatics and DC circuits. The course is based on six Big Ideas, which encompass core scientific principles, theories, and processes that cut across traditional boundaries and provide a broad way of thinking about the physical world.

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Math and Science Academy
8430 Woodbury Crossing
Woodbury MN 55125
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