Sciences at SVGS



SEMESTER 1: Advanced Environmental Science students learned about agriculture and growing their own plants for a long term research project.  They saw a trout starter tank, oyster spats, and tilapia aquaculture in the agriculture department for the tech school.  Then we studied mining and the waste generated from mining including hazardous wastes.  Students researched different types of mining that have been done in Virginia and presented their research to the class.  We also got to viewed how the land was changed by mining and a hurricane in St. Mary’s Wilderness. In January we will be studying electricity generation, air pollution, water pollution and environmental disasters.




SEMESTER 1: AP Chemistry is the equivalent of a first-year college chemistry course and is designed around six major themes:  atomic structure, bonding, reactions, kinetics, thermodynamics, and equilibrium.  At the beginning of the year, we took a deep dive into atomic structure and bonding theories which led to an exploration of the forces that exist between particles on an atomic scale.  We studied kinetic-molecular theory which forms the basis for understanding gas laws and collision theory which forms the basis for kinetics.  We investigated the stoichiometry of precipitation, redox, and acid-base reactions which we will revisit through the lens of equilibrium in the second semester. Although “labs” have been limited to classroom demonstrations and virtual experiences, students have been able to demonstrate a good understanding of laboratory techniques and practices in their written work.  Our second semester will focus largely on thermodynamics and equilibrium, culminating in the AP exam on May 7, 2021.


SEMESTER 1: This class has been awesome about going outside and getting in the water.  We have tested the water chemically and physically, identified the plants and animals around and within bodies of water, tested the soil, and identified macro and microorganisms.  They have studied wetlands, ponds and lakes, and rivers and streams.


SEMESTER 1: The students have worked hard learnign about atomic structure, periodic table, gases, chemical equations, molar concentration and acid/base reactions.

Second semester, we will revisit many of these topics with an environmental focus.  First semester was trying to get some vocabulary, skills and conceptual understanding that we can apply in environmental contexts..  This is material is very relevant to our lives today.  We have to talk about small concentrations that have a major impact on health.  We need to talk about how big the atmosphere is and how our habits effect the air we breathe.  It is fun and important material.


SEMESTER 1:Students in Modern Physics recently conducted group research projects focusing on Doppler Effect of Light. Some students explored how astronomists observe and measure various motion of planets and stars at extreme distances. Some others studied mechanism of laser cooling (c.f. figure to the right) that was designed based on Doppler effect, and its most recent application in the most crucial technologies including atomic clocks, GPS, quantum computers, quantum communication etc. Another project addressed Lidar technology, the most essential for self-driving vehicles.



We began the semester with a small Chemistry review to refresh some of the basics. We then studied proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Next,we moved onto the cell. The cell projects were very impressive this year. Students here are very creative when given the opportunity and some guidance. We finished the semester covering enzymes. The enzyme formal lab report was great opportunity for the students to
demonstrate their writing skills and to perform a college level lab and write-up.


SEMESTER 1: Not even a global pandemic can put a stop to the laws of physics. In this unusual semester, students met both in person and virtually to work through problems involving Newton’s Laws, projectile motion, circular motion, gravitational orbit, work, energy, and power. While masked and socially distant, students collaborated by using cannons to defend the Physics Platform from alien invaders, construct and test parachutes with Lego characters, use observed data from orbiting moons to determine the mass of Jupiter, and ultimately design their own experiment to test the validity of the Law of Conservation of Energy.



We began the semester by discussing “what is research” and how is it done. The students have learned about how to write a proper hypothesis, identify experimental variables, making tables and graphs. They did a lab equipment scavenger hunt and created/presented PowerPoints about the various pieces of lab equipment they were assigned. We then learned descriptive and inferential stats and research principles. The students have also done several labs using the lab equipment here at SVGS. Towards the end of the semester the students have been focusing on their research proposal, explaining their research project, coming up with a hypothesis, materials and methods, etc. Students were starting to develop their own research projects. This year, research topics cover a wide variety of fields in physics (from general physics, to acoustics and optics), chemistry, environmental science (including meteorology, climatology, and soil science ), and engineering (architecture and green house construction), etc. etc. There are also a couple of projects focusing on Covid-19 issues.