Department Philosophy

The aim of the Hunter Science Department is that all students will become informed citizens who apply scientific thinking to problems, evaluate claims on the basis of evidence, and explore the connections between science and society. We provide a rich science curriculum that supports these civic goals while serving the needs of students who pursue careers in science, technology, or medicine. We aim to inspire more of our students to study science at an advanced level and provide them with a strong foundation.

Hands-on investigations and projects are central to science education. Therefore, all core science courses include a dedicated laboratory component. Because science never stands still, we continue to adapt our curriculum and encourage all students to consider what is still unknown in the sciences.
Five years of science are required. Two years of integrated science courses promote scientific thinking during the middle school years, including a required science project each year. In the upper grades, HCHS students take one year each of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics — each with a laboratory component and a comprehensive departmental final. Physics may be taken either in junior or senior year.

Elective science courses are offered in rotation and subject to enrollment and staff availability. In addition, we currently offer Advanced Placement courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Science Research Program

Our Science Research Program supports students doing independent research in grades 10-12. These students meet in weekly seminars for the purpose of peer review and individually with a faculty advisor to assess progress toward research goals. Interested students may apply in any year, starting at the end of 9th grade. We also offer a 9th grade research program where students learn experimental methods for the purpose of doing independent projects. The application for this is in the spring of 8th grade. Participation in 9th grade research is not required for entry into our upper-term Science Research Program.

Hunter hosts two school-wide science fairs each year. Our Winter Science Fair is for students in grades 10-12 who are conducting independent research and have the opportunity to work with mentor scientists. Our Spring Science Fair is for 9th grade independent research projects and 7th and 8th grade science fair projects selected from each class. This event, held in May, is a regional fair affiliated with Broadcom Masters.

Our annual Science Research Symposium is also held in May. Upper-term research students and invited guests present formal research talks to a public audience. There is an accompanying poster session and program booklet containing abstracts of scientific papers. This event is planned and run by students in our Science Research Program.