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English Graduation Requirement: 4 credits

and completion of the Literature Keystone Exam

View complete graduation requirements »

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English Core

1 credit | Grade 9

Prerequisite: Language Arts 8.

In English 9, students will:

  • Meet Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing and Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content at the ninth grade level
  • Examine many types of literature and analyze, evaluate, and reflect on common literary themes and elements within each selection
  • Review and expand upon grammar and vocabulary skills
  • Explore the writing process through full length essays, several short answer writing responses and other exercises throughout the year
  • Produce a research paper, focusing on avoiding plagiarism, finding effective sources, developing topic sentences with support and developing a thesis
  • Build independent thinking skills through guided instruction
1 credit | Grade 9

Prerequisite: Advanced Language Arts 8.

In College-Prep English 9, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing and Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content at the ninth grade level
  • Read and respond to a variety of literary genres including novels, drama, poetry and nonfiction
  • Write in a variety of genres including persuasive, narrative, and poetry
  • Learn grammar and vocabulary at a ninth grade level
  • Focus on the basics of the Five-Paragraph Persuasive Essay
  • Build independent thinking skills
  • Produce a research paper, focusing on avoiding plagiarism, finding effective sources, developing topic sentences with support and developing a thesis
  • Build independent thinking skills through guided instruction

Students entering the College-Prep English 9 course are expected to possess proficient reading and writing skills. Students will examine up to one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of in-depth study at a moderately challenging pace. Students will also explore the beginning stages of the research process with a refined focus on avoiding plagiarism, finding sources, developing a topic sentence with support and developing a thesis. Students will be encouraged to evaluate and analyze literary works and to gain independent thinking skills through guided instruction.

1 credit | Grade 9

Prerequisite: Advanced Language Arts 8.

In Honors English 9, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing and Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and respond to a variety of literary genres including novels, drama, poetry and nonfiction
  • Write in a variety of genres including persuasive, narrative, and poetry
  • Learn advanced grammar and vocabulary
  • Refine the skills involved in writing the five-paragraph persuasive essay
  • Write advanced literary analyses
  • Provide personal responses to literature based on already-acquired knowledge
  • Refine independent thinking skills
  • Learn the research process

Students entering the Honors English 9 course are expected to possess advanced reading and writing skills and have a passion for these activities. In this class, students will be challenged to display their abilities to evaluate, analyze, and apply acquired knowledge and research through the extensive study and use of primary and secondary sources. Students will exhibit mastery of the beginning stages of the research process with a focus on avoiding plagiarism, finding sources, developing a topic sentence with support and developing a thesis. Students will also utilize higher-level thinking skills while being encouraged to think independently. In this course, students will examine a minimum of one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of extensive study at an accelerated pace.

1 credit | Grade 10

Prerequisite: Successful Completion of English 9.

In this course, students will:

  • Meet Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content at the tenth grade level
  • Review and expand upon grammar and vocabulary skills
  • Continue the study of the research process with specific focus on using in-text citations, supporting details/examples, developing a strong introduction and conclusion, and using effective sources
  • Examine many types of literature, with a focus on world literature, and review common literary themes and elements within each selection
  • Revisit the writing process through full length essays, several short answer writing responses and other exercises throughout the year
  • Building independent thinking skills through guided instruction

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Literature Keystone Exam.

1 credit | Grade 10

Prerequisite: College-Prep Lit and Comp 9 or Lit and Comp 9 with teacher recommendation.

In College-Prep English 10, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and respond to a variety of literary genres with a world literature focus, including novels, drama, poetry and nonfiction
  • Write in a variety of genres including persuasive, narrative, and poetry
  • Learn grammar and vocabulary at a tenth grade level
  • Focus on the basics of the five-paragraph persuasive essay
  • Build independent thinking skills
  • Learn the research process

Students entering the College-Prep English 10 course are expected to possess proficient reading and writing skills. Students will examine up to one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of in-depth study at a moderately challenging pace. Students will continue study of the research process with a refined focus on using in-text citations, supporting details/examples and developing a strong introduction and conclusion. Students will be encouraged to evaluate and analyze literary works and to gain independent thinking skills through guided instruction.

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Literature Keystone Exam.

Honors English 10
1 credit | Grade 10

Prerequisite: Honors or College-Prep English 9.

In this Honors English 10, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and respond to a variety of literary genres with a world literature focus, including novels, drama, poetry and nonfiction
  • Write in a variety of genres including persuasive, narrative, and poetry
  • Learn advanced grammar and vocabulary
  • Refine the skills involved in writing the five-paragraph persuasive essay
  • Write advanced literary analyses
  • Provide personal responses to literature based on already-acquired knowledge
  • Refine independent thinking skills
  • Learn the research process

Students entering the Honors English 10 course are expected to possess advanced reading and writing skills and have a passion for these activities. In this class, students will be challenged to display their abilities to evaluate, analyze, and apply acquired knowledge and research through the extensive study and use of primary and secondary sources. Students will continue study of the research process exhibiting mastery of skills that require using in-text citations, supporting details/examples and developing a strong introduction and conclusion. Students will also utilize higher-level thinking skills while being encouraged to think independently. In this course, students will examine a minimum of one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of extensive study at an accelerated pace.

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Literature Keystone Exam.

1 credit | Grade 11

Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 10.

In English 11, students will:

  • Meet Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content at the eleventh grade level
  • Read and analyze fiction and non fiction works across genres and time periods in American Literature
  • Identify and apply literary elements and devices
  • Recognize the influence of prominent American authors, such as Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and Emily Dickinson
  • Develop effective writing and research skills by creating full length essays, several short answer writing responses, and honing in on the five-paragraph persuasive essay with MLA formatting
  • Build vocabulary and literacy skills
  • Enhance critical thinking skills through guided instruction
1 credit | Grade 11

Prerequisite: College-Prep Lit and Composition 10 or Lit and Comp 10 with teacher recommendation.

In College-Prep English 11, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and analyze fiction and non fiction works across genres and time periods in American Literature
  • Identify and apply literary elements and devices
  • Recognize the influence of prominent American authors
  • Develop effective writing and research skills, honing in on the multi-paragraph essay
  • Build vocabulary and literacy skills

Students entering the College-Prep English course are expected to possess proficient reading and writing skills. Students will examine up to one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of in-depth study at a moderately challenging pace. Students will review the research process, producing an multi-paragraph essay with a refined focus on MLA formatting. Students will be encouraged to evaluate and analyze literary works and to gain independent thinking skills through guided instruction.

1 credit | Grade 11

Prerequisite: Honors or College-Prep English 10.

In Honors English 11, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and analyze a variety of works from all time periods of American Literature, both fiction and non-fiction, including drama, poetry, essay and short story
  • Read works by famous American authors
  • Understand how the history of the time periods influenced the writers and the literature
  • Explore and create various forms of writing, including dramatic scene, persuasive essay, cause and effect essay and non-fiction memoir utilizing the Writing Process and, when appropriate,
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) style and research skills

Students entering the Honors American Literature course are expected to possess advanced reading and writing skills and have a passion for these activities as well. In this class, students will be challenged to display their abilities to evaluate, analyze, and apply acquired knowledge and research through the extensive study and use of primary and secondary sources. Students will review the research process, producing an eight-paragraph essay and exhibiting mastery of MLA formatting. Students will also utilize higher-level thinking skills while being encouraged to think independently. Students will examine a minimum of one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of extensive study at an accelerated pace.

1 credit | Grade 12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 11.

In English 12, students will:

  • Meet Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content at the twelfth grade level
  • Examine works from different literary genres in all periods of British literature and will reflect on literary themes and elements within each selection
  • Write full length essays and short answer responses in a variety of genres including persuasive, narratives and fiction
  • Compare/contrast novels with similar themes and cultural representations
  • Review and expand upon grammar and vocabulary skills
  • Learn how to identify effective sources while participating in the research process
  • Continue to study the research process, producing a five-paragraph essay and audio presentation to accompany the research
  • Build independent thinking skills through guided instruction
1 credit | Grade 12

Prerequisite: College-Prep English 11 or English 11 with teacher recommendation.

In College-Prep English 12, students will:

  • Meet and exceed PA State Standards and Assessment Anchors in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and analyze a variety of works from all time periods of British Literature, both fiction and non-fiction, including poetry, drama, speeches, memoirs, novels, short stories, essays and works of non-fiction.
  • Write in a variety of modes including narrative, expository, and informative
  • Further develop grammar skills through writing assignments
  • Further develop vocabulary skills by focusing on Latin and Greek roots

Students entering the College-Prep British Literature course are expected to possess proficient reading and writing skills. Students will examine up to one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of in-depth study at a moderately challenging pace. Students will continue to study the research process, producing a multi-paragraph essay and audio presentation to accompany the research. Students will be encouraged to evaluate and analyze literary works and to gain independent thinking skills through guided instruction.

1 credit | Grade 12

Prerequisite: Honors or College-Prep English 11.

In Honors English 12, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Composition Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and analyze a variety of works from all time periods of British Literature, both fiction and non-fiction, including poetry, drama, speeches, memoirs, novels, short stories, essays and works of non-fiction
  • Write in a variety of genres including a book review essay, literary analysis essays, application essay, creative writing pieces and research paper utilizing the writing process
  • Understand how the history of the time periods influenced the writers and the literature
  • Further develop grammar skills through writing assignments
  • Develop vocabulary through systematic study using the Vocabulary from Latin and Greek Roots series and through the study of literature
  • Utilize and refine Modern Language Association (MLA) style and research skills

Students entering the Honors British Literature course are expected to possess advanced reading and writing skills and have a passion for these activities as well. In this class, students will be challenged to display their abilities to evaluate, analyze, and apply acquired knowledge and research through the extensive study and use of primary and secondary sources. Students will exhibit mastery of the research process, producing an eight-paragraph essay and audio presentation to accompany the research. Students will also utilize higher-level thinking skills while being encouraged to think independently. Students will examine a minimum of one major work per marking period and will follow a pattern of extensive study at an accelerated pace.

1 credit | Grade 12

Prerequisite: Honors English 11.

This course will be offered virtually through the PALCS University Scholars Program. Please contact your guidance counselor for more information.

In AP Literature and Composition, students will:

  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing, Pennsylvania Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content and English Literature Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content
  • Read and analyze a variety of works from various time periods, both fiction and non-fiction, including poetry, drama, speeches, memoirs, novels, short stories, essays and works of non-fiction
  • Write in a variety of genres including a book review essay, literary analysis essays, application essay, creative writing pieces and research paper utilizing the writing process
  • Understand how the history of the time periods influenced the writers and the literature
  • Further develop grammar skills through writing assignments
  • Utilize and refine Modern Language Association (MLA) style and research skills

In this course students will prepare for the College Board AP Literature and Composition exam by examining and analyzing works of literature from various genres and periods. The focus of study will be on the literary merit of these works and how they have impacted society. The readings and assignments in this course build upon the material and concepts taught in previous high school English classes. The close study of literature is accompanied by numerous written interpretations and evaluations. Students will complete short writing assignments on a daily basis and larger essays on a bi-weekly schedule. The writing assignments will be closely related to the readings that occur in this class. Students should expect to spend sixty to ninety minutes each school day working on the material in this class due to the intensity of the reading and writing assignments.

English Electives

1 credit | Grades 9-12

Prerequisite: Teacher Approval of Application.

In Journalism, students will:

  • Learn the history of the American media
  • Develop, write and edit the PALCS newspaper The Talon
  • Follow the ethical and legal responsibilities of journalists
  • Gather, organize and write news for high school newspapers utilizing Associated Press style
  • Write features, columns, reviews and sports stories
  • Follow strict publishing deadlines
  • Design and layout pages for both print and online newspapers
  • Learn how to incorporate photography and graphics
  • Use industry-standard software and hardware to produce and deliver news

Please note that this course has mandatory chats twice a week and strict deadlines. This course also requires an application, available here.

Students in this course will learn to write journalistically and will be responsible for writing, designing and editing the school newspaper. This course is specifically for students who are interested in learning a new way of writing, can handle constructive criticism and who are looking for ways to expand their collaborative and leadership skills. This is not a creative writing course. Instead, students will learn news, feature and sports writing styles.

½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 10-12

Public Speaking is a college-level course that focuses on helping students develop effective public speaking skills in small groups, large groups, and professional environments. Instruction includes such topics as speaker anxiety, active listening, and analyzing the audience. Moreover, the process of writing and delivering various types of speeches is discussed. Examples of students and notable leaders delivering speeches are included.

½ credit | Spring | Grades 11-12

In Children’s Literature Study, students will:

  • Meet Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing
  • Read and respond to a variety of literary genres within children’s literature including fiction, poetry and nonfiction
  • Explore strategies for evaluating children’s literature
  • Research and discuss the importance of reading to young children
  • Practice writing children’s literature
½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 11-12

In Film as Literature, students will:

  • Learn the basic vocabulary and terms applicable to film production and analysis
  • View films from different genres and eras of film production
  • Discuss and respond to each film based on applicable themes, cinematic techniques, quality of moviemaking and other relevant criteria
  • Write analytically about the different elements of the films based on class discussion and activities

Note that this course has a capacity of twenty students and will close when the capacity is reached.

½ credit | Fall | Grades 11-12

By examining the media around us, students will consider representations of gender. Students will analyze and critique film, advertising, pop music, and classic and young adult literature to consider the role of media in our lives and how it portrays men and women. Throughout the course, students will be able to debate, think critically, and engage in popular discourse.

½ credit | Spring | Grades 9-12

Gothic Literature is a one-semester course with  lessons that analyze the conventions, elements, themes, and other characteristics of Gothic literature. Works such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula will be studied, along with authors such as Edgar Allan Poe. This course covers subject areas such as morality and spirituality in Gothic poetry, dual personalities, Gothic conventions across time, and more.

½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 11-12

In Mythology, students will:

  • Study Greek, Roman and world myths and their common characteristics
  • Read and respond to a variety of literary genres including drama, poetry, and short stories
  • Provide personal responses to literature based on already-acquired knowledge
  • Refine independent thinking skills
  • Meet and exceed Pennsylvania State Standards in Reading and Writing

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Define the term “myth” and explain its role in narrative literature
  • Demonstrate progress in listening skills through activities based on myths
  • Identify and examine mythological characters and their qualities, as well as identify recurrent themes in mythology
½ credit | Spring | Grades 11-12

In Shakespeare Study, students will:

  • Understand and appreciate Shakespeare’s contribution to the dramatic and literary arts
  • Understand and appreciate Shakespeare’s plays within the context of both the times and Elizabethan theatre
  • Appreciate and evaluate plays on both a literary and auditory basis
  • Read and evaluate different dramatic genres
  • Identify dramatic structure and apply to plays
  • Identify elements of History, Tragedy and Comedy plays
  • Identify elements of Romances
  • Identify elements of “Problem Plays”
½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 11-12

In Writing Workshop, students will:

  • Be exposed to the real world application of writing and focus on the skills needed to communicate ideas
  • Develop individual voice and practice eliminating common usage errors
  • Engage in writing through a variety of creative ways
  • Learn how to control tone, attitude, and establish an awareness of audience in their writing, as well as, experiment with figurative language

Each unit calls for a final paper or project. To finalize Unit 1, students will create a presentation that demonstrates skills needed for effective communication. After Unit 2, students choose between different prompts and write a persuasive piece of writing that demonstrates awareness of audience, tone and attitude. Each prompt will have a different objective based on the student interests and opinions. This writing piece will be no more than 500-700 words. To conclude the course students will compile a showcase portfolio that displays reflections, self-evaluations and revised writing pieces from the Self Discovery and Poetic Expressions unit.

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to successfully write in multiple genres showing comprehension and application of the various elements of writing and communication in accordance with the Pennsylvania State Standards in Writing.

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PALCS High School Math Course Progression
show Mathematics course offerings

Mathematics Graduation Requirement: 3 consecutive credits

including 1 credit of Algebra 1 and completion of the Algebra Keystone Exam

View complete graduation requirements »

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Math Core

1 credit | Grades 9

Foundations of Math is designed for high school students entering PALCS for the first time who have not yet received a passing grade in Pre-Algebra. This course will develop concepts aligned to the Pennsylvania Mathematics eligible content for Pre-Algebra Standards.

Units of study include:

  • Variables
  • Expressions
  • Integers
  • Equations
  • Multi-step equations
  • Inequalities
  • Fractions
  • Exponents
  • Rational numbers and equations
  • Ratio
  • Proportion
  • Probability
  • Percents
  • Linear functions
  • Real numbers
  • Measurement
  • Area
  • Volume and surface area
  • Data analysis
  • Angle relationships and transformations

Upon completion of this course students will be prepared for Algebra 1.

1 credit | Grades 9-10

Prerequisite: Math 8 (or equivalent).

Algebra 1 is designed for the student without strong mathematical skills. Content will include real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, linear functions and their graphs, systems of linear equations and inequalities (limited to two variables) and an introduction to polynomials. The course is aligned to Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content, PA Standards, and Algebra 1 Keystone Anchors. Students will have the opportunity to explore functions with the graphing calculator.

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Algebra Keystone Exam. Students will be expected to complete five assignments per week. Upon completion of the course the student will be ready for Geometry.

1 credit | Grade 9

Prerequisite: Math 8.

College-Prep Algebra 1 is designed for the academic level student, and is aligned to Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content, PA Standards, and the Algebra 1 Keystone Anchors. Content will include real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, linear functions and their graphs, systems of linear equations and inequalities (limited to two variables) and an introduction to polynomials. Students will have the opportunity to explore functions with the graphing calculator.

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Algebra Keystone Exam. Students will be expected to complete five assignments per week. Upon completion of the course the student will be ready for College-Prep Geometry.

1 credit | Grade 9

Prerequisite: Math 8 or Teacher Recommendation.

Honors Algebra 1 is designed for the advanced level student in a college preparatory program. This course is an accelerated algebra curriculum with more challenging problems. The course is aligned to Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content, PA Standards, and the Algebra 1 Keystone Anchors.

Content will include real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, linear functions and their graphs, systems of linear equations and inequalities (limited to two variables) and an introduction to polynomials. Students will have the opportunity to explore functions with the graphing calculator. Application problems, modeling and project-based learning assignments will be required.

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Algebra Keystone Exam. Students will be expected to complete five assignments per week. Upon completion of the course the student will be ready for Honors Geometry.

1 credit | Grades 10-11

Prerequisite: Algebra I.

Geometry is designed for the student without strong mathematical skills. The course is aligned to the Assessment Anchors, Eligible Content, and PA Core Standards. Topics include distance and midpoint formula, geometric reasoning and proofs, angles formed by parallel line and transversals, triangle congruence, properties of triangles, special right triangles, Pythagorean Theorems, polygons and quadrilaterals, similarity in polygons, introduction to trigonometry, perimeter, circumference area, geometric probability, surface area and volume of 3-D figures, and properties of circles. Students will use Geometer’s Sketchpad and the TI-83+ calculator.

Students will be expected to complete five assignments per week. Upon completion of the course students will be ready for Algebra 2.

1 credit | Grade 10

Prerequisite: College-Prep Algebra I.

College-Prep Geometry is designed for the academic level student, and is aligned to Assessment Anchors, Eligible Content, and PA Core Standards. Topics include distance and midpoint formula, geometric reasoning and proofs, angles formed by parallel line and transversals, triangle congruence, properties of triangles, special right triangles, Pythagorean Theorems, polygons and quadrilaterals, similarity in polygons, introduction to trigonometry, perimeter, circumference area, geometric probability, surface area and volume of 3-D figures, and properties of circles. Students will use Geometer’s Sketchpad in the course and a TI-83+ calculator.

Students will be expected to complete five assignments per week. Upon completion of the course students will be ready for College-Prep Algebra 2.

1 credit | Grades 9-10

Prerequisite: College-Prep Algebra I or Teacher Recommendation.

Honors Geometry is designed for the advanced level student in a college preparatory program. It is a rigorous, logical development of the deductive system of reasoning. Emphasis is on the development of logic, formal proofs, and algebraic applications to geometry. The course is aligned to the Assessment Anchors, Eligible Content, and PA Core Standards.

Topics include distance and midpoint formula, geometric reasoning and proofs, angles formed by parallel line and transversals, triangle congruence, properties of triangles, special right triangles, Pythagorean Theorems, polygons and quadrilaterals, similarity in polygons, introduction to trigonometry, perimeter, circumference area, geometric probability, surface area and volume of 3-D figures, and properties of circles. Students will use Geometer’s Sketchpad in the course. Application problems, modeling and project-based learning assignments will be required. Students will be expected to complete five assignments per week. Upon completion of the course students will be ready for Honors Algebra 2.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Algebra 2 is designed for students who have passed and received credit for Algebra I and Geometry. Algebra 2 will review the topics covered in Algebra I and Geometry, and work on building mathematical skills. Textbook based lessons will be supplemented with teacher created materials with an emphasis on problem solving. This course is aligned to Assessment Anchors, Eligible Content, and PA Core Standards. Students will be expected to complete 4-5 assignments per week.

Upon completion of this course students will be ready for Consumer Math or a math elective.

1 credit | Grade 11

Prerequisite: College-Prep Geometry or Teacher Recommendation.

College-Prep Algebra 2 is designed for the academic level student, and is aligned to Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content, PA Standards, and the Algebra 2 Keystone Anchors. Topics include absolute value, compound inequalities, linear functions, rational exponents, families of quadratic functions, polynomial functions and operations, radical expressions, sequence, measures of central tendency, permutation and combinations, probability and odds, tables and graphs, matrix operations, direct and inverse variation, complex numbers and real world applications.

Students will be expected to complete 4-5 assignments per week. Upon completion of this course the student will be ready for Pre-Calculus.

1 credit | Grades 10-11

Prerequisite: College-Prep Geometry or successful completion of Honors Geometry.

This second-year algebra course is designed for the advanced level student who desires a more rigorous course of study. The course is aligned to the PA State Standards, PA Assessment Anchors and the Algebra 2 Keystone Anchors. Students will develop a more in-depth study of the concept of numbers from arithmetic to the notion of discrete mathematics. The use of graphing calculators is an integral part of this course. Students will be expected to complete 4-5 assignments per week. Topics include absolute value, compound inequalities, linear functions, rational exponents, families of quadratic functions, polynomial functions and operations, radical expressions, sequences, measure of central tendency, permutation and combinations, probability and odds, tables and graphs, matrix operations, direct and inverse variation, complex numbers and real world applications. Upon completion of this course the student will be ready for Pre-Calculus.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Algebra 2.

This course is designed for the college bound student who plans to study calculus in high school or college. The course is aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards and Assessment Anchors and eligible content. Topics include Algebra 2 Review, concepts in trigonometry, trigonometric functions, parametric functions, exponential and logistics functions, polynomial functions, and solving equations and inequalities. Students will be expected to complete 3-4 assignments per week. Upon completion of this course the student will be prepared for the Survey of Calculus.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Pre-Calculus.

This course is designed for the college bound student who wishes to continue the study of calculus in college. This is a college level preparatory class; not an Advanced Placement class. The course is aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards and Assessment Anchors and eligible content. Topics include functions and their graphs, limits, derivatives, integration and other introductory calculus concepts. The TI-83+ calculator is provided. Students will be expected to complete 4-5 assignments per week. Upon completion of this course the student will be prepared for a first college level calculus course or AP Calculus.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Calculus and teacher recommendation.

AP Calculus AB is roughly equivalent to a first semester college calculus course devoted to topics in differential and integral calculus. The AP course covers topics in these areas, including concepts and skills of limits, derivatives, definite integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. The course teaches students to approach calculus concepts and problems when they are represented graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally, and to make connections amongst these representations. Students learn how to use technology to help solve problems, experiment, interpret results, and support conclusions.

Depending on enrollment, this course may or may not be offered by a PALCS cyber teacher. If not, the course will be made available through an outside provider with an online instructor provided through that course.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Calculus and teacher recommendation.

The AP Statistics course is equivalent to a one-semester, introductory, non-calculus-based college course in statistics. The course introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. There are four themes in the AP Statistics course: exploring data, sampling and experimentation, anticipating patterns, and statistical inference. Students use technology, investigations, problem solving, and writing as they build conceptual understanding.

Depending on enrollment, this course may or may not be offered by a PALCS cyber teacher. If not, the course will be made available through an outside provider with an online instructor provided through that course.

Math Electives

½ credit | Fall | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Algebra 2.

This half credit elective course will study the collection, tabulation, analysis and reliability of data generated from surveys, polls, market research and standardized testing. Topics include data collection, measures of central tendency, survey design and trends in data analysis. Students will use Fathom to record, tabulate and analyze data. This course is suitable for the student who desires additional courses in mathematics but does not need or want Pre-Calculus or Calculus. This course is offered in the fall only. Students will be expected to complete 4-5 assignments per week.

½ credit | Spring | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Algebra 2.

This half credit elective course allows students to study probability in depth. Topics include probability theory, permutations, combinations, distributions, random numbers, odds and elementary concepts of discrete probability functions. Students will use Fathom to simulate outcomes given different input conditions. This course is suitable for the student who desires additional courses in mathematics but does not need or want Pre-Calculus or Calculus. This course is offered in the spring only. Students will be expected to complete 4-5 assignments per week.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Consumer Mathematics is designed for 11th and 12th grade students who have passed and received credit for Algebra 1 and Geometry, but have not mastered the mathematical concepts sufficiently to move to Algebra 2. Consumer Mathematics is designed to develop and reinforce the applications of mathematics necessary for every day life. Students will investigate topics that include income, record-keeping, checking and savings accounts, loans, housing costs, insurance, and investments. The goal of this class is to give students the background and problem solving skills to make good financial decisions.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Algebra 2.

Computational Thinking emphasizes problem solving, processes of decomposition, algorithm design and pattern recognition, generalization and abstraction. Utilizing coding and other computer assisted systems, students will complete project- based assessments. Topics include number systems, non-linear and linear functions, measurement, angles, discrete math, probability and statistics. This course is recommended for students interested in coding.

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PALCS High School Science Course Progression
show Science course offerings

Science Graduation Requirement: 3 credits

including 1 credit of Biology and completion of the Biology Keystone Exam

View complete graduation requirements »

▼ Click + to view full course description

Science Core

1 credit | Grades 9-12

Biology offers a curriculum that focuses on the mastery of basic biological skills in topics such as anatomy and physiology, chemical interactions, the cell, genetics, evolution, ecology, and biodiversity. It is designed to meet the Keystone Anchors for Biology. Please note that Biology is a graduation requirement at The Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.

Upon successful completion of Biology, students will be able to:

  • Apply scientific thinking, processes, tools and technologies in the study of biology
  • Understand the systems of the body and how their structure and function works to maintain homeostasis
  • Recognize that the structure of atoms and molecules relates to their function in living organisms
  • Compare and contrast the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • Describe how genetic information is inherited and expressed
  • Explain the mechanisms of the theory of evolution
  • Use evidence or examples to explain the characteristics of and interactions within an ecosystem
  • Analyze patterns of change in natural or human-made systems over time
  • Describe the characteristics of life shared by all prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Biology Keystone Exam.

1 credit | Grades 9-12

Biology offers a curriculum that focuses on the mastery of biological skills in topics such as anatomy and physiology, chemical interactions, the cell, genetics, evolution, ecology, and biodiversity. It is designed to exceed the Keystone Anchors for Biology. Please note that Biology is a graduation requirement at The Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.

Upon successful completion of College-Prep Biology, students will be able to:

  • Apply scientific thinking, processes, tools and technologies in the study of biology
  • Understand the systems of the body and how their structure and function works to maintain homeostasis
  • Recognize that the structure of atoms and molecules relates to their function in living organisms
  • Compare and contrast the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • Describe how genetic information is inherited and expressed
  • Explain the mechanisms of the theory of evolution
  • Use evidence or examples to explain the characteristics of and interactions within an ecosystem
  • Analyze patterns of change in natural or human-made systems over time
  • Describe the characteristics of life shared by all prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Biology Keystone Exam.

1 credit | Grade 9

Honors Biology is a fast-paced course which will cover all of the material in the Biology course, but at a more in-depth level. We begin with the nature of science, and move directly into anatomy and physiology. The course will move to some basic chemistry, the cell and its organelles, and genetics. In the second half of the year, students will study evolution, ecology, and biodiversity. At the end of the year, Honors Biology will investigate controversial bioethics topics. Honors Biology is for the motivated 9th or 10th grade student. It is designed to meet the Keystone Anchors for Biology, including more rigor and depth.

Upon successful completion of Honors Biology, students will be able to:

  • Apply scientific thinking, processes, tools and technologies in the study of biology
  • Understand the systems of the body and how their structure and function works to maintain homeostasis
  • Recognize that the structure of atoms and molecules relates to their function in living organisms
  • Compare and contrast the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • Describe how genetic information is inherited and expressed
  • Explain the mechanisms of the theory of evolution
  • Use evidence or examples to explain the characteristics of and interactions within an ecosystem
  • Analyze patterns of change in natural or human-made systems over time
  • Describe the characteristics of life shared by all prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms

Students completing this course will be required to complete the Biology Keystone Exam.

1 credit | Grade 10

Upon successful completion of General Science, students will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge of the scientific process by using skills such as observing, classifying, inferring, predicting, measuring, estimating, formulating hypotheses, interpreting data, and designing and testing controlled experiment
  • Explain that the atomic structure determines the physical and chemical properties of a substance
  • Identify chemical reactions and explain how they form new substances
  • Analyze Newton’s laws and apply them to all forces
  • Distinguish the different types of energy and describe how energy is transferred
  • Describe how electricity in circuits can produce light, heat, sound, and magnetic effects
  • Explain why the surface of the Earth is constantly being changed by forces of nature
  • Distinguish the different types of rocks and understand the process of the rock cycle
  • Understand that the movement of tectonic plates causes geological changes on Earth
  • Describe how rocks, fossils and other types of evidence tell Earth’s history
  • Analyze weather changes and its predictable patterns
  • Explain the composition of our solar system
1 credit | Grades 10-11

Prerequisite: Algebra 1.

This course examines the composition of various substances and the changes that may occur. The course will demonstrate the ways in which chemistry touches our lives almost everywhere and every day, in medicine, the clothes we wear, the games we play, as well as the industries that make the things we use. Students will solve real-world chemistry problems using math skills, logic, and critical thinking. Laboratories are a mix of virtual experiments done online and using the Virtual ChemLab program.

Upon successful completion of Chemistry, students will be able to:

  • Explain that matter is made of particles called atoms and that atoms are composed of even smaller particles
    Explain the relationship between the physical properties of a substance and its molecular or atomic structure
    Explain the formation of compounds and their resulting names, ratios and properties using bonding theories (ionic and covalent)
    Explain how the relationships of chemical properties of elements are represented in the repeating patterns within the periodic table
    Predict the behavior of gases through the application of laws
    Describe factors that influence the frequency of collisions during chemical reactions that might affect the reaction rates (e.g., surface area, concentration, catalyst, temperature, agitation)
    Describe energy changes in chemical reactions
    Understand the impact of humans on natural resources
1 credit | Grades 10-11

Prerequisite: Algebra 1.

This course examines the composition of various substances and the changes that may occur. The course will demonstrate the ways in which chemistry touches our lives almost everywhere and everyday, in medicine, the clothes we wear, the games we play, as well as the industries that make the things we use. Students will solve real-world chemistry problems using math skills, logic, and critical thinking. Laboratories are a mix of virtual experiments done online and using the Virtual ChemLab program.

Upon successful completion of College-Prep Chemistry, students will be able to:

  • Explain that matter is made of particles called atoms and that atoms are composed of even smaller particles
  • Explain the relationship between the physical properties of a substance and its molecular or atomic structure
  • Explain the formation of compounds and their resulting names, ratios and properties using bonding theories (ionic and covalent)
  • Explain how the relationships of chemical properties of elements are represented in the repeating patterns within the periodic table
  • Predict the behavior of gases through the application of laws
  • Describe factors that influence the frequency of collisions during chemical reactions that might affect the reaction rates (e.g., surface area, concentration, catalyst, temperature, agitation)
  • Describe energy changes in chemical reactions
  • Understand the impact of humans on natural resources
1 credit | Grades 10

Prerequisite: Biology and Algebra I.

This course emphasizes a broad survey of basic chemistry, incorporating the elements of physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry. We shall base our knowledge of chemistry on a thorough knowledge of chemical bonding. A virtual laboratory will present a series of experiments that support theoretical knowledge. Upon completion, students will have a basic knowledge of chemistry that will serve as a head start in future studies in college.

Upon successful completion of Honors Chemistry, students will be able to:

  • Explain how specific scientific knowledge or technological design concepts solve practical problems
  • Analyze and explain how to verify the accuracy of scientific facts, principles, theories and laws
  • Compare and contrast scientific theories, scientific laws and beliefs
  • Describe and/or interpret dynamic changes to stable systems
  • Explain how specific scientific knowledge or technological design concepts solve practical problems
  • Explain how matter is made of particles called atoms and that these atoms are composed of smaller particles
  • Interpret data gathered through observation and develop relationships among variables to design models that provide solutions
1 credit | Grades 11-12

Earth and Space Science is a full year course for 11th or 12th grade students. This course is designed to provide students with an introduction and foundation of concepts, content and world events for the Earth and Space Sciences. In this course, students will develop scientific skills, logic, how to make hypotheses, inferences, create graphs and draw conclusions. Some of the concepts covered include the Structure of the Earth’s crust (minerals, economic resources, rocks, ground water and wells, rivers, glaciers and deserts), the Forces that make the Dynamic Crust (earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain buildings, plate tectonics), Meteorological Forces (the atmosphere, moisture, clouds, precipitation, air pressure, wind, air masses and fronts, and factors that create climates), and Astronomy (the Earth-Moon system, the solar system, properties of stars, the universe).

Upon successful completion of Earth and Space Science, students will be able to:

  • Apply scientific process knowledge by using such skills as observing, classifying, inferring, predicting, measuring, estimating, formulating hypotheses, interpreting data, drawing conclusions, and creating design and testing in controlled experiments
  • Identify, classify and analyze earth materials and the forces that shape the earth’s surface
  • Understand and analyze the processes that keep the earth’s lithosphere Dynamic
  • Understand and analyze the forces of the Atmosphere as they create air masses, fronts and climate trends
  • Understand and analyze the structure and composition of the Universe
1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry recommended.

Environmental Science is a full year course for 11th or 12th grade. This course is designed to provide students with a comprehensive view of the interactions between humans and the environment. In this course, students will develop scientific skills and critical thinking capabilities while utilizing and building on knowledge in life science, physical science, chemistry, earth science, and social studies as they relate to the interactions between living and nonliving factors on Earth.

Environmental Science will cover:

  • Nature of Environmental Science: the scientific method, scientific community, environmental policy and economics and earth’s systems
  • Ecology: populations, communities, ecosystems, biomes, biodiversity and conservation
  • Humans and the Environment: human population, population trends, environmental health and urbanization
  • Earth’s Resources: forestry management, soil and agriculture, mineral and water resources and the atmosphere
  • Towards a Sustainable Future: global climate change, nonrenewable energy, renewable energy alternatives and waste management practices

Upon successful completion of Environmental Science, students will be able to:

  • Identify and analyze the scientific or technological challenges of societal issues, propose possible solutions and discuss implications
  • Describe and interpret patterns of change in natural and human-made systems
  • Explain structure and function at multiple levels of organization
  • Use evidence or examples to explain the characteristics of and interactions within an ecosystem.
  • Analyze patterns of change in natural or human-made systems over time
  • Explain and analyze how human-made systems impact the management and distribution of natural resources
  • Demonstrate that different ways of obtaining, transforming and distributing energy have different environmental consequences
  • Explain the significance and contribution of water as a resource to living things and the shaping of the land
1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra and General Science or Chemistry.

Conceptual Physics is the qualitative study of these major physical phenomena: Mechanics, Properties of Matter, Heat, Sound, Thermodynamics, Sound, Light, Waves and Electricity and Magnetism. The subject is covered primarily through reading. The concepts are explained with a minimal amount of mathematics; however, the student should be proficient in basic math. This course is reading intensive.

Upon successful completion of Conceptual Physics, students will be able to:

  • Analyze energy sources and transfer of energy, or conversion of energy
  • Demonstrate that different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences
  • Apply the principles of motion and force to real world cases
1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Chemistry, Algebra 2 and Geometry.

College-Prep Physics is a quantitative approach to matter, energy, motion, and force. Students will be able to identify and explain Properties of Matter, Conservation of Energy, Force, Motion, Electricity and Magnetism, and show aptitude with topics such as Kinematics, Heat, Energy, Momentum, Conservation Theorems, Gravitation, Equilibrium and E&M exclusively through mathematical modeling. The course begins with a brief math review of the concepts used in the course. Students must have a strong background in mathematics and be proficient in Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. This is a college prep course for students who plan to pursue a major in the sciences or engineering.

Upon successful completion of College-Prep Physics, students will be able to:

  • Analyze energy sources and transfer of energy, or conversion of energy
  • Demonstrate that different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences
  • Use the principles of motion and force to solve real world challenges
1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Honors Pre-Calculus and/or teacher recommendation.

Honors Physics is intended to provide students with a fundamental study of physics. Students focus on developing and understanding the mathematical relationships between matter, energy, space, and time that enables them to solve college-level problems. Studied topics include:

  • Measurement and Vector Representations
  • Motion (in one, two, and three dimensions)
  • Newton’s Three Laws
  • Friction and Fluid Dynamics
  • Circular Motion
  • Work and Energy
  • Momentum
  • Rotational Dynamics
  • Torque and Angular Momentum
  • Equilibrium
  • Circular Motion and Gravitation
  • Oscillation and Waves
  • Sound and Light
  • Static and Current Electricity
  • Electric Circuits
  • Magnetism
1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Biology.

This course is designed as a two-semester college biology course and is approved for AP test preparation by the College Board. The topic coverage is more in-depth than in a typical high school course, and the content is organized such that it fulfills the requirements of AP Biology as determined by the College Board. The three main areas of coverage are molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, and organisms and populations.

Students also have the option of taking AP Biology through the University Scholars program. Please contact your guidance counselor for more information.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology and Chemistry.

In College-Prep Human Anatomy and Physiology, students will survey the systems of the human body and learn the ways in which they are interdependent and serve to maintain homeostasis. Topics covered include cell anatomy and physiology and genetics as well as a study of each of the systems of the body, using case studies, virtual labs, experiments and projects.

Upon successful completion of College-Prep Human Anatomy and Physiology, students will be able to:

  • Analyze and explain the nature of science in the search for understanding the natural world and its connection to technological systems
  • Identify and analyze the scientific or technological challenges of societal issues; propose possible solutions and discuss implications
  • Describe and interpret patterns of change in the human body
  • Apply knowledge of scientific investigation or technological design to develop or critique aspects of the experimental or design process
  • Analyze the parts of an organ system, their roles, and their relationships to the system as a whole
  • Explain anatomy and physiology at multiple levels of organization
  • Describe how genetic information is inherited and expressed
1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry.

In Human Anatomy and Physiology, students will study the systems of the human body and learn the ways in which they are interdependent and serve to maintain homeostasis. Topics covered include cell anatomy, physiology and genetics, as well as a detailed study of each of the systems of the body. This fast-paced, in-depth course will include case studies, virtual labs, experiments, projects, essays and writing assignments.

Upon successful completion of Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology, students will be able to:

  • Analyze and explain the nature of science in the search for understanding the natural world and its connection to technological systems
  • Identify and analyze the scientific or technological challenges of societal issues; propose possible solutions and discuss implications
  • Describe and interpret patterns of change in natural and human-made systems
  • Apply knowledge of scientific investigation or technological design to develop or critique aspects of the experimental or design process
  • Analyze the parts of a simple system, their roles, and their relationships to the system as a whole
  • Explain anatomy and physiology at multiple levels of organization
  • Describe how genetic information is inherited and expressed

Science Electives

½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 9-12

In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to go into space. In 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the Moon. More than four decades later, a manned space station orbits the Earth, but humans have yet to reach beyond the Moon. Space Exploration is a one-semester course that will discuss the history and future of space travel. Find out how we have sent people into space in the past, and what it will take for us to reach new frontiers in the stars.

This course is offered to PALCS students through Compass Learning.

 

½ credit | Spring | Grades 10-12

Introduction to Engineering provides an exciting theme for student immersion and investigation of the electromechanical design. This introduction to engineering subject uses a combination of project based active and experiential learning, with the explicit goals of fostering passion, excitement and creativity. The class will introduce core engineering themes, principles, and modes of thinking. Topics include: historical reflection, societal impact, fundamental principles, system uncertainties, teamwork, ethics, communications, engineering abstractions, constraints and boundaries. In addition to classic problem sets and exams, student teams complete various electromechanical labs as well as a final exploration-based hands-on design project. Specialized learning modules enable teams to focus on knowledge required to complete their projects, such as machine elements, electronics, software, structures, design process, visualization and communication.

Students will have lab and final project groups consisting of 6 students. Labs/projects are designed to be completed at a remote location close to the student with a PALCS Teacher during periods of PSSA Testing. Over the course of the semester, labs/projects are designed to be completed at this remote location over visits, totaling approximately 15 hours. The rest of the course is designed to be completed online.

½ credit | Spring | Grades 10-12

In Nature Study, students will learn basic principles of dendrology (trees), entomology (insects), ornithology (birds), mammals, IPM integrated pest management, forestry, mycology (fungi), and botany.  Students will participate in projects such as insect and leaf collections, identification, and classification, field trips, microscopy, and possibly a little photography.

½ credit | Fall | Grades 10-12

Student leadership means taking the initiative to make a difference in your community. Everything we do affects the water in our area as well as surrounding areas. Students will learn about watersheds in Pennsylvania and how their actions affect watersheds throughout the United States. Focus will be on the environment and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay watersheds. Students will also learn how stewardship can be applied to the environment.  This course requires participation in the Chesapeake Bay Field Trip.

½ credit | Fall | Grades 10-12

Prerequisite: Health.

Health and Medicine is a one-semester course that encourages students to explore human anatomy, physiology, development, and nutrition. Students also examine various aspects of medical awareness, including medical ethics, as well as the causes and available treatments of some diseases and mental disorders. In addition, students unearth the prevalence, causes, and symptoms of common traumatic injuries, observe how to react in emergency situations, and uncover the roles of professionals in emergency medical services. Moreover, students investigate the job duties associated with various healthcare professions and review the usual courses of education required for healthcare careers.

This course is offered to PALCS students through Compass Learning.

½ credit | Fall | Grades 10-12

Prerequisite: Biology.

Marine Science is the scientific study of life in the ocean. In spite of its simple definition, Marine Science is actually a vastly complex and fascinating field in science. Studying the ocean is very important because seventy five percent of the earth is covered in water. In Marine Science, we will explore this watery world and the life that call it home. This course is for any students who are interested in developing an understanding of the basic concepts of Marine Science.

In Marine Science, we will study four major themes:

  • Introduction to Marine Science: complete an overview of Marine Science, include some history on the topic, and discuss the scientific method, geological principles and ocean mechanics
  • The Ocean Environment: learn about the many marine organisms that inhabit the ocean from the smallest bacteria, to the largest whales
  • Marine Organisms: visit these organisms in their homes and learn about their ecosystems and how these organisms interact with each other and their surroundings
  • Marine Ecosystems and Human and the Sea: end with how humans affect the sea and what we can do to conserve it
½ credit | Spring | Grades 10-12

Prerequisite: Biology.

This challenging half-credit science course is an introduction to principles of animal biology. The structure, function, heredity, comparative relationships and evolution of the invertebrates and vertebrates will be studied. This course will include instruction on population genetics, micro and macro-evolution, animal behavior, and major commonalities and differences among the different major phyla with respect to function of the major organ systems.

Upon successful completion of Zoology, students will be able to:

  • Analyze and explain the nature of science in the search for understanding the natural world and its connection to technological systems
  • Identify and analyze the scientific or technological challenges of societal issues; propose possible solutions and discuss implications
  • Describe and interpret patterns of change in natural and human-made systems
  • Apply knowledge of scientific investigation or technological design to develop or critique aspects of the experimental or design process
  • Evaluate appropriate technologies for a specific purpose, or describe the information the instrument can provide
  • Analyze the parts of a simple system, their roles and relationships to the system as a whole
  • Compare and analyze repeated processes or recurring elements in patterns
  • Explain structure and function at multiple levels of organization
  • Explain the mechanisms of the theory of evolution
  • Describe how genetic information is inherited and expressed
½ credit | Spring | Grades 10-12

Prerequisite: Biology and Algebra I.

This is a half credit introductory forensic science class that will discuss theory and practices dealing with the use of science and technology to investigate and establish facts in criminal or civil courts of law.

The following units will be discussed: 

  • Investigating a Crime Scene
  • Prints and Trace Evidence
  • Identifying an Individual

There are many practical aspects of forensic science. This course focuses on the following: crime scene investigation; securing and recording a crime scene; types of evidence; collecting physical evidence; tool marks and impressions; trace evidence such as hair, fiber, glass, paint and soil; firearm evidence; fingerprints; blood evidence including bloodstain patterns; DNA evidence; and handwriting and voice identification.

Upon completion of Forensic Science, students will be able to:

  • Explain how crime scene investigators would properly document and record a crime scene
  • Identify which type or types of evidence to search for and collect in a particular crime scene scenario
  • Explain and demonstrate how to properly collect and package specific items of evidence at a crime scene
  • Explain what safety precautions need to be observed at a crime scene and in the laboratory to protect both themselves and the integrity of the evidence
  • Explain the difference between class characteristics and individual characteristics and how each is used in the real world
  • Analyze and explain the nature of science in the search for understanding the natural world and its connections to forensic science
  • Identify and analyze the scientific or technological challenges of societal issues using case studies, propose possible solutions and discuss implications
  • Apply knowledge of scientific investigation or technological design to develop or critique aspects of the experimental or design process
scienceboy-web

PALCS High School Social Studies Course Progression
show Social Studies course offerings

Social Studies Graduation Requirement: 3.5 credits

including 1 credit of US History or (beginning Class of 2017) US Government

For classes prior to the Class of 2020, World History may be completed in 11th grade and United States History in 9th grade as necessary

View complete graduation requirements »

▼ Click + to view full course description

Social Studies Core

1 credit | Grade 9

This course will explore the developments in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and Latin America from 1450 to the present. Students will examine the continuity and change that has occurred in these regions in regards to trade, exploration, industrialism, imperialism and military conflicts. These themes will be examined with emphasis on how they are interconnected and how they have changed the world from a global perspective.

Upon completion of World History, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the significance of individuals and groups who made major political and cultural contributions to world history since 1450
  • Evaluate historical documents, material artifacts and historic sites important to world history during the above era
  • Evaluate how continuity and change throughout history have impacted belief systems and religions, commerce and industry, innovations, settlement patterns, social organization,
  • transportation and the roles of women during the above era
  • Evaluate how conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations have impacted world history from 1450 to the present in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to World History, Geography and Economics for the respective grade level of this course
1 credit | Grade 9

This course will explore the developments in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and Latin America from 1450 to the present. Students will examine the continuity and change that has occurred in these regions in regards to trade, exploration, industrialism, imperialism and military conflicts. These themes will be examined with emphasis on how they are interconnected and how they have changed the world from a global perspective.

Upon completion of College-Prep World History, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the significance of individuals and groups who made major political and cultural contributions to world history since 1450
  • Evaluate historical documents, material artifacts and historic sites important to world history during the above era
  • Evaluate how continuity and change throughout history have impacted belief systems and religions, commerce and industry, innovations, settlement patterns, social organization, transportation and the roles of women during the above era
  • Evaluate how conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations have impacted world history from 1450 to the present in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to World History, Geography and Economics for the respective grade level of this course

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. This academically challenging, college preparatory course is geared for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

1 credit | Grade 9

This course will explore the developments in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and Latin America from 1450 to the present. Students will examine the continuity and change that has occurred in these regions in regards to trade, exploration, industrialism, imperialism and military conflicts. These themes will be examined with emphasis on how they are interconnected and how they have changed the world from a global perspective.

Upon completion of Honors World History, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the significance of individuals and groups who made major political and cultural contributions to world history since 1450
  • Evaluate historical documents, material artifacts and historic sites important to world history during the above era
  • Evaluate how continuity and change throughout history have impacted belief systems and religions, commerce and industry, innovations, settlement patterns, social organization,
  • transportation and the roles of women during the above era
  • Evaluate how conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations have impacted world history from 1450 to the present in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to World History, Geography and Economics for the respective grade level of this course

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. The student will be challenged to display his or her ability to evaluate, analyze and apply acquired knowledge and research through the extensive study and use of primary and secondary sources. This academically rigorous course is designed for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

1 credit | Grade 10

This course will explore the development of the foundations of the American Government: the three branches of government, the Bill of Rights, the electoral process and the impact of state and local government. Political and economic systems present in America will also be examined. Students will be challenged to identify, analyze and explain the major concepts and principles impacting the government in America.

Upon completion of United States Government, students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze information and documents
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills and creativity in completing written assignments
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to Civics and Government for the respective grade level of this course
1 credit | Grade 10

This course will explore the development of the foundations of the American Government: the three branches of government, the Bill of Rights, the electoral process and the impact of state and local government. Political and economic systems present in America will also be examined. Students will be challenged to identify, analyze and explain the major concepts and principles impacting the government in America.

Upon completion of College-Prep United States Government, students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze information and documents
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills and creativity in completing written assignments
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to Civics and Government for the respective grade level of this course

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. This academically challenging, college preparatory course is geared for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

1 credit | Grade 10

This course will explore the development of the foundations of the American Government: the three branches of government, the Bill of Rights, the electoral process and the impact of state and local government. Political and economic systems present in America will also be examined. Students will be challenged to identify, analyze and explain the major concepts and principles impacting the government in America.

Upon completion of Honors United States Government, students will be able to:

  • Critically analyze information and documents
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills and creativity in completing written assignments
  • Master the Pennsylvania mandated Standards in relation to Civics and Government for the respective grade level of this course

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. The student will be challenged to display his or her ability to evaluate, analyze and apply acquired knowledge and research through the extensive study and use of primary and secondary sources. This academically rigorous course is designed for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

1 credit | Grade 11

This course will explore the development of the United States from the Progressive Era to the present and will examine the history and influence of the United States from both national and global perspectives. Students will identify and evaluate the significance of major historical events such as World War I, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Era and the Vietnam War. Finally the course will focus on the continuity and change occurring in the United States over the last thirty years.

Upon completion of United States History, students will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from 1890 to the present
  • Identify and evaluate primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history in the above era
  • Evaluate how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1890 to the present
  • Identify and evaluate conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations in United States history in the above era
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to United States History, Pennsylvania History, Geography and Economics for the respective grade level of this course
1 credit | Grade 11

This course will explore the development of the United States from the Progressive Era to the present and will examine the history and influence of the United States from both national and global perspectives. Students will identify and evaluate the significance of major historical events such as World War I, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Era and the Vietnam War. Finally the course will focus on the continuity and change occurring in the United States over the last thirty years.

Upon completion of College-Prep United States History, students will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from 1890 to the present
  • Identify and evaluate primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history in the above era
  • Evaluate how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1890 to the present
  • Identify and evaluate conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations in United States history in the above era
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to United States History, Pennsylvania History, Geography and Economics for the respective grade level of this course

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. This academically challenging, college preparatory course is geared for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

1 credit | Grade 11

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation.

This course will explore the development of the United States from the Progressive Era to the present and will examine the history and influence of the United States from both national and global perspectives. Students will identify and evaluate the significance of major historical events such as World War I, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Era and the Vietnam War. Finally the course will focus on the continuity and change occurring in the United States over the last thirty years.

Upon completion of Honors United States History, students will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate the political and cultural contributions of individuals and groups to United States history from 1890 to the present
  • Identify and evaluate primary documents, material artifacts and historic sites important in United States history in the above era
  • Evaluate how continuity and change has influenced United States history from 1890 to the present
  • Identify and evaluate conflict and cooperation among social groups and organizations in United States history in the above era
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards in relation to United States History, Pennsylvania History, Geography and Economics for the respective grade level of this course

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. The student will be challenged to display his or her ability to evaluate, analyze and apply acquired knowledge and research through the extensive study and use of primary and secondary sources. This academically rigorous course is designed for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation.

This is a pre-college course designed to introduce the economic way of thinking and to acquaint students with the development of fundamental economic ideas, concepts, and reasoning skills that are widely shared by professional economists, elected officials, business leaders, and individuals. This course will explore valuable critical thinking tools designed to equip students to lead by enhancing their ability to analyze and understand human behavior and its consequences.

Upon completion of College-Prep Economics, students will be able to:

  • Explain the study of economics
  • Demonstrate knowledge of important economic ideas, concepts, and reasoning skills
  • Apply and integrate knowledge of economics through written assignments, class forums and discussions, current events, quizzes, and introspective analysis
½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Economics.

This College Board-approved, AP, college-level course is a thorough study of microeconomics. Students will study the basics of failures, and will explore international economies and aspects of trade.

1 credit | Grades 10-12

Prerequisite: US Government.

AP US Government is a College Board-approved, college-level course that helps students develop an analytical perspective on politics and government in the United States. This course includes the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government with analysis of specific examples. The course helps students develop familiarity with the various beliefs, institutions, groups, and ideas that make up U.S. government and politics. The course invites students to predict how technology and improved communications will affect democratic participation in the future.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of US History and teacher recommendation.

AP United States History focuses on developing students’ abilities to think conceptually about U.S. history from approximately 1491 to the present and apply historical thinking skills as they learn about the past. Seven themes of equal importance — identity; peopling; politics and power; work, exchange, and technology; America in the world; environment and geography; and ideas, beliefs, and culture — provide areas of historical inquiry for investigation throughout the course. These require students to reason historically about continuity and change over time and make comparisons among various historical developments in different times and places.

Depending on enrollment, this course may or may not be offered by a PALCS cyber teacher. If not, the course will be made available through an outside provider with an online instructor provided through that course.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Honors or AP US History, Honors World History, and teacher recommendation

AP World History focuses on developing students’ abilities to think conceptually about world history from approximately 8000 BCE to the present and apply historical thinking skills as they learn about the past. Five themes of equal importance — focusing on the environment, cultures, state-building, economic systems, and social structures — provide areas of historical inquiry for investigation throughout the course. AP World History encompasses the history of the five major geographical regions of the globe: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania, with special focus on historical developments and processes that cross multiple regions.

Depending on enrollment, this course may or may not be offered by a PALCS cyber teacher. If not, the course will be made available through an outside provider with an online instructor provided through that course.

Social Studies Electives

½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 10-12

Every day, almost everywhere we go, we are faced with aspects of mass media. From advertisements on billboards, to newspaper articles, to Facebook feeds, people are sharing ideas with each other for a variety of reasons and with a variety of purposes. Odyssey High School Media Studies is a one-semester course that will look at the many facets of mass media. Students will learn how the media shapes our lives, from laws passed by our government right down to our daily routines. They will also learn about the many different kinds of media and the roles they each play. Newspapers, books, magazines, radio, movies, television, Facebook, Twitter, and more will all be discussed as aspects of the immense media network.

½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 11-12

This course will review and familiarize the students with the foundations of geography in terms of location, regions, place, movement and interaction. The students will take a comprehensive look at each of the continents around the globe. Through the lens of the foundational themes of geography, the students will specifically learn about the physical and human aspects of geography as well as the interaction of these geographic systems with humanity. To demonstrate their ability to identify, analyze and explain their understanding of the major concepts of Human and Physical Geography, students will complete maps, written assignments, and explore written texts from world regions.

Upon completion of World Geography, students will be able to:

  • Analyze geographic tools and their uses
  • Analyze the physical characteristics of places and regions and their impact upon the Earth as well as on all living creatures
  • Analyze the human characteristics of places and regions and their interaction with the cultural and population characteristics
  • Master the mandated Pennsylvania Standards for Geography for the respective grade level of this course

Students will be expected to complete all class assignments and to have a solid understanding of the course material. Students will also be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills.

½ credit | Fall or Spring | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Completion of or enrollment in World History, US Government and US History.

Street Law’s approach to law-related education is to provide practical information and problem-solving opportunities that develop in students the knowledge and skills necessary for survival in our society as well as the American Criminal Justice System.

Topics covered in Street Law are as follows:

  • Introduction to Law and the Legal System
  • Crime in America
  • Introduction to Criminal Law
  • Crimes Against the Person
  • Crimes Against Property
  • Defenses
  • Criminal Justice: The Investigation
  • Proceedings Before Trial
  • The Trial
  • Sentencing
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Introduction to Tort Law
  • Negligence/ Strict Liability
  • Consumer Law
½ credit | Fall | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Completion of or enrollment in World History, US Government and/or US History.

This course is designed to introduce the basic concepts of Sociology to the student who desires elective credit in the Social Studies content area. The student must write effectively to show a demonstration of sophisticated ideas developed through facts, examples, opinions and scientific research.

In Sociology, students will:

  • Identify major sociological theories
  • Analyze individual behavior within society

At the core of sociology is the development of human behaviors associated with living in a cultural society. This course will study sociology as a science that involves research.

The first half of the course will study the sociological perspectives, of cultural diversity, social conformity and deviance, social class in the United States and social inequalities.

The second half of the course will study collective human behavior that involves social inequality, social institutions and social change.

At the completion of this course the student will improve his or her skills in reading informational text, analytical writing and social science research.

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. This on-level course is geared for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Completion of or enrollment in World History, US Government and/or US History.

This full year course is meant to teach the basic introductory concepts of Psychology for the student who desires elective credit in the Social Studies content area. The student must write effectively using APA format to show a demonstration of sophisticated ideas developed through facts, examples, opinions and scientific research.

In this course, students will:

  • Identify major psychological theories
  • Analyze human development as it relates to mental health

At the core of Psychology are concepts of the Self, the Body and the Mind. This course will study psychology as a science that involves research.

The first half of the course will study what milestones occur along the way of human development, sensing and perceiving the external world, human thinking and learning and exploring memory.

The second half of the course will study aspects of human motivation, emotion and personality; the role gender plays in the development of self; determining how mental illness impacts the individual and his or her world; and the exploration of stress as it relates to mental health.

At the completion of this course the student will improve his or her skills in reading informational text, analytical writing and social science research.

Students will be expected to read additional outside resources, to engage in writing assignments utilizing higher order thinking skills and to conduct developmentally appropriate research. This on-level course is geared for students who are planning to pursue post secondary education.

1 credit | Grades 11-12

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology, Chemistry, and teacher recommendation.

The AP Psychology course introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology. Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, analyze bias, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas.

Depending on enrollment, this course may or may not be offered by a PALCS cyber teacher. If not, the course will be made available through an outside provider with an online instructor provided through that course.

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Download Your Complete Copy of the 2016-2017 Course Catalog!

In addition to the course information presented above, the full course catalog is available as a .pdf download, showcasing all courses and programs for the 2016-2017 school year.

 
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