Academics

Science

Science at Fountain Valley School instills curiosity and equips students with the habits needed to ask and answer questions employing the scientific method. Set on 1,100 acres of rolling prairie, the campus itself is a learning landscape and laboratory for many science classes. 

Classes are dynamic and hands-on with an exciting array of offerings. Choose from courses in engineering, robotics, life science, anatomy, physiology, the human brain and more. The program strives to strengthen students’ understanding of the workings of their own bodies, the intricacies of the physical and biological world, the universe around them, and their place as stewards within it. Open-ended problem solving and experiential learning gives you opportunities to put scientific information to practical use and see yourself as an active participant in the scientific process. 
 

Science Offerings

List of 16 items.

  • Biology

    From ecosystems and evolution to heredity and human physiology, this course focuses on human interactions with the biosphere. The course provides a thoughtful and complete inquiry into basic concepts in ecology, human genetics, evolution, life origins, and the relationship between humans and the living world. Laboratory and field experiences are featured throughout the year. Biology is a required course for graduation and is usually taken in the freshman year.
  • General Physics

    Prerequisite: successful completion of Algebra 1
    General Physics is one of the cornerstones of scientific study and the foundation of engineering disciplines. This laboratory and algebra based course focuses on kinematics, forces, energy and momentum as well as electrostatics, circuits, waves and optics. Without overly emphasizing computation, this course focuses on physics as clarified in graphs and mathematical equations utilizing hands‑on labs, projects, and activities with consistent practice in problem solving and data analysis. This course is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
  • Chemistry

    This course covers fundamental chemistry topics exposing students to organic and biochemistry as well as environmental and industrial chemistry. The course is 50% laboratory‑based with fully integrated lab activities. Decision‑making activities are utilized to give students practice in applying their chemistry knowledge in various problem‑solving situations. This course addresses the fundamental concepts and principles of chemistry and will prepare students for electives in the science department, but not necessarily AP science courses (see Honors Chemistry).
  • Honors Chemistry

    Prerequisites: Grade of A‑ or higher in Biology or prior science class, teacher recommendation, and direct communication with the teacher and Dept. Chair prior to registration.
    Chemistry is the study of matter and energy and the interactions between them. This course covers not only the basic curriculum of chemistry, such as atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical bonds, and chemical reactions, gases, acids and bases, but also allows for increased depth on each unit, more challenging laboratory exercises, and the application of what we learn in the fields of biochemistry and biomedical science. Moreover, this course is specifically designed to properly prepare students for the higher standards and increased content of all AP Science courses and is a prerequisite for AP Chemistry.
  • Advanced Environmental Science

    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or higher in Biology, A‑ or higher in Chemistry, or B+ or higher in Honors Chemistry and departmental recommendation.
    This course aims to develop citizens who can make informed, knowledgeable decisions concerning environmental issues. By nature, environmental science is interdisciplinary and includes topics in ecology, population dynamics, atmospheric science, environmental quality, resource allocation and the economic and ethical impacts of environmental issues. Hands‑on activities include field investigations of local ecosystems as well as traditional labs and independent projects. In addition, we will take field trips to explore local resources. This AP level class is designed so that a student will be prepared to take the AP Environmental Science exam. The AP exam will not serve as the final for the class.
  • Advanced Chemistry

    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ in Honors Chemistry and/or departmental recommendation, with concurrent enrollment in Algebra II or above. 
    Advanced Chemistry is a college-level chemistry course designed to meet the requirements of the advanced placement curriculum as defined by the College Board. The course seeks to meet these curriculum requirements within a laboratory framework. Emphasis will be placed on developing experimental techniques and real-world applications of chemistry. This college-level course focuses on topics such as: thermodynamics, thermochemistry, physical behavior of gases, states and structures of matter, chemical equilibrium and kinetics, and various chemical reactions. Challenging, regular laboratory exercises, requiring quantitative, rather than merely qualitative analysis, will be emphasized in this course.
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics

    Prerequisites: Grade of A‑ or higher in Chemistry, B+ or higher in Physics or Honors Chemistry, and departmental recommendation with concurrent enrollment in Advanced Calculus AB or above.
    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May. This course provides an intensive investigation of the main principles of mechanics and is representative of an introductory college course typically required for engineering and science majors. Specifically, the following six content areas will be covered: kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy, and power systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravitation. The course utilizes guided inquiry and student‑centered learning to foster the development of critical thinking skills and uses introductory differential and integral calculus throughout the course.
  • Colorado Natural History

    In this course, we will learn to develop the skills and approaches of scientist, artist, and writer to explore the natural history of Colorado's life zones, with a particular emphasis on the prairie flora and fauna that surrounds our campus.  The study of natural history requires us to observe and interpret what we see in the physical world.  A major focus on the class will be students collecting in the field and curating in the lab an insect collection made up of specimens from Colorado’s ecosystems. The science involved in this course is primarily descriptive in nature and will be used as a foundation for other creative avenues of constructing a field journal, through both drawing and writing about what we observe.  A willingness to be creative in looking at one’s surroundings and an eagerness to go into the field to interpret your surroundings is expected of all students, highlighted by an overnight field trip or two!
  • Sustainable Science

    In a purely human sense, to sustain literally means to keep one's self functioning or enduring at a certain level. In our world today, this word has taken on a wide array of social and environmental implications, with dynamics such as global warming, fossil fuel extraction and food production practices impacting our world. This class will start from a premise that we all sustain ourselves through a variety of practices, beliefs and interactions, both with our physical surroundings and with the events of daily life that surround us. In class, we will explore the following dynamics that affect sustainability: the science of cooking and eating, ecosystem awareness and appreciation, making good nutritional choices and understanding where our food is sourced, and mindful consumption (becoming self‑reliant by understanding & producing the products that we use daily). The majority of what we study and learn will stem from making products in a hands‑on fashion and understanding the associated scientific processes involved.
  • AP Biology

    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or higher in Biology, A‑ or higher in Chemistry, or B+ or higher in Honors Chemistry and/or departmental recommendation.
    Students enrolled in an AP course are required to take the corresponding AP exam in May. This course is a rigorous, college‑level survey of major biological concepts including biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, evolution, ecology, kingdoms of organisms and animal physiology. Students should expect extensive reading, lab work and independent projects in preparation for the Advanced Placement examination.
  • Biomedical Science: Crossroads of Science and Medicine

    Prerequisite: One year of high school Biology and one year of high school Chemistry
    The field of biomedical science is at the crossroads of scientific discoveries and their applications in medical science with the goal of understanding and solving the 21 st century’s greatest threats to human health such as fighting cancer with nanotechnology. By interrelating the foundations of biology, chemistry, and physiology this class will explore the foundations of how human cells and body systems function and how they can dysfunction, mechanisms of drug actions, modes of disease, modern research techniques, and current issues and ethical dilemmas in the fields of science and medicine with hands‑on, real world, problem solving strategies. We will work though relevant case studies and play the role of biomedical professionals setting out to solve medical mysteries. We will also undertake an investigation of how a strong understanding of biomedical science can lead to careers in human and veterinary medicine and other health professions, scientific research, biotechnology and bioengineering, pharmacology and drug development, scientific writing, and even law and business.
  • Geology

    Colorado Springs is located in one of the best regions of the world to study geology—the structure of the Earth and its associated processes. We have at our back door approximately two billion years of geology deposited in the rock record. This field‑based course utilizes 12 to 15 field trips focusing on the geologic history of Colorado and the Western United States. Students compile their own extensive rock and mineral collection from field trips and develop a field journal. The class also explores traditional aspects of geology such as plate tectonics theory, rock and mineral identification and glaciation. Since humans have occupied the planet for a scant 4 million of the 4.8 billion years since its creation, studying geology affords a unique combination of learning a science and also gaining perspective on our origins within the physical world.
  • Principles of Engineering

    Principles of Engineering incorporates four engineering design projects. The first two projects will involve the students replicating their design from paper and the computer—Computer Aid Design (CAD)—to create a three-dimensional model! The latter two projects will involve miniature circuit designs and exposure to microcontrollers to create a sensor measuring device and a robotic toy car. The intent of this course is to educate the students about popular engineering tools (CAD and microcontrollers) and skills used in universities and industries for a wide range of fields in engineering. This course will expose the students to learn how to critically think, solve, and innovate solutions as a team and individually
  • Exercise Science

    The purpose of this course is to increase the student’s knowledge and understanding about human physiology and the adaptations that occur during exercise. Emphasis is placed on bioenergetics as well as circulatory, respiratory and neuromuscular responses to the physical stress of exercise. Also discussed are the effects of environmental factors and ergogenic aids on athletic performance. The tools this course will utilize include class lectures, textbooks, supplemental scientific research papers, case studies, hands on laboratory activities, field trips, and interactions with exercise science professionals. The objective of this course is for the student to gain an understanding and working knowledge of how the body responds to exercise so that they may apply this knowledge to their personal wellness as well as future studies.
  • Anatomy and Physiology

    Prerequisite: Biology
    In a world in which rising healthcare costs and increasing disease states are prevalent, understanding the details of one’s own physiology is crucial. In order to make students more educated about future personal, political, and medical issues, this course explores the human body systems in-depth and gives students an idea of what “normal” physiology looks like. This allows students to better understand how a divergence from this homeostatic norm can lead to disease. The tools this course will utilize include class lectures, textbooks, supplemental scientific research papers, case studies, hands-on laboratory activities, field trips, and interactions with scientists and medical professionals. Laboratory work parallels lecture topics, and includes microscopy, study of human anatomical models, dissection, and physiological experimentation.
  • Biomedical Science

    Biomedical Science will explore the foundations of the field of biomedical science including applications of cell and molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry, regenerative medicine, and disease case studies. Through all the exploration of new technologies and clinical trials, there will also be a focus on the ethics involved in these new discoveries. Students will begin by learning the basics of how cells function and then progressively broaden their scope to include organs, systems, mechanisms of drug actions, modes of disease, and careers in the biomedical science field. Students will leave the class with an understanding of how many basic sciences are interwoven into the field of biomedical science and applied to understanding and curing the 21st century’s largest threats to human health.

List of 7 members.

  • Photo of Katheryn Baker

    Katheryn Baker 

    Science Department Chair, Interim Co-Director, Tech Theatre Director
    (719) 391-5329
  • Photo of Danielle Llewelyn

    Danielle Llewelyn 

    Science Faculty
  • Photo of Morgan Llewelyn

    Morgan Llewelyn 

    Strength and Conditioning Faculty: Penrose West House Director
  • Photo of Suzanne Tibbits

    Suzanne Tibbits 

    Science Faculty
  • Photo of Sydney Villers

    Sydney Villers 

    Science Faculty
  • Photo of Nicole Echales

    Nicole Echales 

    Science Faculty
  • Photo of Azamat  Zhaksylykov

    Azamat  Zhaksylykov 

    STEM Faculty
FVS is a private, college-preparatory, co-ed, day and boarding school for grades 9-12 in Colorado Springs.
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