The Rochelle Zell Jewish High School Science Department challenges students to explore the world around them in a traditional biology, chemistry, and physics program. All Rochelle Zell students are required to complete three years of science, and most choose to continue on for a fourth year. Rochelle Zell science classes focus on scientific literacy, inquiry, and research techniques, using hands-on activities and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. Whether in the classroom or on the basketball court, Rochelle Zell students are taught to apply the principles they are learning to phenomena in their everyday lives.
The Rochelle Zell science program seeks to bring science outside the classroom whenever possible. Our students participate in citywide and national science and engineering competitions. They engage in independent research and present their findings in poster sessions and demonstrations. Typical assignments involve students measuring their own blood pressure, evaluating the actual calorie content of their favorite snack food, and measuring the coefficient of friction provided by their sneakers. Rochelle Zell teachers seek to lead by example, spreading the notion that science is relevant to everyone’s lives-and what’s more, it is downright cool!
Exposing students to the best that high school research has to offer, the Rochelle Zell science labs incorporate classic experiments with the latest technology. Some of the highlights of our lab program include gel electrophoresis in biology, spectrophotometry in chemistry, and the photoelectric effect in physics. Rochelle Zell students learn to collect data on LabPro sensors, and use data analysis techniques on Graphical Analysis and Microsoft Excel.
Rochelle Zell offers a comprehensive four year science program guided by the following objectives:
-Development of scientific literacy
-Commitment to the experimental process
-Expertise with lab techniques and technology
-Expertise with mathematical formulas and data analysis methods
-Scientific writing via reports, poster sessions, and other presentation formats
-Scientific presentation skills to both scientific and general audiences
All freshmen begin together with biology, a molecular-based curriculum incorporating units on cellular structures, plant life, human systems, and basic genetics. In a heterogeneous environment, students learn lab techniques and basic scientific skills that will prepare them for more advanced work.
Chemistry, the next course in the sequence, includes significant figures and measurement, reaction writing, the behavior of atoms and molecules, gas laws, thermochemistry, atomic structure, bonding, chemical and physical properties, and equilibrium. At this point students may choose the honors option, which incorporates a more extensive laboratory experience and requires a higher level of problem solving. In chemistry, students refine their experimental techniques and data analysis, writing more extensive observations and lab reports.
Junior physics begins with a semester of mechanics, then continues on with electricity and magnetism, sound waves, and electromagnetic wave behavior. Students interested in more intensive mathematical content may choose the honors option. Physics labs include more computer simulations and open-ended laboratory investigations, as well as graphical analysis techniques; students are also given the opportunity to engage in independent research on topics of their choice. The climax of this program is the annual Rochelle Zell Physics Expo, where students stage their films, demonstrations.
Students have a variety of choices for their fourth year of science. They may take a second year of life science in Human Anatomy and Physiology, with lab work including blood typing and some dissection. Rochelle Zell also offers Advanced Honors Biology, AP Chemistry, and the calculus-based AP Physics C. Course offerings vary from year to year.
Did You Know:
Interest in science runs high through all four years at Rochelle Zell. Students are proud of their many achievements and of the insights they have developed into the scientific process and the world around them. Enrollment is high in AP science courses, as are top scores on the respective exams. Scientific topics come up in Hebrew, math, and history classes. Rochelle Zell students’ level of enthusiasm about science is a testament to the quality of our program.
Rochelle Zell participates in QuarkNet, a national organization of high schools doing cosmic ray research in conjunction with local universities and national laboratories. The Rochelle Zell delegation has just finished work on our own cosmic ray detector and our students are set to start calibrating it and running experiments this year!
Rochelle Zell students regularly participate in the National Chemistry Olympiad and the American Chemical Society Scholarship Competition, winning scholarships and placements in both.
"Clearly, there are the lessons that are in our textbooks, like algebra, chemistry and Spanish. But at RZJHS, we also learned essential midot, or values, such as diligence and morality, that you can’t find in a textbook."