Upper School


Science is a verb here.

At CA, there are no science bystanders. Here, science is all about student-powered discovery. About learning to think like a scientist. About immersive, hands-on labs that empower you to put classroom concepts into real-world practice. About learning science by actually doing science.

Get ready to don your lab coat as a practicing scientist. You’ll run simulations; make, deploy, and test scientific models; collect and analyze data; and make meaning out of your observations (perhaps even adding your own contributions to a growing field of knowledge).

You might sequence the DNA of local fauna in biology class. Watch high-energy particles move in real-time in a cloud chamber in chemistry. Bend a brick wall with a single finger in physics. Develop an actionable sustainability plan for CA in environmental science. Model medical manufacturing by culturing research strains of E. coli to create a recombinant organism in biotech.

There is no forced sequence of courses, no one-size-fits-all classes. In our introductory classes, across biology, chemistry, and physics, you will have opportunities to access and engage with each discipline in different ways, choosing the approach that feels most relevant and interesting to you.

Fulfill your introductory bio requirement by taking molecular biology—you’ll investigate the inner workings of a single cell, working your way up to the chemical reactions that lead to multicellular organisms. Or opt instead for our ecological biology class, focusing first on the big biological picture, the biosphere, and working down to the smallest ecosystem, the cell.

Broaden your understanding of physics through a class dedicated to the in-depth exploration of waves, electricity, and light. Or shed your misconceptions while building the structure of Newton's Theory from the ground up in one of our two mechanics classes. (Hang on to your capacitors, our advanced topics in physics class offers a collegiate-level experience in a small setting that promotes deeper discussion.)

In chemistry, explore particles by investigating the behavior of gases, energy flow, phase changes, states of matter, and more. Or select a more interactive framework focused on organic molecules and biochemistry, intermolecular forces, and periodic trends.

Discover a passion? Intriguing questions that beg closer examination? In your junior and senior years, you’ll have opportunities to dive deeper with diverse advanced courses, topical electives, and independent studies. You’ll have opportunities to engage in year-long research projects, to broaden your explorations into emerging fields like environmental science and biotechnology, or to become a teaching assistant or lab technician.

And when your scientific interests grow beyond the classroom (and we can almost guarantee that they will), we have ample extra- and co-curricular offerings—from our award-winning Science Olympiad and United States Association of Young Physicists’ Tournament teams to our accomplished robotics teams to various student sustainability clubs–that will allow you to flex your skills, test concepts, and pursue your passions.

Throughout, you’ll be developing crucial scientific literacy skills—critical thinking, effective communication of complex ideas, the ability to defend scientific claims with evidence, data interpretation, and familiarity with sound scientific methods—that are necessary to become a discerning global citizen who appreciates the evolution of scientific ideas and their impact on society.

Upper School

Upper School