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Heterogeneous Chemistry

In line with our belief statements generated by the science department and after considerable review of research and course offerings in a variety of communities, the Westwood Science Department has elected to combine level 2 and level 3 chemistry into a heterogeneously grouped course beginning in 2023-24.  We believe this will be a positive change in our chemistry classes that will directly benefit our students’ educational experience.

We believe that students will still participate in active, student-centered learning while differentiating instruction to provide an appropriately challenging diverse learning environment.  This change is designed to foster deeper curiosity, resilience, and joy of discovery in every student.

Here's how we envision this change enhancing our chemistry offerings: 

  1. Student-Centered Learning: By nurturing individual learning styles in diverse classrooms, we can better spark curiosity, encourage academic risks, and strengthen tenacity among our students.

  2. Collaborative Discovery: Students learn better together. Our mixed-ability classrooms will foster interactive discussions and real-world investigations that will enrich students' understanding of scientific concepts.

  3. Challenging & Fun: Science should be exciting and inspiring! The diversity in our new classrooms will amplify this, making every lesson a thrilling journey into the heart of science.

  4. Informed & Responsible Citizens: By making science approachable and relatable, we aim to empower our students to become scientifically literate individuals, ready to tackle global issues with informed perspectives.

  5. Productive Collaboration: This move aligns with our goal to enhance collaboration, creating more innovative instruction and offering richer learning experiences for our students.

Our goal is not just to teach science, but to inspire our students to approach life scientifically. We believe these diverse classrooms will ensure rigorous academic standards while promoting inclusivity and holistic student development.


Chemistry Courses

CHEMISTRY                         6 per cycle – 6 credits

4031                                             10th grade 


Prerequisite: B or better in Algebra level 1 and Geometry 2021 or instructor’s recommendation.


This course is designed for the college-bound student seeking a thorough understanding of introductory chemical principles. Such a student must have demonstrated a strong ability and interest in science and mathematics. Substantial independent work is expected. The course will develop the modern atomic and kinetic theories to explain properties of elements and compounds, the three states of matter and chemical reactions. Selected topics to be studied are gasses, the mole concept, atomic structure, chemical bonding, principles of chemical reactions, molecular structure, acids and bases, and descriptive chemistry.


CHEMISTRY                       6 per cycle – 6 credits

4032                                             10th grade 


Prerequisite: C+ or better in Algebra (2011/2012) and concurrently enrolled in Algebra II or Geometry.


This course is primarily intended for the college-bound student who may not plan to major in the field of chemistry. The curriculum uses modeling instruction, which emphasizes active student construction of conceptual and mathematical models. Major topics covered include the SI system of measurement, the chemical and physical properties of the elements including periodicity, chemical reactions, and basic stoichiometry. The characteristics and behavior of acids and bases, solutions, liquids, and gasses will also be discussed.


CHEMISTRY                     6 per cycle – 6 credits

4033                                         10th grade 


Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of Algebra.


This course offers a survey of basic chemistry principles. It meets the laboratory science and chemistry requirements for students entering college. Topics covered are: history of chemistry, periodic nature of matter, elementary chemical calculations, chemical and physical properties, nuclear reactions, the world in which we live and the applications of chemistry in everyday life.


AP CHEMISTRY                       7 per cycle – 6 credits

4241                     10th grade - 12th grade  



Grade 11-12: B or better in Honors Chemistry 4031. 

Grade 10: Enrollment is by science chair invitation only for sophomores.                 


This course is comparable to a first year college chemistry course offered at many colleges and universities for students aspiring for careers in science, medicine, or engineering. Students receiving a passing grade on the AP Chemistry Exam may receive college credit or a course waiver in Chemistry. The course provides a systematic study of the structure of matter, chemical bonding, states of matter, chemical reactions, thermodynamics, and descriptive chemistry. Laboratory investigations are designed to complement classroom work. Juniors or seniors may take the course after having taken L1 or L2 chemistry along with a teacher recommendation and science department chair's permission.  After quantitative and qualitative analysis of progress within the curriculum and social-emotional wellbeing, sophomores are not permitted to override into this course.  


It is expected that students enrolled in this course will take the AP exam.

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