Ninth graders are enrolled in Foundations of Science, a yearlong course in chemical theory, laboratory practice, and the scientific method. It combines collaborative investigations of the molecular world, hands-on laboratory training, Design Thinking applied to experimental design, rigorous scientific writing, and substantial individual research into a dynamic course that lays the foundation for science work at the Nueva Upper School. The year-long biology course that follows applies the chemistry taught in grade 9 to living systems. The class explores topics surrounding the nature of science, biochemistry, molecular genetics, ecology, genetics, and evolution. Students are engaged in hands-on learning of the content through practices that scientists use daily in discovering knowledge — asking questions, designing and carrying out experiments, interpreting the results, and communicating their results to others. Throughout these two years, students learn to plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, and communicate information effectively.
Upper School students are given the opportunity to select science courses that inspire them. This can be any advanced course or elective that they have the qualifying prerequisites for, which include Advanced Experimental Design Analysis, Environmental Earth Science, Advanced Mechanics, Applied Molecular Biology, Drug Design, Experimental Bioorganic Chemistry, Experimental Physical and Inorganic Chemistry, Mechanisms of Cancer, Neuroscience of Addiction, Physics, Modern Physics, or Physics Research.