Science not only studies the natural world but it also adds to and changes that world. It will continue to change the world in the future.  Therefore we believe that the study and understanding of Science is an important component in the education of every student at Rutgers Prep.  Some students will directly create our future world as working scientists. Other students will enter different occupations, but as world citizens, they will participate in the political and economic processes that encourage or limit scientific exploration.  The products of scientific research will affect everyone and everyone will affect scientific research.

We believe all students need to understand what scientists do, how they work, and how they communicate and resolve disagreements.  To understand the life of scientists, students need to read about science, they need to perform science, and they need to think about science.

Science courses should expose students to the history of scientific progress in order to appreciate the effort and time that created the knowledge base we enjoy today.  The courses should expose all students to a part of the massive amount of knowledge and skills available to us today as a result of that history.  Courses should excite all students about the future of scientific research and foster discussions about how best to use the new information and technologies that are being discovered.

Familiarity with science is a result of work in several areas:

  • Students must practice direct observation of their world.  They should ask questions, design experiments, analyze data and evaluate hypotheses.
  • Students must practice reading, understanding, and evaluating scientific literature.
  • Students must practice searching through information sources, challenging ideas and engaging in discussion and debate.
  • They must practice creating and interpreting quantitative data (for example—graphs).
  • They must read about the past, examine the present and imagine the future.


Graduation Requirements

Two years of a lab science are required.  One year must be a life science (Biology) and one year must be a physical science (ICP or Chemistry or Physics).  Advanced study is strongly advised.


Course Offerings

  • Foundations in Science
  • Introduction to Chemistry and Physics
  • Biology
  • Honors Biology
  • AP Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Honors Chemistry
  • AP Chemistry
  • Student Research in Molecular Biology
  • Advanced Student Research in Molecular Biology
  • Physics
  • AP Physics
  • Topics in Psychology
  • Topics in Organic Chemistry
  • Topics in Microbiology
  • Topics in Astronomy
  • Topics in Meteorology
  • Topics in Forensic Science
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Environmental Science

Co-curricular Activities

Our classes have recently been visited by:

  • Penelope Moore of the NJ State Crime Lab
  • John Osborne, a Forensics Document examiner
  • Dr. Patricia Wright, an international authority on Madagascan lemurs

Field Trips

In recent years, our classes have visited:

  • Morris County Crime Lab
  • Somerset County Investigative Services Lab
  • Liberty Science Center
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Great Adventure (Physics Day)
  • NJ Chemistry Olympics
  • Caldwell College CSI Forensics Competition

Student Accomplishments:

  • NJ Star Ledger Mort Pye Scholar
  • NJ Governor’s School in Math and Science
  • NJ Governor’s School on the Environment
  • NJ Governor’s School in Engineering and Technology
  • Liberty Science Center Partner’s in Science
  • Original DNA research on Artemia at the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University
  • Original DNA research on duckweed at the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University
  • NJ Chemistry Olympics  (Section winner)
  • Internship in human development at Rutgers University
  • Sustainability club (Environmental club) has raised funds to participate in the EPA auction of SOx pollution credits.  Over three years they have purchased (and will retire) the right to release 5 tons of SOx into the atmosphere.

Faculty Professional Development Activities and Achievements:

Ralph Avella (Department Chair) has earned three “best teacher” awards as voted by Rutgers Prep seniors and faculty.  He attended a Hurricane Katrina workshop at Rutgers University.

Dr. Jill Cooper is a reader for the AP Psychology National Exam, and authored a chapter entitled "A Brief Romance with Magic Bullets:  Rene Dubos at the Dawn of the Antibiotic Era" which appeared in Silent Victories: The History and Practice of Public Health in Twentieth-Century America published by Oxford University Press in 2007.

Graig Domanski attended the NJAIS (New Jersey Association of Independent Schools) Blueprint For Leadership Institute and studied sustainability issues at “Earthship” in Taos, New Mexico.

Dr. Allan Furtek recently attended a week-long conference at Princeton University on "Recent Advances in Materials Science,” as well as the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston.  He stays on top of the latest developments in physics by taking summer courses at Rutgers University.

Jacque Lamb served as a mentor for Rutgers Prep’s recent Mort Pye-NJ Star Ledger Scholar as well as two student semifinalists in the Siemen’s Talent competition.  She was recently honored as the most outstanding graduate student in Chemistry at Montclair State University.

Dr. Valerie Pierce presented on “Practical uses of Technology in Education” at NJSTA (New Jersey Science Teachers Association) and NJAIS (New Jersey Association of Independent Schools) conferences, and she attended an international “Technology in Education” workshop in France.


Website Links of Interest

Link to work being done by RPS student research class working with the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University

Dr. Pierce's Biology classes contributions to the “Tree of Life”

Nobel Prize history and some really fun (and instructional) “Educational Games”

Astounding animations of molecules and organelles inside your cells

Maybe not really a science site but you can do some good by learning some vocabulary

Meteorology fun tracking weather systems

Astronomy fun

Fascinating to search the NY Times especially on Science Tuesday

Mendeleyev’s periodic table was never this interesting

Pod cast about Chemistry in the kitchen

Our students loved this molecular Biology Rap