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Science

The CATS Academy Science Department has seven teachers, each with years of teaching experience and a wealth of content expertise, including four PhDs. The Science Department uses hands-on laboratory exercises and interactive project-based learning. 

  • Museum of Science
  • Museum of Science
  • CATS Academy students at a talk by Chemistry PhD students at MIT
  • CATS Academy students at a talk by Chemistry PhD students at MIT

Science electives

ESL General Science

This course covers a broad survey of science topics. Over the course of a year, you will look at three broad units on the fundamental concepts and vocabulary of chemistry, physics, and biology and you will engage in developing the skills of science; including − making observations, forming questions and hypotheses, conducting experiments and research, analyzing results, and presenting conclusions in both written and oral formats. Prerequisite: enrollment in ESL Level 2.

Biology College Prep

College Prep Biology gives a general overview of topics in biology as well as the practice of science in general. Through coursework, you will study classical biology content as well as recent developments in the field. Instructors integrate hands-on activities, seminar-style discussions, group work, and direct instruction. Topics include – inquiry and the scientific method, life fundamentals and biochemistry, cell structure and function, heredity, molecular genetics, the human body and homeostasis, human reproduction and development, evolution, and ecology. Prerequisites: Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New students: placement test.

Biology Honors

Honors Biology is one-year course and we take a hands-on, collaborative approach to projects and experiments. Topics include − cellular structure and functions, genetic materials and regulation, ecosystems, energy cycles and habitat conservation, and evolution of organisms and their physiology. By the conclusion of this course you should not only be able to understand processes of biology, but be able to think like a scientist, design experiments, and problem-solve as a group. Prerequisites: ESL level 3 or higher. Returning students: recommendation of previous teacher. New students: placement test.

Biotechnology

This course utilizes lecture, discussion, and project-based work. You will investigate and learn about using biological systems to produce goods, technologies and innovations that help medicine and society deal with living organisms. Specific topics include DNA techniques, utilization of proteins and enzymes, genetic manipulation, and the impact on the industry that these innovations provide. This is a one-semester course and also a CATS Innovation course. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; instructor approval.

Chemistry College Prep

This class is an introduction to chemistry and problem-solving and is offered for students with rudimentary English. You will gain a good understanding of the methods and principles of modern chemistry and develop strong analytical problem-solving skills. Course topics include − states of matter, atomic theory, the periodicity of elements, chemical bonding, stoichiometry, intermolecular forces and physical changes in matter, gas laws, thermodynamics, kinetics and equilibrium, acids and bases, and oxidation-reduction. Prerequisites: ESL Level 2 or higher. Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New Students: placement test.

Chemistry Honors

Chemistry Honors is a challenging college-preparatory course that studies the physical structure of matter, its interactions through chemical reactions, and the role of energy in these interactions. Classroom discussions, group activities, demonstrations, practice in analytical problem solving, and laboratory investigations are emphasized throughout this course and you will gain a good understanding of the methods and principles of modern chemistry. You will be eligible to take AP Chemistry or Biology and the SAT II subject test in Chemistry. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; previous Algebra experience. Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New Students: placement test.

Environmental Science College Prep

The goal of the Environmental Science course is to provide you with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world. You focus and work towards identifying and analyzing environmental problems. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course approaches themes including − energy conversions; earth as one interconnected system; human alterations of natural systems; environmental problems framed in a cultural and social context; and the development of practices aimed at achieving sustainable systems. This is a one-semester course, also a CATS Innovation course. Prerequisites: Returning students: Recommendation of previous instructor. New students: placement test.

Genetics Honors

In this Honors-level course, we introduce you to a more in-depth subfield of biology and take a comprehensive approach to learn content and cutting-edge technology. You will work together on projects and laboratory experiments to understand topics such as inheritance, DNA and RNA, mutations and disease, forensics, epigenetics and gene regulation, genome sequencing, evolution, bioinformatics, and population genetics. Upon completion of the course, you will have a greater understanding of both the general aspects of genetics and the specific skills and problem- solving required of genetic research in a laboratory. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher. Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New Students: placement test.

Physics College Prep

This class is for students experiencing challenges in English Language (ESL). Physics College Prep covers topics including − kinematics, forces, work, energy, power, circular motion and orbits, momentum, torque, and possibly an introduction to advanced topics. You will be encouraged to exercise independent thought in carrying out and devising laboratory experiments and solve word-based problems involving physical quantities, while using techniques from geometry, trigonometry, and algebra. Prerequisites: ESL Level 2 or higher and current enrollment in Algebra II or higher. Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New students: placement test.

Physics Honors

Honors Physics is a challenging introduction to physical reasoning. In this course, you will study concepts including momentum, energy, forces, simple harmonic motion, and waves, along with how these concepts relate to one another. These topics overlap with those in College Prep Physics, yet this class goes into greater depth at a faster pace. You will also have the opportunity to research notable scientists and gain an introduction to ideas from relativity and quantum physics. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; current enrollment in Pre- calculus or higher. Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New students: placement test.

Big Data

This elective CATS Innovation course introduces you to the idea of Big Data – a phrase used to collectively refer to large datasets made possible only recently due to the advent of digital tools such as smartphones, Facebook, Twitter, and Google. These digital tools allow us to quantitatively analyze human behavior on an unprecedented scale. The course includes an introductory survey of the results of big data analysis along the lines of key findings and informative visualizations, as well as introductory exercises for doing the analysis. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; B or higher in ESL Level 2 and math from previous year; Algebra II; science placement test.

Advanced Placement electives

AP Chemistry

Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry is the equivalent of a first-year college-level chemistry class, going into greater depth than the College Prep and Honors courses, in areas such as − chemical reaction mechanisms, chemical equilibrium, reaction rates, acid-base chemistry, and electrochemistry. The laboratory portion of AP Chemistry introduces students to a variety of analytic chemistry techniques and makes use of the Vernier LabQuest Data collection system. All students are required to take the AP Chemistry exam in May. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; A- or above in College Prep Chemistry or B+ or higher in Honors Chemistry; concurrent enrollment in Pre-Calculus or above. Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New students: placement test.

AP Biology

Advanced Placement (AP) Biology is a year-long intensive course, which mirrors a college-level, introductory biology course. The curriculum is based on four big ideas called 'enduring understandings', which can be distilled down to evolution, energy flow, genetics and heredity, interactions and ecology. You will spend about 30 percent of the class time performing in labs, which give you experience with everything from animal behavior to mathematical modelling to advanced biotechnology techniques. You will prepare to take the AP Biology exam a the end of the year. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; A- or higher in College Prep Biology or Honors Biology at CATS or another American school. Returning students: recommendation of current or previous instructor. New Students: placement test.

AP Environmental Science

The Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science course is the equivalent of a one-semester, introductory college course in environmental science. AP Environmental Science includes geology, biology, environmental studies, chemistry, physics, and geography. AP Environmental is a rigorous course that stresses scientific principles and analysis and includes a laboratory component. Topics include climate change, agriculture, biomes, weather, and the interaction of humans with our planet. This is an Advanced Placement class, and you are required to take the AP exam at the end of the course. Prerequisites: Biology, ESL level 4 or higher.

AP Physics C: Mechanics

Advanced Placement (AP) Physics C: Mechanics is an Advanced Placement course taught at a college level. This is a laboratory-based course and you will spend about a quarter of your time on laboratory experiments. Topics that are covered in Physics AP C include − kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; and oscillations and gravitation. Prerequisites: ESL Level 3 or higher; A- or higher in College Prep Physics or B+ in Honors Physics at CATS or another American school; previously completed or currently enrolled in Calculus. Returning students: recommendation of previous instructor. New students: placement test.

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

Advanced Placement Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism is a course taught at college level and includes the use of calculus. This course is the successor course to AP Physics C: Mechanics, covering a similar level of difficulty but with completely new content. This is a laboratory-based course, and students are expected to spend about a quarter of their time on laboratory experiments. Topics that are covered in Physics AP C: Electricity and Magnetism include − electric fields; electrical potential; flux; Ohm’s Law, current, resistance; Lorentz force, resistance and capacitors in circuits; and electromagnetic induction and inductors. Prerequisites: AP Physics C: Mechanics. Exceptions allowed with approval of instructor if students have had calculus and Honors Physics or higher in the past.

Faculty

Joel Tenenbaum
Science Department Chair,
Physics & Math Teacher
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Joel Tenenbaum

Science Department Chair,
Physics & Math Teacher

BA, Mathematics & Physics, Goucher College
MAPhD, Boston University
MA, Teaching Licensure in Mathematics & Physics with Shelter English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement

Joel has over 11 years’ of experience in teaching physics, chemistry and statistics. After completing his doctoral thesis, he taught at Boston University's Questrom School of Business on the MBA program. He also acted as mentor for BUILD Boston, helping inner-city students become college-eligible. He has coached Math Club at CATS for three years, with nine students winning awards and some leading to scholarships at nationally ranked universities. He leads Research Club, at CATS, engaging students in a hands-on scientific environment. The project is guided by meetings with Harvard Medical School and culminates in a trip to New York as part of the NetSci High Program.

Leila Bradley
Biology Teacher
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Leila Bradley

Biology Teacher

PhD, Developmental Neurobiology, National Institute for Medical Research

Leila Bradley provides instruction in the Biological sciences from College Preparatory through to Advanced Placement as well as teaching highly topical electives such as Genetics and Biotechnology. Prior to joining CATS Academy, Leila taught at the Newman School in Boston. Leila received her PhD in Developmental Neurobiology at the National Institute for Medical Research and performed her postdoctoral training at the Whitehead Institute, MIT. Her academic research culminated in a faculty position at University College London Medical School in 2001.

Jason Feldstein
Science Teacher
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Jason Feldstein

Science Teacher

BA, Physics, Brooklyn College
BA, Film and Television, Tisch School of the Arts
MA, Cinema Studies, New York University

In the past Jason has taught Honors and CP Physics as well as Honors and AP Statistics. He currently teaches Honors Physics and AP Physics C Mechanics as well as running the film club. Before joining CATS Academy Jason Feldstein completed a Bachelor's Degree in Physics at Brooklyn College. He worked for two years as a Physics Tutor at the Brooklyn College Learning Center. Prior to his Physics degree, Jason obtained a Bachelor's degree in Film and Television from the Tisch School of the Arts as well as a Master's degree in Cinema Studies from New York University.

Gholamreza Namin
Chemistry & Physics Teacher
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Gholamreza Namin

Chemistry & Physics Teacher

PhD Math & Science Education, Brown University
BSc & MEd, Chemistry & Mathematics from Worcester State University

Dr Namin has fourteen years’ experience as a teacher and administrator. He provides individualized attention to each student, empowering them with the knowledge and skills necessary for their transition to higher education. He has received nominations for the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and the Presidential Excellence in Teaching. He is a former Professional Soccer Player and was named New England Coach of the Year in NCAA Division. He completed his post-doctoral studies at Harvard University School of Education and holds a PhD in Mathematics & Science Education and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Leadership & Educational Administration.