Vision - Beauty - Talent
Our vision is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who positively impact the world through high-quality science education that builds intercultural understanding and respect.
Our mission is to provide a rigorous science curriculum which promotes the growth of active, compassionate and lifelong learners. Our inquiry-driven courses provide opportunities for students to make observations about the world around them, conduct experiments, collect data, and use scientific reasoning and analysis to draw and support conclusions. Students develop scientific literacy skills and gain core scientific content knowledge as they make connections to other disciplines and work collaboratively with peers. Through science courses at Wilson, students are supported in their progress toward the completion of A-G requirements for high school graduation and college admission, while also developing an appreciation for science and a passion for learning and discovery.
What Distinguishes the Science Department?
We focus on the development of students as independent learners. At Wilson, students guide their own exploration of science questions through the inquiry process. As educators we are committed to offering students opportunities to apply their learning in the classroom to real-world creative problem-solving.
These opportunities include:
Hands-On Lab Activities
Research-Grade Biotechnology Program
Connection with Partner Organizations
Volunteer and Service Opportunities
We were closely alongside several partner organizations which support our students’ learning and provide opportunities for community connection and real-world application of content.
North East Trees is a community-based, non-profit organization that designs and builds parks, and creates green space and water conservation projects throughout Los Angeles. Students partner with the organization to plant thousands of native trees, grasses and perennials. The goal of this partnership is to restore Ascot Hills Park’s native Californian flora and fauna and increase the native tree canopy to reduce soil erosion on hillside slopes while increasing habitat for native animals and improving air and water quality.
The Ascot Hills Park Green Team is comprised of volunteers who work to enhance and restore the natural park environment and maintain hillside hiking trails. Involved students participate in service opportunities Saturday a month removing invasive plants (such as tumbleweed, castor bean, and black mustard) and performing trail maintenance at the park.
Amgen Biotech Experience is an innovative science education program that introduces students to the excitement of scientific discovery and builds bridges between school and the real-life biosciences. The program provides Wilson students and educators with thousands of dollars of research-grade equipment to perform a 3-week in-classroom laboratory investigation through which students produce glow-in-the dark bacteria through genetically modification with a sea anemone gene.
The science department seeks to provide students with the opportunity to observe and experience science in action in the community at large through field trip opportunities. Some notable field trips include those offered by the the Environmental Science Academy such as the Science Center (9th grade), Los Angeles Zoo (10th grade), and Beach Cleanup (12th grade). The STEAM UP SLC also takes students on an annual Yosemite trip planned around ecology, history, and sustainability. Students stay in heated tent cabins and participate in hiking and other outings.
Biology: In this course students explore structure and function, energy and ecosystems, heredity, and evolution. AP Biology students will expand their learning further through exploration of more advanced topics like cell communication and gene regulation. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on lab activities such as dissection, transformation, or gel electrophoresis.
Chemistry: In this course students explore matter and its interactions, energy, and Earth’s systems. AP Chemistry students will expand their learning further through exploration of more advanced topics like acid and base reactions, and applications of thermodynamics. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on lab activities such as calorimetry, titration, or redox reactions.
Physics: In this course students explore forces and interactions, waves, and Earth’s place in the universe. AP Physics students will expand their learning further through exploration of more advanced topics like torque, circuits, and harmonic motion. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on lab activities such as building marble roller coasters, egg drop, or designing bridges.
Environmental Science: In this course students explore energy and resources, human impacts on Earth systems, and global climate change. AP/IB Environmental Science students will expand their learning further through exploration of more advanced topics like biodiversity and atmospheric pollution. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on lab activities such as building ecocolumns, growing plants, and monitoring soil.
Interactions: This is a unique course combining multiple scientific disciplines. Why do clothes stick together when they come out of the dryer? How is it that a tiny spark can trigger an explosion? Working from these and other questions, students start their explorations by asking their own questions and discussing what they already know. They observe phenomena, engage in hands-on activities and use online simulations to collect evidence. From their evidence, they construct models of the forces that drive interesting phenomena and test their models by predicting future events. The Interactions course introduces students to science as an endeavor, a process we engage in, rather than solely a set of discoveries by others.
Sci Tech and Research (I and II): In these courses students explore Plant and Soil Sciences and Wildlife Management through hands-on activities and guided research. Students develop an understanding of functional soil and its properties and explore the propagation of plants. Students are focusing on roses and milkweed to attract monarch butterflies, growing plants starting from seed, and planting on the hillsides above the Phoenix Center on Wilson property as well as in Ascot Hills Park. Students also explore the resource management of wildlife, including the availability of clean water, air, and other resources.
Zoology and Fundamentals of Animal Studies: Zoology is the study of animal life. Students learn about animal anatomy, physiology and genetics, and explore animal habitats and behavior. This elective course is ideal for students considering a career in health or animal sciences.
Forensics: In this course students explore the process of crime scene investigation including the collection and analysis of samples including fingerprinting, DNA sequencing, and blood samples. Students analyze data, conduct research, and participate in a variety of hands-on activities. This elective course is ideal for students considering a career in law enforcement, criminal investigation, or laboratory work.
Physiology: In this course students explore the anatomy, and physiology of human organ systems. Students learn the structure and function of the human body, explore health and nutrition, and gain an understanding the diseases and disorders that may affect different body systems. This elective course is ideal for students considering a career in health sciences.
Faculty Members of Science
Michael Vanegas (Department Chair), Kevin Bryan, Elise Espinosa, Michael Jiang, Ronnah Lazo, Manuel Navas, Anthony Orozco, Randall Saisho, Sedige Sajadi, Paul Valenzuela, Deborah Wang