Back to Learning Catalog



Estimated Completion Time

2 segments / 36 weeks


This two-segment course is designed as an interactive introduction to basic physics and chemistry. Topics include forces and motion, energy through waves, electricity, magnetism, the matter around us, chemical bonding, and reactions. This course is designed to serve as a foundation for the study of the physical sciences. Students use scientific inquiry and higher-order problem-solving as they explore these topics through interactive simulations and both virtual and hands-on experiences. In addition, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts are integrated throughout the course. Collaborative projects and real-world aid the student in ultimately demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the physical and chemical properties of the world around them.

Note: Exact content varies depending on the course version. For currently enrolled students, please refer to the syllabus located in the course information area for curriculum specifics.


Major Topics and Concepts

Module 1

  • Motion Pretest
  • The Study of Science
  • Speed, Velocity, and Acceleration
  • Honors: Speed, Velocity, and Acceleration
  • The Laws of Motion
  • Honors: The Laws of Motion
  • Forces in Action
  • Energy
  • Work and Power
  • Motion Discussion-Based Assessment
  • Motion Exam

Module 2

  • Waves Pretest
  • Waves
  • Sound
  • Honors: Sound
  • The Electromagnetic Spectrum — The Visible
  • The Electromagnetic Spectrum — The Non–Visible
  • Science and You
  • Waves Discussion-Based Assessment
  • Waves Exam

Module 3

  • Electricity Pretest
  • Electrical Charges
  • Electric Current
  • Circuits
  • Electromagnetism
  • Energy Resources
  • Human Impacts on the Environment
  • Electricity Discussion-Based Assessment
  • Electricity Exam
  • Segment One Exam

Module 4

  • Classifying Matter Pretest
  • States of Matter
  • Classifying Matter
  • Properties of Matter
  • Atomic Theory
  • Honors: Atomic Theory
  • Properties of Atoms
  • The Periodic Table of Elements
  • Classifying Matter Discussion-Based Assessment
  • Classifying Matter Exam

Module 5

  • Chemical Properties Pretest
  • Electrons and Bonding
  • Ionic and Covalent Bonds
  • Chemical Formulas
  • Hydrogen Hydroxide
  • Acids and Bases
  • Lab Time: Acid and Base Indicators
  • Chemical Properties Discussion-Based Assessment
  • Chemical Properties Exam

Module 6

  • Reactions Pretest
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Classifying Chemical Reactions
  • Chemical Reactions and Energy
  • Honors: Chemical Reactions and Energy
  • Reaction Rates and Temperature Laboratory
  • Radioactivity
  • Nuclear Reactions
  • Honors: Regulating Nuclear Power
  • Impact of Biotechnology
  • Reactions Discussion-Based Assessment
  • Reactions Exam

*Collaborative project: Students are required to submit one collaborative project in segment 2. There will be three different options throughout the segment to choose from.



Each competency will be addressed through a project that is based on a real-life career task. Here are the careers you will explore: Wildland Firefighter, Weather Channel Reporter, Electromechanical Engineer, Environmental Health & Safety Specialist, Soil Scientist, and Science Editor.



Estimated Completion Time

32-36 weeks


Please review the competency statements on the right to learn the major topics and concepts covered in this offering.



Projects allow students to demonstrate their understanding of concepts and skills by completing a job-related task. The assignment might be to create a mural, a package design, a speech, a film review, or a movie set – you name it! These creative projects are about applying your learning acquired through in-depth research to real-world career tasks.



Experiences allow you to explore a career field you’re curious about while mastering competencies for school credit. Through experiential learning, you will learn skills and apply these skills to tasks you would complete as part of a career, rather than completing traditional assessments like essays or tests. During your experience, you’ll work with a professional in the field to support your learning. You’ll earn a badge for your accomplishments, which you can share on social media and higher education platforms, or with colleges, potential employers, peers, and/or colleagues to display your qualifications.

Here’s how experiences work:

  1. Each competency you work on is addressed through a separate deliverable predetermined by you and your instructor.
  2. Guided learning for each module consists of research and/or work with a professional in the field. Your instructor will coach you through this process.
  3. Each module culminates in a final demonstration of understanding, which includes a deliverable and a discussion-based assessment with your instructor.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’re curious about a career in healthcare. You decide you’d like to learn about this career area, make a professional connection, earn a badge and earn competencies for your 9th grade English requirement. While enrolled in English 1 Experiences, you conduct research to better understand language and structure in writing. Then, you work with an Occupational Therapist who helps you apply this understanding to the creation of an informational video. The video aims to advise the family members of patients regarding adaptive equipment and accommodations to help them support their family members as they go about their daily tasks. You’ve earned the Language and Structure in Writing competency! (This is just one example of the many ways experiences can bridge competencies to careers.)

*A parent/guardian permission form and background check of the outside expert are required for students to work with outside experts without parental supervision.


*Please have an idea for an outside expert in mind prior to enrollment or consult with our counseling department by emailing [email protected] prior to enrollment for support identifying one.

Credits 1

Competency Group Overview

This offering may only be completed through courses or projects and meets physical science graduation requirements. Select either the "Courses" or "Projects" buttons for a more detailed description of these options.


  • Motion
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of motion by describing elements of motion, explaining forces and friction, describing momentum, and differentiating forms of energy.
  • Waves
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of waves by summarizing the properties of waves, describing characteristics of mechanical waves, and explaining components of electromagnetic waves.
  • Electricity
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of electricity by describing electrical charges, describing electrical current and circuits, explaining electromagnetism, and comparing energy resources.
  • Classifying Matter
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of classifying matter by explaining the states of matter, describing properties of matter, and describing the properties of atoms.
  • Chemical Properties
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of chemical properties by relating electrons and bonding, explaining chemical formulas, and describing properties of acids and bases.
  • Chemical Reactions
    Students will demonstrate an understanding of chemical reactions by describing chemical reaction classification, explaining energy and reaction rates, and describing radioactivity.


Recommended for grades 9-12.


Course: To complete the honors version of this offering, you must discuss this with your instructor during your welcome call.

Projects: Honors credit is awarded by earning "Exceeds" on all rubric assessments.

Attend a virtual open house

We offer regular online open house webinars where VLACS staff members provide parents and students with an overview of our programs and answer questions about online learning.