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High School 101 (Part One)

Hello there, ninth graders and prep classes! You're very welcome to our school and we're glad to see you among us. You can find all of the academic information -and also Fuat Can Teacher's "Social Life in High School" corner - you need before starting your high school life. I would like to thank again all our teachers who volunteered to work with us, Today the 50th team. So, I hope you enjoy your reading.

Biology - Serhat Taşlıca

What is biology, how do you teach your lesson, and what awaits students in the ninth grade?

If we look at the meaning of the word, “bio” means life, and “logy” means science; the science of life. Biology is the branch of science that classifies the characteristics of living things and investigates the events between living things and how life emerges. As a lesson, we usually start with certain concepts and sometimes discuss the concept. Then we talk about general facts and discuss exceptions. Students meet biology for the first time in the ninth grade. First, we start from the substances that make living things alive, at the molecular level. After that, we finish the year by dividing living things into different groups and highlighting the differences and similarities. Unfortunately, ninth grade is a bit challenging in terms of biology. Because there are many subjects to cover. It may be challenging for students to get used to grasping these concepts in such a short time. Biology is often seen as a lesson to memorize and therefore the lesson feels boring. But if the student tries to learn instead of memorizing, they can get the most out of the biology course. Like English, you can neither be productive nor enjoy by memorizing words. You should use what you have learned as much as you can. You can do this by solving questions, reading sources, and watching documentaries. So you can make your information permanent.

Projects in biology?

Students may see mathematics, biology, physics, and chemistry separately. However, in practice, this is not the case, there are no strict borders. If you are using intensive mathematics in a biology-related project, you can work with a mathematics teacher, and if you are working at the molecular level, you can work with a chemistry teacher. There is no such strictness in biology projects. Doing a project with a teacher that the student sees and already has contact with will make their job easier. If the teacher can’t help with the project, they can also refer the student to other teachers. Some biology teachers have studied ecology in the past, some pharmacy, some medicine. Apart from TUBITAK, and TeknoFest, students can also research and follow different contests on their own.


It is an exam where ninth and tenth-grade topics are concentrated. I recommend that they take it in the tenth grade so that they know all of the ninth grade and will have a fresh view of the tenth-grade topics throughout the year. But if the student wants to take AP Biology in ninth grade, they can on condition that they study regularly just for AP.

Biology Olympiads?

A perfect opportunity for interested students to deepen their research. One of the most important things I can suggest about this is that they work within the scope of the club. Although the student becomes more individualized after the first exam, we can say that the student and the school take the first exam together. “Where to start studying?”, the shortest answer would be Campbell. A student who finishes the book and solves the past questions will achieve a good result in the exam.

The most important subject?

Understanding molecules, the first subject of the ninth grade, is basic and very important. Components of living things are also abundant in the YKS. Systems in the eleventh grade and plant physiology in the twelfth grade are also very popular in terms of YKS. From my point of view, ecosystem ecology which is learned in the tenth grade, and the subject of classification in the 9th grade are one of the most important subjects. These are necessary for understanding life and for young people who will shape this world in the future to understand nature, but unfortunately, ÖSYM does not attach much importance to these subjects.

Chemistry - Gülçin Turan

What is chemistry?

Chemistry is the science of matter. We will discuss this matter science over a long 4-year period. Our main goal is for our students who will choose chemistry-related branches at the university to be able to synthesize the substance on their own and to characterize, describe, and analyze the substance they synthesize. We teach each sub-branch of chemistry to different grade levels, so this is a holistic journey.

How do you teach your lesson?

I prefer to summarize a lot of information from many sources and give it to my students. The reason for this is that we have a very limited time and our content is very voluminous. At the same time, we have curious students. Maybe if we were at another school, I wouldn't follow such a path, but since we have students here who are very curious, very interested, and can’t be satisfied with what is in the curriculum, I am very happy to be with them, I offer a slightly more comprehensive content. Unfortunately, no matter how interactive I try to make it, due to the time constraint I mentioned, it proceeds in a way that I explain and the student listens very carefully and takes notes.

How to study chemistry?

It is necessary to study chemistry daily, and it is necessary to follow the assigned homework very carefully, complete it on time, and answer questions very quickly. Because chemistry is very theoretical and very prone to misunderstanding. For this, the student shouldn’t cover up a problem and should immediately ask questions about it.

Difficulty of grades?

While tenth grade is very easy for “sayısal” students, ninth grade is easier for “eşit ağırlık” students. Eleventh grade is generally the most difficult grade. The first month and a half of ninth grade can be a bit challenging for every student. This is very normal because they are just getting introduced to chemistry class.

Subjects to focus?

I always say that chemistry has two backbones: atom and mole. You have to understand the logic of the atom and periodic trends very well. It corresponds to the third unit of ninth grade and the first unit of eleventh grade. Likewise, the mole concept is also very important to us. Mole is our mathematics, the first unit of tenth grade. I recommend that they listen to these topics more carefully.

Chemistry Olympiads?

Of course, as in all other olympiads, the best thing to do is to start from prep class, but students in the prep class and the ninth grade may not be familiar with chemistry. Getting to know chemistry also takes time. While students aren’t into chemistry at all in the prep class, it may take between December and January of the ninth grade. At this point, the student should realize chemistry is their favorite subject, is the subject in which they have the most natural talent, is the subject they listen to with the most curiosity, and is the course they wish would never end. It’s also very appropriate to start in the tenth grade because the tenth-grade curriculum isn’t very full, but the tenth grade is also suitable to start since it will be the basis.

Projects in chemistry?

As the science classes, we are always open-minded about project ideas. Interdisciplinary studies have become popular lately. So we can deal with both biology and physics. Therefore, you can always ask us for help when doing another science project. The creation of projects is also a process; unfortunately, there is no such thing as a muse. At this point, my biggest suggestion is for them to follow magazines. It will be to their benefit to follow magazines such as Popular Science and TUBITAK. Because the first stage of the scientific method is to determine a problem statement, and for this, a problem is required. Therefore, someone who wants to do a project must be aware of the news.


We accept eleventh-grade students, we don't prefer ninth and tenth-grade students, but we can also accept students who say they can spare two hours a day or half a day on weekends for this. Because it requires serious work.

Physics - Onur Akbal

What is physics?

To ninth graders' questions about what physics is, I simply answer "the most basic way of trying to understand nature." Then, of course, it is divided into different branches, but its basis is understanding nature. In the ninth grade, very basic subjects are covered. We try to understand matter, energy, and the interaction between them all year long. Introduction to physical science, we examine physics from a bird's eye view. Then there is the subject of matter and its properties. We are dealing with substance there. Then there are the topics of force and motion. We step into mechanics and study the laws of motion. Then there is the topic of energy. There we also consider the interaction between matter and energy. In thermodynamics, we are trying to understand a different form of energy, its thermal form. Finally, there is the subject of electrostatics as an introduction to electricity, but of course, that is a little more incomplete. At the beginning of the tenth grade, we continue with the subject of electricity. We introduce the physics subjects that the student will study throughout their high school life in the ninth grade.

How do you teach your lessons?

My teaching style is very interactive: I usually answer questions in the first place. My lessons are progressing bilingually. Going in question and answer format is much more fun for both me and my students, which adds a lot of dynamism to the lesson. But our course has both theoretical and practical parts. Usually, if the equipment required for an experiment is simple, I bring it to the classroom and we do it together with the students. Because in high school, going to and from the lab can distract students, especially in the ninth grade. But if it is more challenging, we go down to the laboratory.

How to study physics?

The biggest handicap is trying to study without listening to the lecture and not understanding the lecture in the first place. Because physics isn’t a course which you can study for a long time. It is necessary to understand the subject in the actual classroom, in the discussion environment. But they should solve the questions of those subjects especially quickly at home because the subjects covered in one lesson can have dozens of different types of questions.

Projects in physics?

I worked as a consultant on TUBITAK and TeknoFest projects. I try to lead lower grades; ninth and tenth graders, to an application of physics or more technological applications. I work with eleventh and twelfth graders on newly emerging physics subjects, physics subjects that require expertise, and physics subjects that I can collaborate with universities on. In fact, in TUBITAK-2204 projects, at least project applications are in the physics section because most physics questions and problems have been answered and the unanswered physics problems are at a very advanced level. That's why the least applications always come from physics.


I recommend the AP Physics 1 course starting from the tenth grade. Then it increases gradually. AP Physics 1, 2; there are Mechanics C and AP Electromagnetism. I recommend mechanics and electromagnetism for eleventh and twelfth grades. But I definitely don’t recommend that people take Physics 2 without taking Physics 1.

Mathematics - Gizem Demirci

How to study math?

Mathematics is a course that requires regular study. It's important to understand mathematical concepts rather than memorizing terms. Of course, since we study with English support in the ninth and the tenth grades, we focus on English concepts in the prep class. Ninth-grade subjects start with logic and then continue with sets and numbers. These are the most basic mathematics and TYT subjects. Of course, students are excited about entering their new high school life. What we want is for students to be active, to question, and to answer questions about what and why.

Prep Class?

Students can lay a solid foundation by examining mathematical concepts in more depth, reading articles to increase their general knowledge, and combining mathematics with daily life. Since it’s an intermediate class, between the eighth and ninth grades, I can recommend them to explore the fun and interesting aspects of mathematics.

Projects in math?

The most suitable class for us is the tenth grade. After getting the basic knowledge in the ninth grade and learning to read and research academic articles, tenth grade is the ideal class for a project. But it’s not very easy to produce something new in mathematics anymore. We are trying to add something to an already existing formula, to generalize it. For example, we are trying to convert a two-dimensional formula into an n-dimensional formula or to prove something that has been proven in another way.

Math Olympiads?

If the student has a background from primary school or secondary school, it is ideal for us. However, if the student started their Olympic journey later, they may need to work a little harder. But what is important for us is that they question how and why, that they don’t blindly look and memorize formulas, and that they comprehend proofs by understanding their logic.

Geography - Selma Araz

What is geography?

Geography, in its shortest definition, is the interaction of humans and nature; humans affect nature and are affected by nature. Sometimes nature dominates, and sometimes humans dominate; Accordingly, human life activities change. Geography deals with these changes.

How do you teach your lessons?

We teach our lessons based on the presentations sent from the headquarters to all Bahçeşehir schools. But of course, we can make additions and give additional examples depending on the level of the class and the students. Since we are interested in nature and human interaction, we definitely need to add visuals to our lessons. Students need to see it visually and visualize the lesson. Our aim is to ensure permanence in students. In addition, short notes and summaries are useful for students. Also, a map is a must. We show everything on the map, you can’t understand geography without a map.

What is the most difficult/favorite subject for students?

The most difficult subject is place names: Subjects in which they need to find a place on the map and comment on the characteristics of a place on the map. Their favorite topics are usually population and human geography. Climate topics are also loved because there are such notions like pressure and temperature which are interesting to most of our sci-tech students. But generally human issues: It is easier, more readable, and adaptable to daily life.

How does ninth grade go in terms of geography?

In fact, most of the ninth-grade topics are covered in science classes in secondary school. Therefore, students have the basics, but the style of explanation in high school; and the way that the lessons go into more detail can be a bit challenging for the first few months of ninth grade.

How should we study geography?

It is absolutely necessary to work on a daily basis and not take too much time in between lessons and studying. Also, it is necessary to study with notes, maps, and visuals. The lesson is already explained verbally, but what is explained needs to be supported with a ground example -this is what happens in Turkey, these are the characteristics of the Menteşe region, as is the case in Chile-. If they can visualize in their mind, that's great, but if they can't, they need to open a map and work from there.

Projects in geography?

Of course, there are TÜBİTAK and TeknoFest projects. When geography is mentioned, it can be understood as if a project will be done only in the field of geography, but in fact, it is not. We said geography is human interaction with nature, but actually, this mentioned “nature” is nothing but other positive sciences; chemistry, biology, and mathematics are involved. We can also do projects related to those subjects.

Is there anything you want to add?

Geography is an important lesson. It is usually the course that is least studied for and the easiest to sacrifice. The students want to study mathematics, literature, and physics instead, but geography is at least as valuable as those lessons.

History - Şebnem Özbek

What is history?

The biggest difference in our lessons compared to other social sciences is that it's a lesson that is very difficult to be objective as it is based entirely on documents. Since the students come from the eighth grade prepared to memorize, it seems like we cannot do scientific work. However, we can also look at it from a scientific perspective. It is difficult to be objective, but there is a scientific perspective. Students need to know this first. History can also be viewed from a scientific perspective. Actually, it’s not a lesson to be memorized. It’s also very intertwined with other social sciences. History can’t exist without geography. It is very intertwined with philosophy and literature. Understanding history helps in many areas.

How should we study history?

The biggest problem is that the students think of history as a lesson to memorize. To give an example from the ninth grade, if we are going to study ancient civilizations, we first need to establish a template of Mesopotamia in our minds and see the general picture. Then we can get down to parts, instead of trying to memorize. History lessons will become easier if we can understand the reasons for what the Sumerians did by considering the time period and geography they lived in. It is necessary to first go into the general and then the specific, but this is not possible by memorizing. You can’t learn history by memorizing sentences from a book.

Projects in history?

I definitely recommend projects for ninth and tenth grades. It has become very popular to combine not only history but all fields with technology. Technology was used at some point in all TUBITAK projects that won the last few years. I definitely recommend the use of computers and artificial intelligence to students who are planning to do projects.

How do you teach your lessons?

I try to look at history as academically as I can, I don’t want my students to do memorization. I try to catch their attention by talking about popular topics; for example, if a piece of information has changed or if there is a subject that attracts their attention, I try to explain it, but of course, there is a curriculum given to us. We can’t go beyond that much, just like in all other courses. I try to use the academic perspective as much as possible by bringing it down to the high school level.

Difficulties with grades?

In our lesson, ninth, eleventh, and twelfth grades follow more or less the same, but the tenth grade is easier than them. Tenth grade is definitely a class where projects should be done because it has a much easier curriculum compared to other grades in the history lesson and other lessons. The ninth grade seems a bit difficult since the students are transitioning to high school, but it’s a lesson that anyone who wants to and works on can do, there should be no limits in their minds.

How can we make the most of our school?

There are very experienced teachers with an academic background in our school. For example, when you go to the physics department, you encounter teachers who study astrophysics and quantum physics. You won't find this in every school, so definitely don't settle for just the curriculum. Be informed about the school and your surroundings and don’t miss any competitions and projects.

Is there anything you want to add?

The biggest problem with history class is that it is seen as a lesson to memorize. Fine oratory and being able to express yourself by writing are very important for us. We need a student who has grasped the logic of the subject and who can show that they did. Of course, the student needs a reading background for this.

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