General Biology Course Overview

Class Description

Biology investigates the composition, diversity, complexity and interconnectedness of life on Earth.  Fundamental concepts of heredity and evolution provide a framework through inquiry-based instruction to explore the living world, the physical environment and the interactions within and between them.  Biology is a graduation requirement and a state tested subject; all students will take the end-of-course state exam in the spring.

Grading Policy

  • The following criteria will determine your grade:
    1. Tests / Quizzes
    2. Assignments / Articles
    3. Projects
    4. Labs
  • Each piece of work that is done by the student is assigned a point value and categorized as an “assessment” or “practice” grade.  These grades are weighted; “assessment” grades are weighted 65%, while “practice” grades are weighted 35%.
  • A gradebook “Z” means the assignment is missing (and calculated as a zero in the gradebook), where an actual “0” means the assignment was graded and that was the score.  If a student is exempted from an assignment, an “X” is placed in the gradebook for that assignment.

  • All assignments should be completed on time.  Make-up assignments can be made up in the number of days absent.  No late assignments will be accepted without teacher consent.  If you are absent the day of a test you will not receive the benefit of any bonus points and may be required to complete an alternative test. 

  • Letter grades will be based on the following scale:  A=90-100%; B=80-89%; C=70-79%; D=60-69%; F=0-59%.  You will take a final exam at the end of the year that is one-ninth of your overall grade.

  • Extra credit will not be offered unless the teacher deems it applicable in special situations.  However, you may earn bonus points by writing out vocabulary words by hand and completing the formative assessment questions for each chapter.  You can also receive weekly bonus points by remembering the quote-of-the-week.  PBIS bonus points will not be accepted.

  • Cheating of any nature will result in no credit for all parties involved.  A second offense will result in a failing grade for the nine-weeks.

Classroom Rules (all school rules will be enforced as outlined in the school handbook)

Students will be responsible, respectful, courteous, and prepared. Please treat others how you want to be treated.

  1. Be Responsible:
    • Class begins with the bell; be in your seat (until you are dismissed).
    • Be ready to learn and do your own work.
    • Clean up after yourself.
  1. Be Respectful:
    • Respect others.  Harassment of any nature will not be tolerated.
    • Respect school property.  Stay out of cabinetry and storage unless given permission and do not play with faucets or gas valves.
  1. Be Courteous:
    • Follow directions the first time they are given.
    • There will be no cell phones or headphones (unless given special permission).
    • Eating is not permitted in class (water is allowed).
  1. Be Prepared:
    • Be on time (tardiness punished as outlined in the student handbook).
    • Always bring your materials to class (pencil, paper, and Chromebook).
    • Do not abuse hall pass privileges (and be sure to take the hall pass).

Discipline plan

  • Rewards:
    1. Bonus points (formative assessment questions, quote-of-the-week)
    2. Review
    3. Project research days
    4. Extended work/study time
  • Consequences:
    1. Verbal warning, seat change, and/or written work assigned
    2. Contact Parent/Guardian and/or detention
    3. Removal from class and/or sent to the office


I expect each and every student to have an enjoyable and successful year.  I will do my best to promote an ideal learning environment and will provide you with every opportunity to succeed in this class; please take advantage of each situation.  I believe success is maximizing one’s ability and hope you will demand the best of yourself to reach your fullest potential.  My main objective is to provide you with the necessary tools to obtain credit for this class and pass the end-of-course state exam.  Ultimately, you will gain a better understanding of biology and a greater appreciation for the diversity and interdependence of life.  Good luck and have a great year!