Course Syllabus

HTHMA Biology: 2017-2018

Instructor: Brandon Davidson
Tutoring Support: Tuesday 3:30-4:30, Thursday 3:30-4:30 

Welcome to 11th grade biology at High Tech High Media Arts.  As we head into our explorations together, I want to offer an introduction to the course you will be participating in.  The following is some generals on what we will be covering, how we will be doing it, and some of the overall goals we will work to retain along the way.  I expect everyone to embrace the fact that this is OUR class.  Ideas, questions and concerns are encouraged, helpful and serve to strengthen our classroom environment.

Our Mission:
Over the course of the semester we will explore various concepts in biology such as the cell, metabolism, genetics, anatomy and physiology and evolution.  We will work to develop an understanding of biological concepts that help to shape the world around us and within us.  Some of the central themes of this course will be scientific inquiry, experimental design, developing scientific communication and exploring various learning strategies.

Essential Questions:
  • How can the process of scientific inquiry be used to deepen our understanding of the world around us and within us?
  • How can our understanding of biological phenomena be used to improve our quality of life and the world around us?

Suggested Supplies:
Lab Notebook/Composition Book
Pencils (2)
Pens: Black/Blue (2)
Colored Pencils
3-Ring Binder
Spiral Notebook/Loose Leaf Paper

You will be expected to complete a variety of assignments over the course of the semester. Some will be done during class and others will be assigned for homework. You will be reading biology texts, scientific articles and excerpts from various books throughout the semester. For all reading assignments, I will expect that you annotate the text and come to class prepared for discussion.

This semester you will also do several labs. You will record all labs in your lab notebooks (composition books). Keeping a detailed lab notebook is critical because it serves as a record of exactly what, when and how you did your laboratory experiments. In the world of science, "If you didn't record it, you didn't do it." You will receive detailed instructions on how to document your lab work in your lab notebook. Lab notebooks are only for lab work. 

Of course, we will also be doing several projects this semester.  The projects will generally be interdisciplinary but will be supported by the work we do in biology class.

You will have a variety of quizzes and tests throughout the semester.  We will work hard to prepare and review for each of these quizzes/tests.

The honors option for this class is to prepare for the Biology SAT Subject Test and deepen your understanding of course content. In addition, you will be asked to read, interpret and reflect on a biology-related, non-fiction book. You will also attend biology-related lectures/events in the community and may be asked to take on additional roles during projects.   

Grades are earned through collaboration, hard work, growth and your honest effort to contribute positively to this academic environment. 

If you come to class on time every day, and
If you do all the labs and write-ups, and
If you do your homework and study hard for tests, and 
If you use your class time productively and maturely, and
If you take risks, ask questions and participate, 
If you collaborate with your classmates,
You will find success with this course. 

Late Work:
It is expected that students will submit all assignments on time.  Late work will receive 1/2 credit and can be turned in until the end of the current unit/project. After we have completed the unit/project, work related to that unit/project will no longer be accepted. It is your responsibility to notify your teacher if there are extenuating circumstances.  In the case of an absence, it is your responsibility to make all arrangements with your instructors regarding make-up work and exams on the day that you return to school.

Ask me early. Be specific. Have a plan.

Rules and Expectations:
Be respectful of each other and the classroom environments at all times during the semester.  We will work to create a collaborative and productive classroom environment by having certain class expectations.  Students are expected to be in their seat ready to learn when class begins.  Students are also expected to check the board for any warm-up activities, the daily agenda and any homework assignments.  When class finishes, it is the responsibility of the students to clean up the class before leaving.  Trash will be thrown away and chairs will be arranged properly.  

Technology (cellphones, ipods, tablets, etc.): 
Technology is everywhere and it can assist you in your learning. It's okay to use your device to take notes, look up words, keep time and do research, especially during independent work time. 
  • It is OKAY to listen to music (through earbuds or headphones) during independent work time. DO NOT have you earphones in while I am teaching or providing instructions. 
  • It is NOT OKAY if others can hear your music during this time. It is NOT OKAY to be focused on your device during class activities, when others are talking or when I am teaching, even if you are using it for research. 
If you misuse your device, I will ask you to put it away for the duration of class. If you continue to misuse your device, I will take it away for the remainder of the class. If you have any questions about class policies concerning technology, please ask. 

All school rules will be enforced including dress code and academic honesty.