PM School Science Syllabus

Teacher: Mr. Rynders  Location: Room 227   Time: Thursday 3:30-6:30   Dates: 3/13/2008-4/17/2008 

In our PM school course we have two principle goals. First, we would like all of our students to have the opportunity to recover from previous mistakes and make up the credits that they have missed. Secondly, it is our mission in this course and as a school to increase our level of scientific awareness so we may make sound and ethical decisions that affect our bodies, our community, and our world in a positive manner.

Course Schedule

The course will be consist of six meetings, each will last three hours for a total of 18 hours of class time:

3/13            Class and Project Introduction                 

·       Syllabus

·       Project Overview

·       Topic Research and Choice

3/20            Project Research                       

·       Bibliography/References

·       Evaluating Web sites

·       Report Research

3/27            Project Report

·       Report Outline

·       Report Rough Draft

·       Report Peer Editing

4/3            Project Web site

·       Final Draft

·       Web site Design

·       Web Authoring

4/10            Project Presentation

·       PowerPoint Basics

·       Presentation Creation

4/17            Student Science Conference

·       Present Final Project


Come to class every day with a pen or pencil, and a notebook. Without these basic supplies, you will not be able to participate in the class. There will be no leniency in this area. In other words, there are no pens, pencils, or sheets of paper available for borrowing.

Skills and Professionalism

Our goal for this course is to make you more scientifically literate.  This means you should be able to:

1)     Read scientific texts

2)     Communicate scientific information to others

3)     Internalize scientific concepts and their application to your life

4)     Become a more effective student

In order to be a great scientist, you first have to be a great student.  The following skills are habits that are important to learn for school, but also for work and life.

1)     ListeningWithout careful listening, learning and operating effectively in science is impossible.

2)     Respect Scientists learn the most when they make mistakes – many great discoveries happened because of mistakes – therefore an atmosphere where it is okay to mess up is very important in a science classroom.

3)     Timeliness – being late is unacceptable, please be on time and prepared, then we can all start class with a smile.

4)     Organization – Being organized is a habit that is crucial to your success in school. This entire course is based around a cumulative project. Losing any of your work will make it difficult to complete and pass the course.

5)     Initiative/Reflection – Perhaps the most important thing to learn as you grow is how to both take initiative, so go above and beyond the requirements, and to be able to reflect and think about mistakes that you have made so that you can learn from them.


Skills and Professionalism (cont.)

Scientists see the world in a specific way and there are some skills that they work hard to acquire. Some of the skills we will be focusing on this year are the following:

Information gathering/Scientific Research—Scientific information comes in a variety of forms.  In this class, you will obtain information from your teacher, other students, other scientists, textbooks, dictionaries, the Internet, tables and graphs, as well as your own observations, measurements, and data from the natural world. Together we will learn how to include research that supports your own work, and how to do so in a responsible way.  We will also learn how to cite the work of others.

Scientific reading/writing/presentations—Science texts come in different forms—textbooks, journal articles, and filtered news stories.  None of them reads like a novel, so we will practice how to read them in order to get the information.  Part of this is understanding graphs and tables, so we will be working on this as well.  Just like with reading, scientific writing has a form of its own.  To get better at it, we will write often.  In addition professional scientists often go to conferences and presenting their findings.  So will we!

Course Project

In order to practice all of these skills, you will complete a cumulative project to earn credit for this course.  You will not be able to pass this class without completing every step of the project. To complete the project you must: choose a topic in an appropriate subject, independently research your topic, create an outline of a written report, write a structured and well thought out report, properly cite each of your references, create an informational website about your topic, and present your findings to our class.  


The goal of this course is to challenge you, and help you complete tasks you did not know you could.  So this class is going to be tough. Don’t worry too much, though—If you are willing to put in the work, you will never be left behind.  Keep up with the work, keep a positive attitude, and seek extra help when you are lost, and you’ll be just fine. There are 3 major parts to your grade:

40% Attendance and Professionalism – These are the skills that you need to be a successful student, employee, and member of a community.  They are habits that need to be practiced over and over. Just like in sports or music, you can’t expect to do it right at the big moment if you have not been practicing. High school is your chance to learn and practice how to be a good student.

50% Research Project – In this course you will be in control of a majority of your learning. In order to demonstrate your understanding of a topic in your subject area, Living Environment or Earth Science, you will complete an in depth research project. Your grade for this project will be divided amongst the five components listed below.

5% Topic Research

5% Report Outline

15% Report

15% Informational Website

10% Presentation

10% Classwork – As we work on your project we will complete several in class assignments. These assignments are designed to help you complete a successful and thorough research project that you can be proud of. 

Classroom Policies

Absences— PM School science is an accelerated course. You are completing a semester’s worth of materials in only 6 weeks! Absences are simply not acceptable.

o      Students must be present on 3/13 to be considered part of the course.

o      One excused absence, those due to illness or pressing family issues, may be made up by appointment with Mr. Rynders on the Saturday following the absence.

o      A second absence, or a single non-excused absence, will result in your removal from the course. 

Lateness—This is one of my pet peeves because a late student is invariably a disruption to all of the other students who are working hard. Repeated lateness is the quickest way to lose my respect and patience. Class will begin sharply at 3:30.

Plagiarism—I expect that all work submitted in this class will be the result of your own best effort.  Material copied or paraphrased (without citation) from a textbook, the Internet, or another student will not be accepted.  If a student is caught copying from another student, or any other source they will not receive credit for the course.

SafetyOur classroom will have a zero tolerance policy for any students engaging in behaviors that could endanger THEMSELVES OR anyone else.  INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR DURING CLASS WILL RESULT IN YOUR REMOVAL FROM THE COURSE.

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