General Biology Course Description



Ms. Skelly

Lake Oswego High School  

Welcome to General Biology! This class offers students a study of living things. Over the course of the school year, students will learn to more fully appreciate the place that they have in the environment. In this class we will study seven major themes: 1) Scientific Method & Tools of a Biologist; 2) Biochemistry; 3) Ecology; 4) Cell Theory; 5) Genetics, DNA, & Heredity; 6 Evolution; and 7) Biodiversity. A large portion of the class time involves laboratory investigations that emphasize the processes and skills of scientific thinking.  


1.     Textbook:  Biology, Miller & Levine, 2002.

2.     Methods of Instruction: The many concepts introduced in the textbook will be supplemented with lecture, lab activities, journal writing assignments, videos, class discussions, and student presentations. The points in the class will be derived from the following sources:

a)     Journal Questions: At the beginning of class each day, you will be required to respond to a journal question or statement on the board. These journals will relate to the concepts presented in the text and in lecture. You may use your own notes, assignments, and/or book to answer the question(s). Each day, students should be prepared to orally present his or her response to the journal question(s).

b)     Homework Packets: You will be assigned these questions to help focus your reading in the textbook and to identify the most important concepts.

c)      Laboratory Assignments: Labs are an integral part of this course, allowing for direct experience with the processes and concepts we will be studying. Laboratory assignments may include completing pre-prepared laboratory worksheets or writing a formal lab report. d)     Tests & Quizzes: Tests will be given at the completion of major units. Tests may include the following: true/false questions, multiple-choice questions, fill-in the blanks, short answers, and essay questions. Quizzes will also be given periodically to evaluate student understanding between major unit tests.

e)     Projects: The course will include several projects. Detailed information about the projects will be provided at the time they are assigned.

f)       Other Assignments: Other graded assignments may include, but are not limited to, the following: student oral group or individual presentations, creative writing assignments, concept maps or flow charts, worksheets, colorings, and outlines from reading assignments.   3.  Grading:  Grades will be awarded on a point/percentage system. The total composite score will be made up of journals, homework assignments, quizzes, tests, labs, and projects. Classroom participation and cooperation will be considered in the evaluation. Total points possible during a quarter are converted to percentage according to the following scale:                                     90 – 100% = A                                     80 - 89%    = B                                     70 - 79%    = C                                     60 - 69%    = D                                     59% and below = F

            Semester Grade will be determined as follows:

                                    45% - Unit Tests/Quizzes                                     25% - Labs/Lab Quizzes/Major Projects                                     20% - Homework                                     10% - Final Exam


1.     Daily Expectations: Come to class prepared. Bring a notebook (a 3-ring binder is best), paper, pencils/pens, and colored pencils/pens to class. Keep all class notes, assignments, tests, etc. in your notebook. This is very important because biology is a subject that builds upon itself!

2.     Assignments:  I expect homework assignments to be turned in on time. Homework can include anything from chapter questions to formal laboratory reports. Assignments are due at the beginning of class unless otherwise stated. I will check for completion at the beginning of class, so if it is not done by then, it is considered late, or incomplete.

3.     Make-Up Work: For an excused absence, and unless other arrangements are made, missed labs and tests must be submitted within one week of the absence. Assignments due on the day missed must be handed in the day you return. Students will be given the same number of periods to make up assignments as they have been absent. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain handouts, notes, etc. for the time that he/she missed. 4.     Late Work: Homework is not accepted late. Labs and major projects may be turned in for half credit up to a week after the due date. 5.     Tardy Policy: I appreciate students being on time. Students who are late may miss important class activities, as well as cause disruptions for the rest of the class. Tardies will be recorded, and a fourth tardy will result in a referral to the administration. Further tardies will be dealt with according to school policy.

6.     Extra Credit: Not available.


Final Thoughts: I am very happy that you are in my class and look forward to a terrific year! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at any time, in person or through e-mail. Together we can solve just about any problem.

Classroom Expectations: 1. Be honest. 2. Be on time and prepared for class. 3. There is no food or drink allowed in class. 4. Keep electronic distractions turned off and in your backpack or locker. 5. Contribute thoughtful, constructive ideas in class.

6. Be respectful of yourself and others.