MINGUS UNION HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
Welcome to Biology! I look forward to a great year! I would like to encourage students and parents alike
to contact me if you have any questions or comments at any time throughout the term. I can be reached by
phone or e-mail at:
School phone #: 649-4419
Parents; please note that at the end of this handout there is a form which must be read, signed and returned
to me as soon as possible. Your prompt response is appreciated.
This course is an introduction to biological concepts taught through extensive use of science process skills.
The course seeks to prepare students to demonstrate understanding of biological processes, organisms, and
be aware of the applications of biology to his or her life. The main curricular focus will be on mastery of
content associated with the performance objectives from the Arizona State Science Standards.
Upon completion of the course, students will demonstrate understanding of the following:
1. Basic laboratory skills and safety awareness in the biology laboratory.
2. Scientific process skills including, but not limited to the following; methods of data
collection, observation, inference, prediction, and theorizing.
3. The importance of scientific measurement and problem solving.
4. The structure and biological significance of the organisms of our biosphere, their
importance, and their unique modifications.
COURSE UNIT AND TOPIC TIMELINE (Note; this timeline is approximate, revisions will
likely be made throughout the term)
I. The Nature of life (text ch. 1-2)
Topic 1-Laboratory Safety, Procedures, and Skills
Topic 2-Observation, measurement, problem solving
Topic 3-Biology and the Study of Matter
Topic 4-Chemistry of life
II. Ecology (text ch. 3-6)
Topic 1- The Biosphere
Topic 2- Ecosystems and communities
Topic 3- Populations
Topic 4- Biodiversity
III. Cells (text ch. 7-10)
Topic 1-What is a cell?
Topic 2-Photosynthesis and cellular respiration
Topic 3-Growth and division
Review for semester 1 exam
Semester 1 exam
IV. Genetics (text ch.11-12)
Topic 1- Genetics
Topic 2- DNA and RNA
Topic 3- Bioethics
V. Evolution (text ch. 15-18)
Topic 1- Theories of evolution
Topic 2- Fossils and evolution of populations
Topic 3- Classification
Review for AIMS
VI. Microorganisms and Fungi (text ch. 19-21)
Topic 1- Bacteria and viruses
Topic 2- Protists
Topic 3- Fungi
VII. Plants (text ch.22-25)
Topic 1- Plant diversity
Topic 2- Form, function and adaptations
VIII. Invertebrates (text ch. 26-29)
Topic 1- Sponges and Cnidarians
Topic 2- Worms and Mollusks
Topic 3- Arthropods
Chordates (text ch. 30-32, 33.2, 34)
Topic 1- Fish and Amphibians
Topic 2- Reptiles and Birds
Topic 3- Mammals
Topic 4- Homeostasis
*End of term review, laboratory and written final exams
1. Biology Text; “Biology” Prentice-Hall
2. 3-ring binder for class notes.
3. Loose leaf, college-ruled paper for Problem assignments
4. Black or Blue ball-point pens, and #2 pencils
5. Scientific calculator (can use class set in class only)
TEACHING AND LEARNING STRATEGIES
It is assumed that students enrolled in this course possess a high level of self-motivation and desire to work
and learn. My philosophy is one of participation among students in class discussions, frequent laboratory
work, presentation and discussion related to teacher performed classroom demonstrations, and continual
study. Students must be able to work in groups, as data indicates that peer coaching and cooperative
learning are highly beneficial when it comes to learning. Classroom activities include, but are not limited
to the following:
Group and class discussions related to assigned readings and problems
Guided study and practice in groups and individually
Discussion of test taking strategies
Topic quizzes and unit tests
Frequent study is perhaps one of the most important facets of this course. Topics are not left behind after
the test or exam has been taken. Biology is a very cumulative science and concepts learned in the early
days of the course must be internalized completely for later retrieval. A common student question is, “How
do you study when nothing was assigned?” Students must be self-motivated and creative. Some strategies
Checking previously assigned problems to determine if you still have them mastered
Communicate with other students
Great effort has been expended to try to provide students with some of the latest technology available to
study and learn Biology in the classroom and laboratory. With a team effort, all will succeed and take with
them a rewarding learning experience.
Scores are totaled and grades assigned on the basis of the percentage of points possible. Approximately
40% of the grade comes from laboratory work, problem assignments, computer lessons and teamwork.
Topic quizzes and Unit tests account for an additional 40% of the grade. The final exam is worth 20% of
the term grade. Extra credit assignments are not given, but bonus points may occasionally be earned on
tests and exams. A note about homework assignments: some are graded on a COMPLETION basis.
This concept has eluded some students in the past. To obtain any credit on these assignments, they
must be absolutely complete. Not a single aspect of the assignment can be missing for credit to be
obtained. Students are not penalized on these assignments for making an honest effort and getting
the incorrect answer. The grading scale used to assign letter grades is as follows;
90 to 100% =A SCORES WILL BE COMPUTED VIA A COMPUTER
80 to 89% =B GRADING PROGRAM AND LETTER GRADES
70 to 79% =C ASSIGNED WITH THE PRECEDING SCALE
60 to 69% =D NO EXCEPTIONS.
Below 60% =F
ATTENDANCE AND CLASSROOM POLICIES
Missing class can have a direct impact on a student’s achievement. Although some absences are beyond
our control, a serious attempt should be made to minimize the loss of valuable class time. The Mingus
absence policy will be enforced. Tardies disrupt the learning environment and thus will not be tolerated. A
student will be given a warning for the first 2 infractions per semester, and then each tardy will result in a
1% decrease in their overall grade (not to exceed 10%). A student may make up the loss of grade by doing
20 of my “time wasters paragraphs” per 1% lost, as long as the paragraphs are completed within 1 week.
After that the 1% is lost permanently. Students are expected to be PUNCTUAL, PREPARED, AND
POSITIVE. When a student will be or has been absent it is his or her responsibility to arrange to make up
any work missed. Make up work must be completed within the number of days missed, after return to class
or it will NOT be accepted (i.e. 1 day missed, 1 day to turn in makeup). Any work due or tests taken the
day of an absence will be made-up the FIRST day of the student’s return. All quizzes, tests, and exams will
be made-up either before school, at lunch or after school, and NOT during the regular class period unless
otherwise scheduled with me.
Hall passes will be given on a need basis. Abuse of this policy will result in loss of privileges.
Be Respectful and Responsible
Follow Directions the FIRST time
Be on Time
The following guidelines are meant to facilitate the learning process. Remember, anything that interrupts
the teaching and learning process is unacceptable.
Participate fully in all classroom and laboratory activities
Respect the right of others to listen and speak without interruption
Abide by school and laboratory dress codes
Use of any unauthorized electronic device in class/lab is forbidden
Food or drink of any kind is not allowed-water is OK, but not in lab
Failure to abide by the preceding guidelines / rules will result in the following consequences, not
necessarily in this order:
Verbal warning and review of guidelines / rules
Time-out, paragraphs or discipline referral
Drop from class with no credit received
I am excited to work with all students in this course. I look forward to talking with and hopefully meeting
all parents as the year progresses. Please read the page that follows this and complete the information
requested. Detach the page and return it to me as soon as possible. Again, if you have any questions or
comments please contact me.
Cade Densmore, Biology Instructor
Please detach this portion and return as soon as possible
We have read and understand the information on the preceding
pages related to the Biology course.
Name of student (please print) _____________________________
Name of parent (please print) ______________________________