High School

1302 North Street
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 596-7000
Attendance: (360) 596-7003
Fax: (360) 596-7001


Course Outline (2016/2017)

Honors Biology Ed Bassett Room 409 ebassett@osd.wednet.edu   Voicemail might work (596-7252), but email is definitely better.

Communication is critical:  I'm not a mind reader.  You are responsible to express concerns or issues, upcoming/ongoing absences, etc.  You can see me before or after school, via email, or we may find a few minutes between classes.  I'm your #1 resource for this class. 

Overview: Honors Biology is a first year course in general biology that is tailored to the academically talented and (especially) motivated student. The course will cover all aspects of general biology including molecular, cellular, evolutionary, and organismal biology; ecology; genetics; biotechnology; and systematics. Lab techniques, methodologies, and process skills will be emphasized. Students will learn through a combination of self study, small group cooperative learning, and class discussions. 

Honors level: This is considered to be a pre-AP level class or for college prep. The pace will be faster and the course will cover the material in greater depth than regular biology.  It is EXPECTED that students in honors classes will commit to complete all assignments.  Students are encouraged to take the SAT II in Biology.  The test can be taken in June near the end of the school year or the following October.  While not required for the course, students are typically well-prepared for the SAT subject test.  Some colleges/universities require as many as 3 SAT Subject Tests. 

Time expectations:  For years I have asked my A students how much time they devote to this course, outside of class time.  They tell me that at least 30 minutes per day is required.  They also tell me (some learn this quicker than others) that keeping up on a daily basis is much more effective than waiting until the day before a test to study.

Text: BSCS Biology, A Molecular Approach, 9th Ed., 2006. Online at www.BSCSblue.com

Bassett's Philosophy of teaching and learning: Students bear the primary responsibility for learning. The role of the teacher is to guide students through a course of study and provide learning opportunities, help as needed, assessment, and evaluation. Students are expected to come to class prepared to contribute to the class as a whole.  You can learn without an active teacher.  I cannot teach without active learners.

Student daily requirements:
* 3-ring binder for all printouts/handouts, labs, returned tests, etc…
* Paper, pencil, etc.
* Pre-lab and closed toed shoes on lab days

Homework: Students will be expected to stay current on assigned reading from the text and website. There will be scheduled tests for which studying is a default homework assignment. Lab reports, projects, and miscellaneous assignments will also be a part of the self study (homework) component of the course.

Written Assignments:
For full credit, all written assignments should be;
* handed in on time, properly labeled (title, name, date), and neatly formatted.
* on 8.5 inch X 11 inch paper, not torn, folded, or wrinkled.
* legibly written in pencil or ink (black or blue), or typed.

* Source of information, if not your own, clearly identified and cited.

: Grades will be based primarily on test scores, and to a lesser extent, lab reports, projects, and miscellaneous homework assignments. Test scores are scaled (curved) to reflect the performance of all students taking the class (all 4 sections). At grading intervals, student grades will be assigned based on a percentage of possible points earned by the student as follows: 93%+=A; 90-92%=A-; 87-89%=B+; 83-86%=B; 80-82%=B-; 77-79%=C+; 73-76%=C; 70-72%=C-; 67-69%=D+; 60-66%=D; <60%=F.

Comprehensive:  Each unit builds on previous units.  Therefore, each test (except the very first one) will cover some material from the previous test(s). 

End of Course Exam:  Near the end of the school year, all students enrolled in biology in Washington State will be required to take the EOC Exam in Biology.  The curriculum content of this class goes far beyond the scope of the EOC exam.  Typically, 100% of honors biology students pass the EOC.  About 90% score a level beyond passing (4 = exceeds expectations), and about 10% pass with a 3 (meets expectaions).  We don't worry about this.

Test Corrections: For each test (excluding semester finals), students can (and should) make hand-written corrections on each missed item and submit for a grade enhancement equal to as much as one half of the difference between the original score and 100%. Corrections for each item should be one half page in length, and must thoroughly discuss/explain the content of the item in question. The basic format is to glean from the missed question the content, for example, the difference in "saturated and unsaturated fatty acids."  Then use a half page to diagram and explain the concept.

Experiential Learning: Students are required to perform 5 hours of organized and approved biology-related experiential learning each semester. Additional hours earned during the first semester can be applied to second. This will contribute only to the final (semester) grade. Opportunities will be posted elsewhere on my website, and there will be other opportunities identified in class. Experiential learning is an important component to any course, and field trips are not manageable for 120 students at a time. You may find your own opportunities for service learning, but these must be approved by me in advance.  DO NOT PROCRASTINATE ON THIS ONE.... IT'S EASY IN THE FALL, BUT WEATHER CAN BE AN ISSUE IN JANUARY.

Make up policy (VERY IMPORTANT): YOU SHOULD NOTIFY ME IN ADVANCE (if possible) when you will miss class, and this is especially true for test days.  Students are expected to make up missed work within a time equal to the time missed during excused absences. Students absent on the day of an assigned test are expected to make up the test the following school day unless prior arrangements are made with me. If a student is absent from this class on test day, but comes to school after their class period, he/she is expected to take the test after school THAT DAY.  Think of school as a job.  You don't show and the boss isn't notified, he/she is not happy.  If it happens more than once you could get fired.  OK, I can't fire you, but you should get the idea that attendance is very important, and if you can't make it to class, you really need to let me know.  

Attendance and tardies: Students not in their seats with a notebook open and writing utensil ready at the bell are considered tardy. The OHS attendance policy as outlined in the student handbook will be followed.  Attendance and tardy issues are distracting and disruptive.  You can be certain that if I am not here, you will have been made aware ahead of time (unless some kind of weird emergency comes up, which is possible, but it hasn't happened yet (27 years).  I even plan my illnesses in advance.  

Electronic Devices: This is an evolving issue, since most of you carry a small computer in your pocket.  It should be shut down and out of sight.  Music players should likewise be stowed.  I don't even want to see dangling earbuds or headphones.  Non-compliance will result in disciplinary action.  I am very concerned about the influence addiction to social media is having on your generation.  Society may crumble because of these silly things.  I don't care how cool you think your phone is....I don't want to see it.  Make that thing disappear between the bells.  Oh, there may come a time when I ask someone to find an answer to a question with their little pocket computer, but that's about it.

Cheating Policy: Any student found attempting to take credit for someone else's work will be dealt with per the OHS policy regarding cheating.  Providing other students with access to your work is also considered cheating.  If you work collaboratively with other students, then you MUST acknowledge any and all students who you worked with.  I may ask you to redo the assignment even if you cite your partner's help, but "borrowed excessively."  Still, that's way better than a cheating infraction.

Food and Drink Policy: Students my bring a beverage to class as long as you take it with you when you leave.  NO EATING DURING CLASS...EVER.  And during labs, not even bottled water is allowed at the lab stations.  Just like in "real" biology labs.

Topics and sequence (subject to revision)

First Semester

Chemistry/Biochemistry: (The chemistry of the major classes of biochemicals)

Characteristics of cells: (basic cellular structure and components)

Cell Functions: (Metabolism; respiration; protein synthesis; DNA replication)

The Cell Cycle: (Mitosis; Meiosis; Regulation of the cell cycle; Cancer)

Energy: (Transformation within cells; cellular respiration and photosynthesis)

Genetics: (Mendelian genetics; gene expression and regulation; population genetics)

Second Semester

Evolution: (mechanisms of evolutionary change)

The Diversity of Life: The three domains, and all of the kingdoms...an overview

Ecology: (Ecosystems; Relationships and Interactions between organisms and their environment; Nutrient cycles)

Energy transfer: (Energy transfer through ecosystems)

Plant Systems: (relating form and function)

Animal Systems: (Tissues; organs; development; behavior)

Human Biology: (Anatomy/Physiology; Disease; Human genetics)