• Updated: 7/25/2023

    This course exposes students to the fundamental concepts of biology. Because this is an honors level course, the topics below are covered in more depth, and at a more rigorous pace.


    This course is aligned with Arizona College and Career Ready Standards and/or national content standards and supports school-wide efforts to increase student achievement.


    Suggested Materials: Class binder or folder to keep printed materials organized and kept for frequent reference, writing utensils, and an adequately charged ipad for each day of class. Students will occasionally need use of a basic function calculator, markers, colored pencils, glue sticks, etc. 


    Course Objectives:

    1. By the time the student completes the course of study he or she will be able to:

    2. Develop and use models for the transfer or sharing of electrons to predict the formation of ions, molecules, and compounds in both natural and synthetic processes.

    3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate about the positive and negative ethical, social, economic, and political implications of human activity on the biodiversity of an ecosystem.

    4. Develop and use models that show how changes in the transfer of matter and energy within an ecosystem and interactions between species may affect organisms and their environment.

    5. Ask questions, plan, and carry out investigations to explore the cause and effect relationship between reaction rate factors.

    6. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate data showing the relationship of photosynthesis and cellular respiration; flow of energy and cycling of matter.

    7. Construct an explanation of how the process of sexual reproduction contributes to genetic variation.

    8. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate evidence that describes how changes in frequency of inherited traits in a population can lead to biological diversity.

    9. Gather, evaluate, and communicate multiple lines of empirical evidence to explain the mechanisms of biological evolution.

    10. Engage in argument from evidence that the net change of energy in a system is always equal to the total energy exchanged between the system and the surroundings.

    11. Engage in argument from evidence that changes in environmental conditions or human interventions may change species diversity in an ecosystem.

    12. Ask questions and/or make predictions based on observations and evidence to demonstrate how cellular organization, structure, and function allow organisms to maintain homeostasis.

    13. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the causes and implications of DNA mutation.

    14. Construct an explanation for how cellular division (mitosis) is the process by which organisms grow and maintain complex, interconnected systems.

    15. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate the ethical, social, economic and/or political implications of the detection and treatment of abnormal cell function.

    16. Engage in argument from evidence regarding the ethical, social, economic, and/or political implications of a current genetic technology.

    17. Engage in argument from evidence regarding the ethical, social, economic, and/or political benefits and liabilities of energy usage and transfer.

    18. Engage in argument from evidence about the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, changes in climate, and human activity and how they influence each other.

    19. Engage in argument from evidence regarding the ethical, social, economic, and/or political implications of a current genetic technology.


    Classroom Rules and Consequences:  In addition to strictly following the DVUSD "Students Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, I expect the following to occur in my classroom:

    • Be There – It is important that you are in class regularly and on time.  Not only should you physically be in class but also mentally.  Students should take advantage of time with the instructor to pay attention and ask questions as needed.  Make sure you come prepared for class with supplies and assignments done. 

    • Choose your attitude – You have no control over the things that other people do.  You only have control over your reactions.  Make a conscious effort to have a positive attitude.  It is not always easy but if you are aware that only you can control your mood every day can be a great day. 

    • No food or drinks in the classroom – We might be using substances that may contaminate what you put in your mouth. This is for your own health and safety. 

    • Listen and participate - A lot of the learning for this class takes place when I am talking with you or you are collaborating in your groups! So, please be sure to truly and actively listen and when appropriate, participate.

    • Don’t procrastinate - Most work in this class is intentionally designed to be completed in class, if you stay on top of the workload, learning will come more easily and you will not have to worry about missing work or other responsibilities! 

    • Get Additional Help (tutoring) ASAP - In addition to the AcaPrep times built into our schedule each week, additional assistance/tutoring is provided on a weekly basis both by MRHS and individually by me. My weekly availability will be posted in the classroom at the start of each week, which students are encouraged to plan for each week. Don’t wait until an assessment to ask questions! 


    Grading: Total grades will be calculated using 2 areas: assessments and coursework. Assessments may consist of exams, quizzes, labs, projects, or other summative work. Coursework may consist of bell work, homework checks, class assignments, notes, and other formative daily work. 


    Grade Book Weighting: (District Wide)

    • 80% Assessment 

    • 20% Coursework

    • 0% Practice


    Grading Scale

    90% – 100%  = A 

    80% – 89%  = B

    70% – 79%  =  C

    60% – 69%  = D   

    59% or below = F


    Percentages will be rounded to the nearest whole number, a 79.5% will be rounded up to an 80% and a 79.4% will be rounded down to a 79%.  


    Policies and Procedures

    • Homework assignments on paper are collected at the beginning of class. A majority of the assignments in this course will be submitted digitally via Canvas. Those assignments will be due by 7:30am on the due dateAssignments are not accepted via email, canvas message, Remind or any other method. Digital assignments must be submitted to Canvas for credit.

    • All assignments are given a due date appropriate to the work - A zero is filled in once the due date has passed in the gradebook as a placeholder.  Although assignments may be turned in after that date, the point of any assignment is to expose students to content and help them obtain mastery of that content through timely practice so that they are successful on high stakes final exams. 

      • Not completing assignments as assigned and submitting them late hurts the student’s abilities to achieve mastery as they may go into assessments without feedback and practice.  Having late work also causes students to have to play "catch up" which causes additional stress on the student.

    • Communication is very important in this class and every other. The primary mode of communication for this class is Canvas Inbox and should be used when contacting your teacher. It is also a good idea to remember when your teacher is likely able to return your messages. 

      • Do not wait until the weekend to reach out with a question that you need answered promptly, as they may not see your message until Monday morning. Likewise, do not message late at night because you will not receive a response until the next day. Communicating efficiently and promptly with your instructor is a key component to your success in this class.

    • Students who are absent the day before a scheduled/announced assessment are expected to take the assessment as scheduled/announced the following day.

    • Use of supplemental resources on any assessments is not permitted unless explicitly allowed prior to the assessment by your teacher. 

    • On occasion, in order to re-enforce content mastery, PG and PG-13 science based video clips and science based instructional videos will be shown.


    Report Cards

    In an effort to conserve resources and harness the capacity of our electronic grade reporting program (PowerSchool) district schools will no longer print hard copies of report cards unless requested by individual parents. To request a hard copy of your student’s report card, please contact the front office at 623-376-3000.  To receive your PowerSchool login, please stop into the office with a valid photo ID. 


    Power School Online Access:

    Grades and attendance may be accessed 24 hours a day online with your Power School access code.  Access codes are available in the Counseling Office or Front Desk Monday – Friday 7:00 AM– 3:30 PM. You may check student progress regularly on the PowerSchool site using the same login for one or more students.  For Mountain Ridge parents/guardians without home computer access, a computer with guest log-in capability is available in the Counseling Conference Room.


    Academic Assistance/Office Hours:

    In addition to the Academic Prep times built into our schedule each week, additional assistance/tutoring is provided on a weekly basis both by MRHS and individually by instructors. These office hours will be posted in my classroom, website, and/or Canvas at the start of each week. 

    Make-up Policy:


    Absences: After an absence, a student has one school day for each day missed to make up work/tests, regardless of the number of days absent. If many days were missed, please schedule an appointment with me to formulate a plan for the completion of make-up work. Make-up work for extended absences (over 3 days) may be requested through the Counseling Office and picked up there.  

    • Students should review Canvas BEFORE asking their instructor what was missed. Many assignments can be completed at home using digital resources before the student returns to class. 


    Late Assignments Policy: 

    In order for Late Work to be accepted, students must meet the following parameters:

    1. Assignment is not due within the class period

    2. Assignment is not a timed activity (such as a Quick-Write Essay)

    3. Assignment is not a long-term assignment (over multiple weeks)

    4. Assignment is turned in by the end of the instructional lesson


    All assignments are given a due date, and a zero is filled in once the due date is passed.  Although assignments can be turned in after that date the point of these assignments is to expose students to content and help them obtain mastery of that content through timely practice so that they are successful on high stakes exams. Not completing assignments as assigned and submitting them late, hurts the student’s abilities to achieve mastery as they may go into assessments without feedback and practice.  Having late work also causes students to have to play "catch up" which causes additional stress on the student.


    Classwork Policy: In-class assignments may be due by the end of the class period and receive time to complete in class. Students are notified of this expectation for specific assignments throughout the school year. 


    Test Retakes –  Assessment Category Only

    The student completes another assessment of the same learning targets. The assessment will be a different format and will be at the same difficulty level. The higher of the two scores will be entered in the gradebook.


    To earn a retake opportunity, a student must complete ALL of the following:

    • The student must initiate contact with the teacher within 5 school days of the assessment score being posted. 

    • Submit a remediation assignment and meet a minimum score with multiple submissions available. 

    • Submit all assignments for that unit of study, even if the assignment is in the practice category and not impacting their overall grade. 

    • Sign up for a retake date during the retake window appointed by your teacher.  There will be multiple dates available outside of school and during Aca Prep time.  This retake window will be around the district summative exam and the retake will serve the additional purpose of preparing for the district exam. 


    AI Statement


    In Deer Valley Unified School District, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible education while ensuring their safety, privacy, and well-being. As part of our ongoing efforts to enhance learning experiences, we may incorporate the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the classroom for students. However, it is important to approach this technology with caution and adhere to responsible data privacy practices.


    DVUSD has determined that the use of Large Language Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, is prohibited unless clearly specified by your teacher. Specific guidelines will be provided in the assignment details. If you are unsure if the tool or website you are using is an LLM or if it is permitted on a specific assignment, please contact your teacher before submitting your work.


    Daily Device Use (iPads)


    Students should come to school with their iPads charged and ready to use in each class every day. Devices may not be used to record or take photos of other people without their consent.  Consequences for classroom disruptions and misuse of devices will follow a progressive discipline model, beginning with a phone call home and progressing to office referrals for repeated or more serious offenses. See the Student Rights and Responsibilities consequence chart in the handbook for more specific descriptions of infractions and consequences.

    MRHS Laboratory Breakage Policy:

    The Mountain Ridge Science Department has a policy regarding the damage or breakage of laboratory equipment. In the event a student breaks any laboratory materials, that student will be responsible for paying the replacement cost of each item. A complete list of all laboratory materials and their costs are posted in each classroom.  The students are taught proper procedures and laboratory etiquette to ensure the safety of our students during lab activities. This policy helps hold the students accountable for their actions and reinforces careful laboratory procedures. 


    This syllabus is subject to change. Any changes will be announced using the LMS system.