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Honors Biology 2010-2011
    • Mr. Robert McDowell, Instructor

Newark High School, Room # E-203

    • Course Description and Syllabus
Teacher Contact
My phone number at Newark High School is (302) 631-4700, ext 14436. I also have district e-mail, which is

Course Objective

The objective of this course is to provide students with a fundamental understanding of Biology, so they can make educated decisions in the future. The curriculum is designed to engage students, and get them to see how much science is related to everything they do. The class has been developed to cover all state standards for Biology. Honors Biology is a lab class, and has an associated lab period that students are required to attend as well. This course outline was prepared so that students and parents have some insight on the course, expectations, grading, and class procedures. It is required that students keep this outline as part of their notebook, and refer to it throughout the year.
It is expected that students will study on their own time outside of class.
Below is a list of the major topics we will cover this year. Since Biological Science is such an interrelated area of study, the topics will be covered in such a way as to illustrate how they are all linked. Topics may not necessarily be taught in the order presented here.
1) The Nature of Science: We will cover the methods and ideas surrounding Biology, and discuss what makes Biology a unique science.
2) Evolution: Students will learn how some organisms have become more complex, and how theories of evolution were developed. We will cover the scientific evidence for evolution.
Please Note! Evolution is taught in my classroom, and I expect students to be able to discuss the theory. Part of the student’s grade will be reflected in this unit, and students will not be exempted from learning and discussing the theory.
3) Chemistry: We will discuss the overall importance of chemistry to living things.
4) Cell Biology: We will classify life as it exists from a cellular standpoint. Students will learn the characteristics of life, and the conditions and processes that must occur for life to continue.
5) Genetics and Biotechnology: We will spend a significant amount of time discussing the process of cell division, and the role of DNA in determining characteristics. Students will learn how genes and characteristics are passed through generations. We will also cover methods of gene therapy, and explore the issues surrounding genetic engineering and biotechnology.
6) Ecology: We will discuss the diversity of biological communities and the importance of diversity to humans. Students will learn about man’s impact on the environment, and the results of our interference.
Grading System
Students will be graded on a total point system. A total point grade will be given for each assignment. Assignments that take more time or are more complex will be given a higher point value. Students will always know the point value of an assignment before beginning. The types of assignments that will be graded are as follows: Tests, Quizzes, Labs, Projects, Reports, Class work, and Homework. Writing assignments (both in class and homework) will be given, based on topics we cover.
Honors Biology is a lab class, and the labs will be aligned with the state standards. Students will be required to hand in lab write-ups, and discuss their results with the class. Some lab periods may be used as test review sessions for upcoming exams. Students are expected to participate fully in these review sessions, and may be graded on their level of participation.
There will also be a Mid-Tem and Final Examination. These tests will each constitute 10% of the student’s final grade. Class notebooks will also be graded periodically. I will go over notebook requirements during the first week of class.
Absolutely no extra credit assignments will be offered to students taking Honors Biology.
Tests will be returned to students for their review. I expect students to study the old exams as a review for the mid-term and final exam.
The District Grading Policy will be used as follows:
98-100% =A+
90-97% =A
87-89% =B+
80-86% =B
77-79% =C+
70-76% =C
67-69% =D+
60-66% =D
59% or lower = F
Academic Honesty
It is expected in my class that students will adhere to the highest levels of academic honesty. Any occurrence of dishonesty will result in an immediate zero for the assignment or test, and a call home.
Examples of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to:
1) Plagiarism, or the copying of another persons work with out due credit.
-copying someone’s homework or class work
-copying someone’s writing assignment
-copying work from the internet, and claiming it as your own.
-improper citation of references, to claim work as your own
2) Cheating on tests or quizzes
-looking at another students paper for answers
-having answers written on anything (including desks) before a test or quiz.
-trading test forms with other students prior to taking a test.
The Honors Biology textbook is HOLT Biology. Students will be assigned a textbook, and are expected to turn it in at the end of the year in good condition.
The penalty for losing a textbook, or for damaging a textbook is $120.
Students will be expected to cover their textbook, and bring it to class as needed. Students not having their textbook on days when it is required will forfeit their class participation grade for that day.




Each student will need a medium sized three-ring binder, with dividers for various sections. The notebook, and a writing instrument, should be brought to class every day, unless specifically instructed. Students will be expected to maintain a neat notebook, and keep all handouts and returned work. Parents should periodically refer to the student’s notebook in order to check student’s progress.
Make-Up Work
Students are expected to make up all missed work due to excused absences. This is the student’s responsibility. Work missed during an unexcused absence cannot be made up, and will receive a grade of zero. I will not approach students about missing work; it is the student’s responsibility to seek missing work, and to return it in a timely manner. I will follow District policy regarding the time a student has to make up missed work. Work that has been kept past the time limit will not be accepted.
Students will be able to make up work AFTER SCHOOL on Mondays and Wednesdays, unless arrangements have been made with me to come on another day. Assignments cannot be made up during my plan period, or during another scheduled class.
I will have a sign up sheet for students needing time after school. If a student signs up to come on a particular date and time, and they do not come, the assignment will automatically be
graded as a zero.
Unexcused late work will not be accepted. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that work is turned in on time.
Class Rules
Students will be expected to follow all Newark High School rules and regulations as well as the following rules for my classroom.
1) Students are expected to be in their seats and ready to work before the late bell. The hallway in front of my classroom does not constitute “classroom”. Students not in their assigned seat by the late bell will be marked late.
2) Absolutely no food or beverages will be allowed, unless specifically mentioned by the teacher. This includes chewing gum, candy, soda, or “fruit drinks”. On certain occasions, I will hand out candy as a reward. On those occasions only will I permit food to be eaten in my classroom. Water will be allowed, as directed by the teacher.
3) No students will be allowed to use any electronic devices, including calculators or cell phones, unless specifically mentioned.
4) Students are expected to act with courtesy and respect, both to the teacher, and fellow students. No foul or derogatory language will be tolerated.
5) Students will have assigned seats, and are expected to remain in them for the entire class period unless necessary for class participation.
6) Questions and comments will be preceded by a raised hand, and no shouting out will be tolerated.
7) Any work for another class being done in Biology class will be taken, kept, and filed in the student’s information folder.
8) Text books for other classes being used in Biology class will be taken, and returned to the appropriate teacher, with a note explaining why.
9) Homework is to be turned in at the beginning of a class period, unless otherwise indicated by me. Homework turned in after class has started will not be accepted.
10) No make-up, lotion, or perfumes are to be used in my classroom. There is no reason to have anything of this sort out in Biology class, and none will be tolerated.