2018-19 Biology Syllabus: Course Overview & Expectations

Mr. Rott (Pronounced wrote)




Welcome to Biology!  Biology, in the simplest definition, is the study of life.  As one of the many areas of science it is a study and inquiry of how life interacts with the natural world. We are excited to explore this fascinating and incredible subject with you in the coming school year.

Course Description: What is this course all about?

Throughout this course we will learn about the extraordinary life that surrounds us.  You will learn about how DNA controls life, how organisms change in changing environments, human interactions and their influence on environments, the importance of water, and the molecules that make up all of life.  This course is specifically designed and implemented to meet the specialized needs of all students and the rate and level of learning will be differentiated with challenging opportunities and groupings with like students who are willing to perform at high levels.

Course Structure: How will the course work?

Each semester has six units focused upon a real life relevant a question of biological inquiry.  Unit questions are designed to allow students to become proficient in NGSS.  Each of these units will be explored for three to four weeks and end in an assessment.  

Each unit will begin with student groups generating questions and forming background through research and laboratory experiments.  Students will also have many opportunities to understand content through reading from a variety of sources, discussions, graphic organizers, writing, models, and demonstrations.  Lesson activities will be designed to meet the needs of all learners and are differentiated by readiness, ability, and/or interest. To ensure that students designated as “Talented and Gifted” (TAG) receive academic instruction that is appropriate to their rate and level of learning, the curriculum and instruction of this course may be differentiated to include specialized groupings, compacting of curriculum, accelerated pacing, and providing of extension/challenge activities. Please see your teacher if you do not have reliable Internet access outside of school to arrange for all possible accommodations.

Course Assessment & Grading:

Standards Based Proficiency Grading

This course will be conducted using standards based grading.  Each unit will have corresponding Unit Standards, developed from Next Generation Science Standards pertaining to the unit topic.  Throughout the unit, students will have opportunities to practice and develop their understanding of the standards through labs, discussions, and class activities. Standards will be formatively assessed (non counting assessment) during the unit through in quizes, activities, labs, concept maps, class discussions, etc to evaluate their learning progress.  Each unit will conclude with an assessment in two parts: content via test and exploration of the topic via project product.  Students will have multiple attempts at each Unit Standard.

Additionally students will be assessed two times per  semester on scientific method identified as Inquiry Standards: Planning & Evaluation and Data Analysis & Technology.  Lastly, students will be assess on work completion and participation in a Life Skills standard.  Unit, Inquiry, and Life Skills standards will be combined to determine the student's overall grade each semester.


Unit assessments are designed to determine the student’s knowledge of the unit content and identified Next Generation Science Standards.  Students can exceed, meet, nearly meet or earn a beginning proficiency level for each standard.  If a student does not initially meet proficiency for any standard, they will be provided an additional opportunity to meet proficiency on the standard; students that do not meet proficiency initially will not be able to correct work in order to exceed proficiency.  


Assessment for standards will be recorded in Student & Parent Vue in the following manner:

Final grades will be determined in the following manner:






Overall proficiency of Exceeds in at least 3 of 6 standards (unit & inquiry) with no nearly meets or beginnings

Overall proficiency of Meets in at least five standards, no Beginnings 

Overall proficiency of Meets in at least three standards, no Beginnings 

No more than 3 Beginnings

4 or more Beginnings 

Insufficient Evidence: Standards not attempted.

See the Student Grade Journal  for more information regarding grade calculations.

Getting Help

Biology can be a difficult subject.  Each unit page on the class website will have valuable resources to help students.  If you need help with any part of the class, ask for help!  This includes organization, unit material, studying & reading strategies, staying focused in class, or applying concepts.

Course Expectations:

We  we will do our best to make the subject interesting, engaging, and comprehensible (even if it may not be your favorite subject, yet).  Additionally, we will work to ensure our classroom is a place of enthusiastic rigor where learning can occur and everyone feels a part of the community.  Tualatin High School’s three expectations: Responsible, Respectful, and Safe will be followed by everyone, including the instructor.  We will spend time discussing what this means in class while creating a classroom community agreement.  Here are some examples:

Academic Honesty:

Students are expected to do their own work or contribute equally in group projects.  If another source is adapted or used to develop ideas it must be cited correctly (ideas, images, sentences, or work).  Credit will not be given for copying and it will not help in meeting proficiency.

Food & Gadgets:

We love to eat and to use our cell phone/iPod.  However, we put these away during class.  We ask you to do the same and save them for breaks.  We will confiscate.  Water is okay, but please ensure it doesn’t distract.

Attendance & Tardiness:

In order to meet proficiency for course standards it is important for students to come to class everyday prepared to learn.  However, we understand emergencies and sickness are part of life.  In the event that you are absent it is your responsibility to make-up missed class work and consult with your group members.  Class websites contain both a calendar and unit assignments. We follow the school’s tardy policy.   Plan ahead and see teacher before the due date if you will be absent, need additional assistance, or need an extension to work out a solution.