• North Allegheny Intermediate


     Mrs. Gibson

    Course Overview

    This course is an in-depth approach to life science, with emphasis on cellular, molecular, and environmental concepts. This phase requires a high level of reading and math computation skills, independence, and maturity. Students will frequently work cooperatively to perform hands-on experiments and activities in areas such as biochemistry, genetics, evolution, microbiology, and cell functions. This class meets seven/eight periods each week. Students should expect a higher degree of peer competition and an increase in work load commensurate with the level of the class.


    Course Units

    §  The Nature of Life

    §  Biochemistry

    §  Cells

    §  Bioenergetics and Homeostasis

    §  Genetics

    §  Evolution and Taxonomy

    §  Ecology

    §  Microorganisms


    Course Requirements

    1.       All students should bring a pencil/pen, scientific calculator, class notebook, and school issued laptop computer to class each day along with any assignments due. Computers must be fully charged and ready to use upon arrival to class. Assigned textbooks may remain at home for study; the book is also available online. You will receive your online book login information the first week of school.  

    2.       All basic course information can be found under the GETTING STARTED link in our Blackboard course menu.

    3.       Submit research papers/projects on various aspects of Biology, at least one each 9 week grading period.

    4.       Full cooperation and collaboration will be expected in each lab group.

    5.       Quizzes and tests will occur throughout the course; many will be taken using the online Blackboard platform.

    6.       There will be a final exam. The final exam grade will be included in the fourth nine weeks grade. Additionally, the state’s Keystone Biology Exam will take place in May. 


    Course Assignments

    Homework, class work, labs, and projects will be assigned regularly throughout the course and will add to the material discussed in the lessons.  It is your responsibility to have all assignments ready to hand in when due or submitted correctly and on time through Blackboard. In Blackboard the course calendar will be used to post homework, due dates, and upcoming assignments. Announcements may also be sent to remind you of important course information.

    For full credit, assignments must be neat, complete, and submitted on time; sloppy, incomplete, or missing work will result in point deduction.  Any assignment not handed in when collected in class or submitted by an assignment’s deadline online will be considered late, unless the student has an excused absence or is excused from the assignment or assignment’s deadline. Please communicate with me as soon as possible about absences and make-up assignments.

    Class notes, activities, and assignments will be grouped by unit and then chapter in the blackboard menu system.

    Class Exams and Quizzes

    Chapter and unit exams and chapter quizzes are a part of this course.  They will always be announced and cover material from class notes, handouts, activities, and the textbook.  A review list will be available before exams/tests.  If you should miss an exam or quiz it is your responsibility to make arrangements to make it up when you return. It is best to make it up as soon as possible. If you are absent only for the day of the exam, you will be expected to take the exam upon your return to class. Please communicate with me if other arrangements are necessary.

    Quizzes and Exams taken through Blackboard will need to use the RESPONDUS LOCKDOWN browser.


    Late Policy

    NOTE 1: Late assignments automatically lose 40% of the total point value.  No assignment will be accepted for credit after 1 week past the due date and will receive a score of 0.


    NOTE 2: ABSENCE - If you should miss a class due to absence or illness, YOU are EXPECTED to check the homework page and communicate with me when you return. It is your responsibility to make up the work, get notes, or hand in assignments.  You will always have the number of days you were absent to make up your work with no penalty.  If you know in advance that you will miss a class, YOU are EXPECTED to check your assignments before you go.  Always check BLACKBOARD for homework, notes, and class assignments.


    NOTE 3: Pay attention to details and communicate with me ahead of time if there is any issue that comes up before an assignment is due, especially with computer and online work.  I understand and can often help or find help for you when real device issues arise; faulty technology or programs should not hinder your learning.  With that in mind, plan ahead and don’t procrastinate, maintain your computer and its battery, keep your files organized, and know the files’ locations.  Not being able to find a file, forgetting how to submit correctly at the last minute, uploading the wrong file, or losing charge on your battery are not excuses for missing assignments or deadlines.


    Submitting Assignments to Blackboard

    Students will submit digital work to Blackboard assignment pages in the text submission box when instructed or by uploading a file with a .pdf or .doc file extension (or .ppt if appropriate).  Do NOT submit a shared Google Docs link unless specifically instructed. Do NOT submit assignments in the COMMENTS box.


    Participation in Discussion Boards, Journals, or Blogs

    I welcome the opportunity for students to share their opinions and ideas together within the framework of Blackboard.  It is important to learn how to discuss topics within an academic setting. Always be respectful of other’s ideas and represent your ideas thoughtfully. There should be no harsh language or insults.  Support your statements with evidence and write with proper spelling and grammar to communicate thoroughly. Be mindful that all submissions are monitored.  Discussion Boards and Blogs are used to share ideas publicly with other class members; Journals are used for private reflection and evaluation of assignments or topics.



    Grades are calculated based on the total points system: the points a student earns in a nine weeks are divided by the total points available in the nine weeks, then multiply that number by 100 to see the grade percentage. The points from the 1st nine weeks grade and 2nd nine weeks grade are totaled to find the semester grade.  The points from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th nine weeks grades are totaled to find the final grade for the course


    Grading Scale:

    100%-90% -         A

    89.9%-80% -        B

    79.9%-70% -        C

    69.9%-   60% -     D

    59.9% and below – Failing


    Classroom Rules and Procedure

    Students are expected to act and behave like young adults.  When everyone is listening, paying attention, and focused, Honors Biology becomes more enjoyable and easier to learn.  Good listening and working habits in class always pay off when you take an exam or quiz.  Below are the posted class rules for the students in this class.


    1.       Be polite and respectful. Treat the teacher, your classmates, your materials, and your classroom with respect at all times. The use of inappropriate language and jokes or harassment of another is not acceptable.

    2.       Be on time, in your chair, at your desk when the bell rings. After 2 unexcused tardies, a detention will be assigned and one detention for every tardy thereafter. If you are going to be late please bring a pass from your previous teacher. On lab days the class will break between periods; be back on time for the next period.

    3.       Have all needed materials with you when you get to class. Cell phones are welcome - to use as a stopwatch or calculator, but not for texting, gaming, or to cause any other form of distraction.

    4.       Come to class with a positive attitude and be ready to collaborate and learn. We are all here to work together. Everyone is expected to be a part of all class/group/individual work, no exceptions.

    5.       Do your own work, always.

    6.       Follow all safety guidelines discussed in class for working in a lab. On lab days the class will break between the periods.

    7.       In between periods is when you should use the restroom, get a drink, go to your locker, etc.

    8.       If you need to leave the classroom for immediate use of the restroom, use an appropriate break in the class activities to ask. Be sure to sign the classroom pass log when you leave and when you return and always take a pass with you.  

    9.       All school code of conduct rules apply inside the classroom.

    10.    If your name is written down for any behavior reason when a substitute is present, you will receive at least two detentions, one for misbehavior when a substitute is present and at least one for the observed misbehavior by the substitute.


    Teacher Expectations

    In order to get the most from this course and be successful, I expect you will come prepared and ready to learn.  The course is designed to encourage your interest in the world of Biology and as an honor level student you should be engaged and actively participating in every lesson. Each of you should contribute to the learning, your ideas are important to our class. Communicate your needs clearly and in a timely manner so that I may help you in the best way possible. My schedule is posted outside the classroom door and under course information on Blackboard. You are also expected to take good care of the classroom and the materials you are given, equipment must always be cleaned and stored away before leaving class. Check Blackboard daily to keep up with your work, high school is not overwhelming when you stay focused and organized.


    Student Expectations

    You the Biology student can expect if you do all assignments, make time to study and work hard, listen in class, and perform reasonably well on exams to be successful in this class.  Honors Biology will be a challenging class.  If you should EVER encounter any difficulty in this class, let me know; any questions or concerns or simply extra review time, let me know

    I am always here to help YOU – ALWAYS.

    I am very excited about the upcoming year. There are many incredible things to learn and see through the study of science and all of us have the capacity to learn together.  Working as a team I know we can have a successful year in Biology. 


    Thank you,

    Mrs. Gibson                                                                                                                  

    rgibson@northallegheny.org – contact me any time before 8pm for that day help.  Be sure to check your email for a reply. 

Last Modified on September 27, 2016