Accelerated Biology Course Description and Policies

Mrs. Groch or direct voice mail 552-3728

Dear Students and Parents:

Welcome to Accelerated Biology! Biology is “the science that deals with the origin, history, characteristics, habits, etc. of plants and animals” (Webster’s New World Compact School and Office Dictionary, 1995), it literally means “the study of life”. In this course the emphasis will be on the study of the characteristics of life, cellular structure and function, genetics, evolution, ecology, and anatomy and physiology (not necessarily in that order). Biology does not stand alone in the world of science, scientific method will be used to evaluate material, and connections will be made with issues and concepts from earth science, chemistry, and physics. Connections will also be made to other academic disciplines as well as environmental, global and social issues. This class will include lab work and activities and therefore it is very important that we follow safety rules and practice respectful and responsible behavior.  I look forward to a fun and informative year!

This letter will provide you with valuable information that will give you and your parents a clear understanding of what is expected of each student enrolled in this course.  Please take a moment to read this letter and review these expectations.  A "signature slip" is available online and must be returned via email within the first couple of days of school, indicating you have read the policies. For your convenience all assignments are listed on the class web page calendar.  Please bookmark this site on your home computer.    Grades are posted approximately each two weeks. Grades will be available on School Loop. Please make sure your parents email their email addresses directly to me at

Parents, feel free to browse the web site for the calendar assignments. Mrs. Groch Website: Accelerated Biology.

TEXTBOOK: Biology Concepts & Connections, 6th Edition, Campbell et al, 2008 (has a cheetah on the cover) (Please NOTE: Online Textbook support for tutorials, practice quizzes etc:  is password protected I will email out the password as soon as I get it from the publisher.

To access Campbell/R/M/T Biology C&C 6e Student:  go to
and log in using your Login Name and Password.

There is also  a related textbook FREE site

RECOMMENDED MATERIALS:   binder, quad ruled lab journal (given out at May meeting), red & blue/black ink pens, highlighters,  #2 pencil, calculator,

The Science Department at SRVHS is committed to providing students with the best science education available. We would like to thank you for your continued and generous support at registration. It is truly and warmly appreciated. Without your donations, our laboratory science program would not be as strong. If you have any questions or items you would like to donate, You can reach me at

The fastest way to reach me is by email . To reach my voice mail by telephone, please call 925-552-3728.

District Course Description from the Common Course Catalog:

Accelerated Biology With Research

(9) Accelerated Biology is designed for students with a strong interest in science. Students in this course will use a collegelevel

textbook to prepare them for taking AP Biology in their Jr. or Sr. year. The course explores science standards at a

greater depth and complexity than in Biology, incorporating real-world applications in a problem-based/hands-on approach.

Topics include ecology, taxonomy, evolution, cell biochemistry and physiology, genetics, botany, and human body systems.

This is not a weighted grade course.

Prerequisite: A’s in 8th grade science, 8th grade English and Algebra 1. Concurrent enrollment in Geometry.

CSU/UC: “d”


College Requirement Satisfied:

CSU/UC: “d” (In addition to meeting the one-year (10 unit) life science graduation requirement, this course fulfills the University of California and California State University entrance requirements for laboratory science).

California Standards Covered in this Course:

Biology follows the California State Science Content Standards for Biology/Life Science. Emphasis in this course is on the skills identified in the Course outline below. A full description of the Standards can be accessed at:

Course Outline (Skills Taught):

Investigation and Experimentation

· Develop meaningful questions and conduct careful investigations.

·Select and use appropriate tools and technology to perform tests, collect data, analyze relationships, and display data.

Microscopy, Tools in Biotechnology, Graphing through computer based spreadsheets

·Analyze the experiment in order to identify potential sources of error. Formulate ideas to minimize uncontrolled variables.

· Solve mathematically based problems.

· Investigate a science-based societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data, and communicating the findings. Apply scientific knowledge to societal issues in order to guide individual decision making.

Scientific Process

·Formulate hypotheses, differentiate between types of variables, distinguish between hypothesis and theory

· Scientific knowledge is distinct from other disciplines. It is based on repeatability, testability, and observable evidence from the physical and natural world. Science constantly evolves as new information emerges.


· Understand basics of chemistry as they apply to organic molecules and biological processes

Cell Biology

· Differentiate between different types of cells

· Identify and describe structure and function of cell organelles


· Nucleic Acids and Protein Synthesis

o   Describe the structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins

o   Understand the flow of information from DNA to RNA to Protein to Trait

o   Articulate sources of genetic variation (mutations, meiosis, sexual reproduction)

· Mendelian Genetics

o  Predict the probable outcome of a genetic cross


· Recognize and explain the sequence of how energy flows and matter cycles through the abiotic and biotic components of an ecosystem

·Analyze how stability of an ecosystem is impacted by biodiversity, alteration of habitat, human activity, and changes in population size


· Apply genetic principles to demonstrate that populations evolve by natural selection in constantly changing environments

· List several sources of evidence for evolution from various branches of science


· Understand that actions of all human body systems work together to promote homeostasis and combat disease

ELA/History/Other Science Tie-In:

· Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science.

· Using equations and mathematical operations.

· Addressing societal issues as they connect to biological concepts.

· Reading for technical content, central ideas, biases, following multi-step procedures, and decoding words and symbols.

· Support or refute hypotheses based on data and evidence

· Writing structured technical reports

· Using accepted conventions of grammar

· Use technology to gather relevant information from multiple sources and use proper citation techniques to avoid plagiarism

Course Goals

Our class will: (besides completing a science fair project)

1.    Use scientific thinking and processes to solve “real world” problems.

2.     Be familiar with the natural world and recognize its diversity and the individual’s role in it.

3.     Communicate understanding of the connections between the major concepts of science.

4.     Take responsibility for individual and social decisions based on scientific understanding.

5.     Understand that science, math, and technology are interrelated human activities with inherent strengths and limitations.

6.     Successfully complete individual and group problem-solving activities and projects.

7.     Pass all of our state standards.

Attendance   See  Board Policy AR 5113a    and   Board Policy AR 5113 and 6154 (makeup work): General School Rules Student Handbook

Classroom Rules

1.   BE SAFE! (Review your lab behavior and safety rules)

2.   BE RESPECTFUL AND RESPONSIBLE (Review your classroom etiquette and academic responsibility) Good manners are expected, be kind, step up and help others, be on time, don’t leave early, pay it forward, and be kind to substitutes.

     a. " District policy states that harassment in or out of the classroom is not to be tolerated. Harassment based on race, ethnicity, able-bodiedness, sexuality, perceived sexuality, gender, gender expression, monetary standing, religion or faith-base, or any other factor will be reported to the administration and dealt with accordingly. This includes slang such as “that’s so gay” or “that’s retarded.” Both are considered hate speech. "

3.   Be on time and prepared for class

4.   No gum, food or drink

5.  No hats or hoods

6.   No electronics (all cellular devices must be turned off upon entering class, failure to do so will result in an AM detention and possible removal from the course without credit). (Note during some labs cellular phones may be used as calculators, timing devices or to take pictures of lab results, you must have direct permission from the teacher to use your phone.) Use of phones or other electronic devices during testing will result in a ZERO on the test and your device confiscated and turned into an Administrator.



Journal Entries: Save the first page of the journal for  table of contents. Entries include all chapter homework, class notes, warm up activity/daily questions, video and guest speaker notes, lab notes/data. Begin a new page in your journal when a new topic is introduced.  The topic e.g. ( Lecture: homeostasis, 9/14/12)  must be written at the top of the page

Daily Class Procedures: Class starts when the bell rings. Look at the front board for updates to the web calendar. Copy the warm up activity/daily question into your journal, write an answer.

*If you are tardy to class, place the note on my keyboard and sit down.   See academic responsibility contract at the end of this policy.

GRADING: Semester grades will be determined according to the following: (no rounding)

Grading Policy:



Semester Grades will be approximately based on the following criteria**:

> 100 A+

100-92 A

91.99-90 A-

50% (10% Quizzes and 40% exams)

89.99-88 B+

87.99-82 B

81.99-80 B-

25% Labs and science research  project, PBLs **

79.99-78 C+

77.99-72 C

71.99-70 C-

15% HW Assignments

69.99-68 D+

67.99-62 D

61.99- 60  D-

10% Final exam



59.99 -> F

 ** category percentages will be modified 2nd semester to include a project category for the completed science project- HW drops to 10% as well as Final exam to 10% of grade)

Enrichment Credit: Enrichment credit may be offered periodically during the semester. These opportunities will be announced in class and generally posted on the HW calendar. Enrichment credit points cannot exceed 2% of the total possible points. Extra credit is linked to units and no more than 4 articles can be turned in per quarter and on the Monday the week before finals WHICH is the last day that extra credit or any work will be accepted.

Students and parents,

The following is the District's policy regarding non-discrimination:

   "District policy states that harassment in or out of the classroom is not to be tolerated. Harassment based on race, ethnicity, able-bodiedness, sexuality, perceived sexuality, gender, gender expression, monetary standing, religion or faith-base, or any other factor will be reported to the administration and dealt with accordingly. This includes slang such as 'that’s so gay' or 'that’s retarded.' Both are considered hate speech."

In conclusion, I thank you for taking the time to read this policy.  Carefully read  the science departmental citizenship policy that follows. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail or call me 552-3728.  The academic success of the student is of the utmost importance.  Any problems or concerns require urgent attention. Kindly sign and return the form that will be sent home, within the first 10 days of school. 



Students: You alone are responsible for your learning; no one else can learn for you.  You are also responsible for your own behavior and attitude. You are responsible for attending class and participating fully.

Parents:  Are responsible for providing a home environment in which students are able to learn.  Are responsible for monitoring the student's progress and attendance via online calendar and email progress updates.  Should act as a positive advocate for the student with teachers and school administration. 

Teachers and schools: Are responsible for providing an environment in which students are able to learn.  High academic and behavioral standards shall be maintained.  An atmosphere of trust and caring will be promoted at all times.

Read the policy carefully. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail, or call me. The academic success of the student is of the utmost importance. Any problems or concerns require urgent attention. Please read and return the bottom portion of sheet sent home with the student.

Academic dishonesty:

Defined as cheating of any kind, including misrepresenting one's own work, taking credit for the work of others without crediting them and without appropriate authorization, and the fabrication of information.

Common examples of academically dishonest behavior include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Cheating - intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials to improve one's grade; use of a cellular phone during testing, copying from another student's work; submitting same work for an assignment in more than one class without prior permission of both instructors; representing material prepared by another as one's own work; inappropriate test taking conduct; violating rules of academic conduct relating to this course.

2. Fabrication - intentional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any data, information, or citation in an academic exercise.

3. Plagiarism - intentionally representing the words, ideas, or sequences of ideas of another, as one's own in any academic exercise; failure to attribute any of the following: quotations, paraphrases, or borrowed information. There are no joint assignments (2 exceptions). You may consult with other students, but your work must be original. Working on an assignment together and turning in virtually the same assignment will either result in a ZERO for that assignment or the score divided up between the authors with directions to rewrite in your own words. All sources must be cited using APA formate (see  Use of new technical vocabulary without definition  may be seen as plagiarism.

4. Falsification and forgery - knowingly making a false statement, concealing material information or forging another's signature. 

5. Facilitating academic dishonesty - intentionally or knowingly helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty.

6. Use of any electronic devises (not limited to cellular phones, photos, text messaging, etc) during exams- the use of any electronic devises for any reason will result in a zero on that test.

Any of the infractions mentioned in this section will result in a discipline notice to the appropriate assistant principal. This will be entered on the student's discipline screen. Student will be dropped from a course with an "F" on the second academic dishonesty violation which takes place in any class during the school year.

All rules and policies in the San Ramon Valley High School Student Handbook will apply if not addressed in this class policy.

Success Tips:

1. Attend class daily. Turn in all work on time, neat and legible.

2. Take pride in your work. Make every effort to do all of the assignments, especially for days you have missed. Even though you receive reduced points for late work you are still responsible for the subject matter covered. It will help you on the Final exam in the long run.

3. Participate in class discussions: ask questions; take notes; get notes when absent.

4. Maintain communication with your teacher by  school e-mail, School Loop email, or last resort-phone,.

5. Cooperate and participate during labs. You will be expected to know how to use equipment and how to do certain procedures.

6. Review for quizzes and tests.