San Ramon Valley High School

Welcome to 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!

Course Description:

Biology (Y)

(9-12) Biology is a lab-based college prep course that focuses on the major concepts of life science, methods of science, and inquiry-based learning. Topics include science process, genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and physiology, ecology, evolution, and human body systems. Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in Algebra 1. CSU/UC: “d” Schools: All

San Ramon Valley Unified School District Course Description and Outline- College Preparatory Biology Grades 9-12


Prentice Hall Biology – Miller and Levine, 2007

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 newly adopted NGSS 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:  NGSS/Common Core Standards (adoption 9/4/2013) (Life Science NGSS standards)

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.

o 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:

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.

Textbook/ Materials

Miller and Levine, Biology, 2007

Supplementary Materials (handouts, labs, etc.)

Binder with separate sections for handouts, homework and class work, and quizzes and tests.

Lab notebook (bound) (First one will be provided)

Pen and pencil

Highlighters and or colored pens and pencils are recommended

Calculators may be required for some labs and quizzes, advanced notice will be given.



Journal Entries: Begin a new page in your journal when a new topic is introduced.  The topic e.g. ( Lecture: homeostasis, 11/20/10)  must be written at the top of the page
Daily Class Procedures: Class starts when the bell rings. Your homework must be turned in before the bell, ( if called for on the board at beginning of class). Always check the front board for daily instructions, homework assignments and activities. The homework calendar is on line on Mrs. Groch's Web Page not on School Loop.
Academic Responsibility/Cheating Policy: Please read the student guide for specific consequences. Cheating, which includes plagiarism, is defined as representing any work that is not your own original work as your work. This includes using another student's work from a previous year, this year, looking at another student's test, work copied and pasted from the internet or other published material, use of cellular phones (text messaging, photos) etc. All work turned in must be in your own words. There are no joint assignments (there is 1 exception 2nd semester). 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.

Grading: Every assignment is worth a certain number of points towards your semester grade. Your grade will be determined from that score on the following scale: (no rounding)

Grading Policy:



> 100 A+

100-92 A

91.99-90 A-

89.99-88 B+

87.99-82 B

81.99-80 B-

79.99-78 C+

77.99-72 C

71.99-70 C-

69.99-68 D+

67.99-62 D

61.99- 60  D-



59.99 -> F

 After the second week of classes, weighted grades will be posted at School Loop you will need your student ID and a password. This grade report will help you monitor your progress. Final semester grades are determined by the following formula:

10-15% Homework Assignments, long term projects, activities, (note 2nd semester there will be a project category and % will be adjusted)

25% Laboratory work,

50% quizzes, and tests, (35% tests, 15% quizzes)

10% Final Exam 

 Extra Credit: Extra credit may be offered periodically during the semester. These specific unit opportunities will be announced in class and generally posted in the classroom or on the HW calendar at www.grochbiology.cpindex.htm


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 School Loop and 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. In addition, please read the Academic Responsibility and Accountability Grade information and kindly EMAIL  the acknowledgement by pasting the completed contents of the signature sheet, located at Course Policy signature sheet SEE HOMEWORK CALENDAR FOR DUE DATES.

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 very detailed policy. If you have questions, feel free to e-mail (first choice) or call my voicemail at 552-3728.  The academic success of the student is of the utmost importance.  Any problems or concerns require urgent attention. Kindly EMAIL  OR print out the Course Policy signature sheet   (if you lost your copy) for credit (see homework calendar for due date) .