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HS Biology - Evolve Your Own Organisms
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Mondays @ 10:30am - 12:00pm
Ages 14-18/Grades 9-12

This is a High School Biology course, however with a twist! My methodology is project based learning. This class will even include “at home labs” and a super fun final projects where the students will create and evolve their own new creatures from existing ones! The Class will cover the standards of High School Life Science based in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This includes everything from the Cell, Genetics, Taxonomy, Ecology, and some Anatomy. In addition, there will be “at home” labs, where they will learn the scientific method as well as the standard format for lab write-ups. It takes the mystery out of how to report on the results of a lab and prepares them for college science. One of the documents you receive upon enrolling is that form.

The most important part of what we will be covering, in the course, is WHY YOUR STUDENT CARES ABOUT BIOLOGY. You might think the last statement would be obvious. However, over the 20+ years of teaching, what I have discovered is lacking from most courses is how it directly relates to the students’ lives and future educational/professional goals. How many times have you heard the words, “I’ll never use __________ in life! Why am I learning it!” I make sure that each student understands, no matter what they end up doing in their life biology will help them comprehend how the world around them works. I make an effort to learn what those goals interests are, so I can be sure to point it out.

During this course we will have discussions on the topics (not lectures). There will usually be some slides and some notes for them to take. We will also have some quizzes and exams to encourage them to study and these make great samples if you are with a charter school. There will also be lots of outside resources that will help your learner to understand the material according to their learning style. We try a multi prong attack of reading, visuals, videos, projects, and of course class time to be sure that each person understands the material. Each day will consist of going over the answers to the quiz or homework assignment from the week prior. This is where we will discuss and answer any remaining questions. Then, we will have our discussion about the new science topics. Finally, depending on the day, we will also discuss any labs that they might have completed since our last session. The students will have a list of what we will cover each week that is sent out as students enroll in the classes.

The final project for the class is two parts. First the student will select 2 organisms that they thought were interesting from study and then do a research project on them. This will include items such as the organisms biome, ecology, and facts they find interesting about their chosen organisms. Then they get to do the creative and fun part. They will evolve the same two species into two completely different species. The important part of this evolution is they have to justify the change and discuss why the organisms have evolved in the manner they propose. The students will do this by using all the science and understanding they have gained from their studies during the year. The students will discuss the different abiotic or biotic factors that led to the fictitious evolution into a completely different species. The students must discuss how they fit into a different biome and ecology or how they might actually compete with the real organism for survival. This helps the students fully grasp one of the most important parts of Life Science, the delicate balance of ecology.


peterdavid@sdlaa.com
(858)268-4011