Biology A Syllabus                                                        Ms. Steffeck (503)825-5622, Home: 503-682-1962

Welcome!  In this class we will be studying what it means to be alive.  We will look at how organisms interact with their environment, and also begin to explore cellular function and processes.


TextbookBiology, by Miller & Levine, available at textbook depository.  Please bring it to class, to complete your homework.  Leave it in your locker unless you are taking it home to read the chapter.


Required Materials

  • 3-ring binder or other mode of organization
  • Flash cards optional
  • Pens, highlighter, more than one pencil and calculator.  
  • Bring your unit packet, which will be provided, to class EVERY DAY.


Topics of Study

            Unit 1               The Condition of Life (Homeostasis, Feedback Mechanisms) CH 1, 2

            Unit 2              Biochemistry (Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems) CH 8, 9, 2

            Unit 3              Ecosystems and Energy Cycles CH 3, 4

            Unit 4               Population Dynamics CH 5


General Rules

  1. ATTENDANCE is crucial to your success.
  2. Follow handbook and PRIDE expectations.
  3. Use common sense, and as a general rule, treat others as you want to be treated.
  4. Be respectful of teacher, students, and self.
  5. Be prepared for class, and on time.
  7. ALL CELL PHONES MUST BE KEPT IN BACK PACKS AT ALL TIMES. Confiscated cell phones will be put in an envelope and sent to the office for parent pick up at the end of the day. I will leave a message for your parent during my prep.
  8. Listen in class and follow directions as given.
  9. Follow specific safety guidelines for each lab or activity, and conduct yourself in a safe and conscientious manner at all times.
  10. No food or beverages in class, other than water.
  11. Clean up after yourself and your lab group.
  12. Academic dishonesty will NOT be tolerated.  This includes cheating on quizzes and tests, or turning in written work (labs for example) that contains work that is not your own.  Cite sources if applicable. 


General Consequences (applied if the above rules are broken with the exception of cell phones)*:

Verbal warning, hallway discussion, automatic task volunteer, loss of privilege, detention, referral (major or minor), phone call home, or an  action plan conference. 

*I will treat all students fairly, but remember that all of you have different needs and different lessons to learn.  If you have an issue with the way a situation has been handled, bring it up outside of class. 


Assessment Policies

  1. You will have up to three opportunities on each standard: unit assessment, midterm & final.
  2. Labs/activities will be made up by appointment times ONLY.
  3. Check my website & google classroom at the beginning of the week for assignments, or missed days.
  4. Previously announced tests/unit assessments will be taken upon the day you return.
  5. Last day for late work is the Tuesday the week BEFORE finals.

Academic Behavior Standard: worth 5% of your grade


Academic Behavior

Exceeding (4)

Proficient (3)

Progressing (2)

Emerging (1)

Meets deadlines

·  ≈90-100% work turned in on time

·  ≈80-89% of work turned in on time

·   ≈70-79% of work turned in on time

·  1-2 items more than 3 weeks late

·   ≈60-69% of work turned in on time

·  3-4 items more than 3 weeks late

Completes Practice/HW


·  All in-class work completed

·   All HW completed

·   Most in-class work completed

·  Most HW completed

·   Some in-class work completed

·  Some HW completed

·   Very little in-class work completed

·  Very little HW completed

Prepared for Learning

·   On-time to class ≈90-100% of the time

·  Aware of and prepared for the day’s activities

·  On-time to class ≈80-89% of the time

·  Aware of and mostly prepared for the day’s activities

·  On-time to class ≈70-79% of the time

·  Scrambles to be mostly prepared for the day’s activities

·  On-time to class ≈60-69% of the time

·  Unprepared for the day’s activities

Participation & Collaboration

·   Active participant

·  Leads/models/helps other students

·   Participates sometimes

·  Good team player

·   Participates when prompted

·  Collaborates when enforced

·   Avoids participation

·  Avoids contributing to team


Standards Covered:

·         HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.

  • HS-LS1-3. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.


·         HS-LS1-5. Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.

·         HS-LS1-6. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.

·         HS-LS1-7. Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy.

·         HS-LS2-3. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

  • HS-LS2-5. Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
  • HS-LS2-4. Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.

·         HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.

·         HS-LS2-6.  Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

  • HS-LS2-8.  Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and reproduce.


Grading Breakdown                                                       Grades Awarded


65% Standards:                                                          A          90 – 100%

(Includes: labs, assessments, projects)                                             

                                                                                    B          80 – 89.9 %

10% - Formative Assessments                               

(Packets, activities, homework, “notes”, articles)      C          70 – 79.9 %


5% - Midterm Exam                                  D          60 – 69.9


15% - Cumulative Final Exam                         F          Below 60%


5% - Academic Behavior

(See attached rubric) 


On the next page is a brief OPTIONAL questionnaire. Return by email, fax, or in a sealed envelope.  All responses will be kept in a locked file. 


The section below needs to be filled out and returned by Thursday.  Your signatures on the bottom of this contract signify that you have read, understand, and agree to comply with the expectations within the syllabus, parent letter, and learning target sheets.




                                                                        õ Cut Here!ö


                                                            Name:   _______________________________     period:______


We have read and understand: the syllabus, parent letter, standards, and the behavior rubric as a family. We understand if a phone is not kept in a back pack in the rear cubby; it will be taken and sent to the office. Ms. Steffeck will leave a message at her earliest convenience to let you know when a parent/guardian, can come and pick up the confiscated phone from the office.



________________________            _______________________        ________________________

    Print STUDENT name                            STUDENT signature                        PARENT signature



Parent/Guardian contact information:



______________________                _____________________                  ______________________

Parent/guardian name                          Best phone # to reach you                   Email



______________________                _____________________                  ______________________

Parent/guardian name                          Best phone # to reach you                   Email























































PARENTS/GUARDIANS: This questionnaire is optional, but will help me learn more about your student and will give me an idea of your concerns.  Feel free to return by mail, email, fax, or with your student.  I will keep these questionnaires in a confidential file.


_________________________________      ______________________________________________

            Student Name                                                 Parent Name (s)


Check the 5 options that you agree with the most. Then, prioritize them from 1-5, with #1 being the most applicable.  If you need to explain, do so in the space under the statement, or on the reverse side.


____My child is a perfectionist and takes schoolwork too seriously.


____My child has a casual/negative attitude towards doing schoolwork.


____My child has learning challenges or special needs that hinder his/her school performance.


____My child is very busy with activities and has little time for homework.


____My child has issues with organization, so keeping track of assignments is tough. 


____My child doesn’t give me information that I need to support him/her to do the best work possible.


____My child argues with siblings/peers/authority figures.  Circle all that apply.


____My child tries to avoid responsibility.


____My child has had troubles in the past with ___________________, but is making progress.


____Our family situation is difficult for my child to cope with.


____I am too busy with other commitments to help my child as much as I would like.


____My efforts to motivate my child are not as successful as I would like.


____I don’t feel comfortable helping my child with some of the subjects my child is taking in school.


____I am generally content with my child’s academic progress.


____Teachers should require more of my child academically.


____Most teachers need to give me more information so I can do my part to help my child.


And a few other questions…

Has your child enjoyed science in the past?  Yes   /   No 

What were some of his or her favorite topics/science projects or activities?


Have you noticed the best way your child learns?  (For example, when they verbalize ideas, write about ideas, read about ideas, etc?)



Thank you very much for this information.  Please use the back if necessary.