Course Syllabus

Honors Biology


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Welcome to Biology at CATA!

Teacher:    Elizabeth Cross

Reach me at

or call 704 296 3088 and leave me a message.


Biology Expectations

Elizabeth Cross



Dear Parent/Guardian and Student,


As we begin this semester, I want to welcome and familiarize you with this year’s Biology objectives and requirements.  If you have any questions, conferences can be arranged with me.  Arrangements can be made by contacting your child’s guidance counselor or by emailing me at  I believe it is important to maintain communication with parents/guardians for both positive feedback and feedback on areas of concern.



The following materials are required for Biology.  These should be purchased during the first few days of school.  If this is not possible, please let me know.

  • 1 1/2 inch 3-ring binder
  • A minimum of 8 tabbed dividers
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Colored pencils for lab drawings and projects
  •  Ear buds or head phones

Optional Items:

  • One Roll of Paper Towels
  • A box of tissue


  • Each unit of Honors Biology is linked to a resource module in Canvas, specific to that unit, which contains class Powerpoints, vocabulary, video clips, chapters form digital textbooks, articles, unit study guides and more. (Students can access these modules using the home page for this course.)
  • UCPS subscribes to a variety of resources for students to use in all their classes located on the student "Start Up Page" linked to the UCPS web page. Students will find access to many resources including videos, current events, and software for creating digital projects.( Click here to access the High School Student Start Up Page.
  • EmpowerED Family Portal:  UCPS online resources are available by grade level and subject!  (Click here to access the EmpowerED Family Portal)
    • You will find links to UCPS provided resources as well as guides instructing you how to access these materials.
  • CATA provides a wide variety of  print and digital resources through our media center. Students will find resources for researching any topic, writing citations, and a lot more. (Click here to access The Media Center. )



Biology is an introduction to the study of living things and their interdependence with the environment. Students will explore biological science as a process, cell structure and function, genetics and heredity, evolution and classification, diversity of living organisms and their ecological roles, and an introduction to animal structure and function. 

Course Content:

Biology is a state tested subject that requires an End of Course Test upon completion.  This course is also a graduation requirement. Students must pass the class and score a 3, 4, or 5 on the EOC to receive credit. All high school students will be tested on the NC Essential standards for Biology. To see a detailed description of the standards and objectives please access the following link.

NCDPI essential standards.pdf

Here is the approximate pacing. Minor adjustments will be made as needed.



Approximate Days

Scientific Method/ Characteristics of Life/ Lab Procedures and Safety






Cells and cell transport




DNA/ Protein Synthesis


Sexual and Asexual Reproduction




DNA Technology




Classification and Adaptations


Human Diseases






Honors students will be required to complete extension and enrichment opportunities that are directly related to the NC Essential Standards.  All enrichment and extension opportunities have been chosen to prepare them for AP Biology or support our Medical Prep program.  Students who choose an honors level course receive an elevated number of quality points for their grade point averages.  Students should consider the challenges of an honors level course before making their choice.  Biology is a content rich course and honors is even more so. Tests may be more challenging.  Projects and presentations will often be more in depth.  Students will have to focus and study regularly to master the content. I am available for tutoring Tuesdays and Thursdays after school by appointment, as well as some days before school.  I am also available some Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, by appointment, for students who were absent and need to make up tests or work. Additional assistance is much more effective if students use it as soon as a concept or assignment is missed or misunderstood. 

Here is an example of a possible honors level objective and assignment. 



Biology I

Honors enrichment or extension


Bio.4.1.3 Explain how enzymes act as catalysts for biological reactions.

Bio.4.1.3 Demonstrate how enzymes act as catalysts for biological reactions.

Example Assignment

Predict the effects of changing the enzyme and/or substrate concentrations on the rate of the reaction. Then perform the lab as instructed and evaluate your prediction.

Using the materials provided, design a lab or labs that will test the known properties of enzymes. Perform your approved lab and analyze your results.



All classroom expectations will be implemented according to the Central Academy Handbook.  This covers a wide range of expectations so you need to be familiar with EACH and EVERY aspect of this handbook.  



  1. Be prepared with notebook, pencils, and required materials each day.
  2. Food and drink are not allowed in class. Water is allowed if it is in a clear bottle.
  3. Be in your seat and copying the question of the day when the bell rings.
  4. Raise hand for everything. Choral responses are accepted upon teacher’s request.

Respect the teacher, fellow classmates and school property while following all aspects of the Central Academy Handbook.  This includes keeping your desk and lab area CLEAN!



It is an expectation for students to be in class on time.  The first three tardies will result in warnings with a parent phone call on the third. Subsequent tardies will result in referrals and disciplinary action.



When you arrive in the classroom, you need to be seated and do the following:

  • take out all class materials
  • READ the agenda board. Be sure to copy your homework into your planner
  • begin working on your Question of the Day - you may use your textbook, notes and homework, however this is an individual task



Independent practice includes homework.  It is absolutely necessary that you complete and regularly review your homework. Review the student handbook for excused absences and turning in assignments for full credit.  LATE WORK MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. Occasional exceptions must be arranged with the instructor and will not receive greater than 70%.



Students are expected and encouraged to attend tutoring as necessary to enable their maximum success in class.  I welcome the opportunity to help students on an individual basis. I am available Tuesdays and Thursdays after school from 3:30 until 4:30 by appointment.  I am also available almost any day before school from 7:40 until 8:40 for make up tests with advance notice. 



Final Grades:

Grades will be based on tests, quizzes, homework, class work and lab work.  LATE WORK MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. Occasional exceptions must be arranged with the instructor and will never receive greater than 70%. (See the CATA policy for turning in assignments for full credit with an excused absence.) There is a state mandated End of Course Test in all biology classes.  You can prepare for this exam by accurately completing and reviewing assignments regularly. Passing the EOC with a proficiency level of 3, 4, or 5 is a graduation requirement.   

Notebook:  Your notebook will be a crucial aspect of your course work and grade.  You will be required to keep your papers ALL YEAR!  Your notebook will be graded once per grading period (or more) on the following criteria…

  1. All handouts are in the proper notebook sections.
  2. Student notes are complete and in the proper sections.

Note: The notebook will count as more than one grade. You will pass the notebook checks by following the above guidelines. 

Canvas: The majority of assignments not kept in the science notebook will  be submitted on our new "learning platform," Canvas.  Assignments can be submitted a variety of ways including, uploading files, typing into text boxes, and sharing Google documents/presentations.  Students will be shown how to submit assignments on Canvas as well as create a shared Google folder for submitting Google documents and presentations on Canvas at the beginning of the semester.  Individual assignments will indicate which method of submission on Canvas is expected.  If students need a refresher or have questions, they can access the Canvas Student Guide for specific instructions.  It is the student's responsibility to ensure assignments are submitted on time and to contact the instructor if there is a problem. Please note that student activity is logged while in Canvas. This includes a log of student activities during on-line tests and quizzes.  Students are not allowed to leave the testing window during assessments.  Doing so is considered cheating and will be handled as set forth in the CATA handbook.


Tests :  Tests will generally cover two to three chapters.  Quizzes will be given as needed.

Your grades for each six-week period will be based on the following criteria:

            Mastery Assessments                                                   50%

            Quizzes                                                                                  10%

            Graded Assignments                                                      30%

            Independent Practice                                                    10%


NOTICE: Although many assignments are submitted and graded in our new learning platform, Canvas, the "final" grades shown may not be properly weighted and do not contain assignments that were not graded in Canvas.  For the student's official grades, please continue to access the parent portal through Powerschool. Login information is usually sent home with the students at the beginning of the year, and should be the same as last year. If you need assistance accessing the parent portal, please contact the school.



The majority of our class resources will be available on line through Canvas.  Students will have access to videos, class PowerPoints, interactive animations, and more.  Digital copies of textbook chapters are also linked to each unit page.  Print copies of textbooks are available and can be checked out to students for the semester.  Please contact the teacher if you are interested in checking out a textbook.

Note: Students are responsible for lost or damaged books while in their care. Fines vary based on the book and/or the damage.



Absences and Snow Days: 

This course is extremely fast paced. Since we are on the block schedule, it is extremely important that you practice good attendance.  If you are absent, please check the Canvas site, and see me in the morning when you get back to school, before classes begin. You may ask your classmates for any missed notes. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to get your make up work within the allowed limit. If you miss a test, be prepared to make-up the assignment on the day you get back, or arrange a time before or after school to come take it if you don’t want to miss instruction.


Assignments will be posted on the Canvas site to be completed in the event school is cancelled for inclement weather to prevent students from having to “double up” when they return to class.


PLEASE NOTE: All make up work must be completed in accordance with school policy.  Any work that is not completed in the established time frame is late and will not be accepted.


Lab Privilege:


In order to retain lab privileges, students must:

  • follow all instructions and rules on laboratory safety sheets in addition to all verbal instructions from the teacher
  • dress appropriately based on pre-lab discussion (closed-toe shoes, long pants, etc.)
  • wear protective eye wear - keeping these on at all times during the activity
  • refrain from loud talking, running or moving too quickly, throwing items, horseplay and performing unauthorized lab procedures
  • refrain from eating, drinking and gum-chewing
  • come to lab prepared with all lab materials - including pre-lab work


Students who fail to follow these regulations will be removed from the lab setting and will receive a zero for the activity.  An alternate assignment on the same material will be required.


Biology will consist of many hands-on activities including projects, labs, presentations, discussions and cooperative learning.  We will be applying much of what we learn to “real world” issues.  I am very excited about this year and I believe with the help of parents and students, we can have a productive and enjoyable experience. 


 Elizabeth Cross





Course Summary:

Date Details Due