Course Syllabus

 Email:           Tutoring Hours: TBA

Amazon Wishlist


     Welcome To Mrs. O'Briens Biology Class


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Biology I is a comprehensive course in the biological sciences, the study of living things. This course is divided into 4 major topics (see the table below). Students will learn using lectures, investigative virtual laboratory experiments, reading, completing interactive activities with the internet and technology, and with lab reports/projects.

This is an EOC course, which means that you will be required to take the state exam at the end of the semester. Please review the following attachment for details on Biology EOC Scoring: Bio EOC Cut Scores.pdf 

REQUIRED MATERIALS: Your charged computer, 2 inch 3-ring binder (ONLY for biology), 5dividers, lined paper,  a pencil & a blue or black pen, a glue stick, & colored pencils.

Use the details below to set up & organize your notebook.

1. Use a 1-2″, 3-ring binder as your notebook.

2. The cover of your notebook should have your name , subject, & block clearly written on it.

3. A table of content with your name & block should be first sheet.

4. Dividers with tabs labeled with the name of each section must be included.

Section 1: Handouts, Section 2: Vocabulary, Section 3: Unit Notes, Section 4: Homework & Classwork Section 5: Labs & Activities.

5. All papers must be  into the notebook in the correct order (from most recent to old).

6. Notebooks must be brought to class each day!

7. Students will only receive credit for their notebook every grading period  based on how well  it is kept in order!


Approximate Number of Days

Introduction & Ecology

(Interrelationships, Biogeochemical Cycles, & Human Impact on the Environment)

Physical, Chemical and Cellular Basis of life

(Cells and Chemistry)

Continuity of life and Changes over time

(DNA, Reproduction, Genetics, Evolution)

Unity and Diversity of Life

(Classification, Disease, Behavior)


Students are expected to observe all rules set forth by the Student Handbook by Marvin Ridge High School and Union county at all times.


  1. Expectations & Procedures

    1. Be on time & come to class prepared. Bring your charged computer, binder, and a pen or pencil. (I will not have an extra charger for you, so please make sure that you bring yours.)
    2. You will need your earbuds/headphones at times. (I will remind you.)
    3. Upon entering class:
      1. Put your phone away. (More details will be given on the first day of school.)
      2. Sit in your assigned seat
      3.  Check the board & start the Warm-up.
    4. No Eating or chewing gum in a science lab! Water bottles are ok.
    5. All safety procedures should be followed strictly during labs.
    6. Use of computers and Internet should be used for educational purposes only and not for games.
    7. Please follow all directions the first time they are given.
    8. Never leave the classroom without permission and the hall pass. Remember that you will be marked absent if you miss class for longer than 15 minutes. You should not leave the classroom during the first or last 10 minutes of class, so please do not ask unless it is absolutely necessary. Please do not interrupt instruction to ask to use the restroom unless it is an emergency. Our science classroom is equipped with sinks, so you can wash your hands.
    9. Remain seated at all times (unless instructed otherwise).
    10. Canvas Announcements are vital to your understanding of the expectations and communication for this course. It is YOUR responsibility to read the announcements every time you log in to your course. (You will not need to go to Canvas if you set your notifications through your phone or email.)
    11. Daily lessons will be accessible through our HOME page on Canvas. You will need to click on the current unit to access daily lessons. Only one unit will be published at a time.
    12. Be respectful towards your peers, the teacher, and school property.
      • Consequences for disruptive behavior:
        • 1. A verbal warning will be given the first time.
        • 2. Parents will be contacted after the second offense.
        • 3. The student will be written up for a discipline referral

                     (Please note that certain behaviors will directly result in a discipline referral.)

     13. Learn to advocate for yourself!

    14. Canvas discussion post netiquettes:

      1. Create posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material.
      2. Take your posts seriously and review and edit them before sending
      3. Always be respectful of others’ opinions even when they differ from your own
      4. When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way
      5. Do not make personal or insulting remarks
      6. Be open-minded


                                                                                        Lab Safety Guidelines:

  1. Be prepared for your work in the laboratory. Read all procedures thoroughly before starting the lab activity.
  2. Carefully follow all teacher-given and written instructions. Unauthorized experiments are prohibited.
  3. Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times in the laboratory. Never fool around, do not wander around the room, distract other students or interfere with the lab experiments of other students.
  4. Work areas should be kept clean and neat at all times. 
  5. Report any accident (spill, breakage, etc.) or injury (cut, burn, etc.) to the instructor immediately for clean-up procedures.
  6. You may not eat or drink in the lab.

* Please note that the students may not be able to participate in lab(s) if they do not follow all lab safety guidelines.*



LATE WORK & MORE:  Your work for this class will be summited either in person, via Canvas ,  and via Stemscopes (online).

1. It is your responsibility to check Canvas, coordinate with your absent buddy to get the list of make up the work.

2. You need to coordinate with me about making up the work your miss during your absence. (MRHS policy will be followed about the make-up work.)

3. Late homework will not be accepted if answers have already been shared.

4. If a Canvas assignment is submitted after an answer key has been shared via Canvas , you will not receive any credit.

5. No credit will be given if you submit my answer key. 

6. For late work: you will lose 5% for every day (including the weekends). For example: if an assignment is due on Friday and you submit it on Monday, that would be 3 days late.

7.  No late work for a unit will be accepted after the unit test.

8. For Canvas assignments: Only 50 % credit will be given for all 'typed' submissions that were supposed to be 'handwritten'.

9. A red colored font must be used for all typed assignments. Points will be taken off for not following directions.

10. It is your responsibility to check your Canvas notifications There may be a time where you may have uploaded a blank document. Remember, you can not receive credit until I have received your work.



Unit Exams 50%

Semester Grade: 25% (Term 1) + 25% (Term 2) + 25% (Term 3) + 25% (EOC)

  • Test will always be announced & will always correlate with the lessons.
  • Feedback will be provided through  Canvas submissions, Google Docs, & Stemscope

Labs/Webquests/Projects 15%
Homework 10%
Classwork 10%
Quizzes 15%





There will be no credit given for submitted work that is not yours. That may include the following scenarios:

    1. Falsifying information on assignments
    2. Collaborating/Cheating on assessments (test/quizzes/learning checks)
    3.  Copying information from the Internet 
    4. Copying and submitting assignments  (Google Docs/Canvas tasks) partially or entirely completed by someone else as your own work. Working together does not mean that your answers should be identical!
    5. Allowing another student to copy from your work.

Students guilty of the above mentioned instances will receive a zero and an administrative referral. Parents will be contacted.


Etiquettes for Email Communication

1. Include a subject line. Example: Jane Lee 3rd Block: Ecology HW 

2. Always begin your email by greeting your teacher. 'Dear Mrs. Jaffry,' or 'Hi Mrs. Jaffry,'

3. Then, write a brief comment, such as “I hope your day is going well.” or "I hope all is well at your end." This helps create a stronger interaction between you and your teacher, just as you would in person.

4. Be respectful; ask rather than demand.

5. Clearly state the purpose of the email: be concise & to the point.

6. Avoid the text lingo: use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation.

7. Do not write in all CAPITALS. This makes it seem as if you are shouting at the receiver. 

8. Use exclamation marks sparsely.

9. Before hitting the send button,  reread your email & make sure to check the impression of your tone.

10. Allow the proper amount of response time. Follow up using the original email if you have not received a response after 24 hours (on a weekday).




Helpful Hints for Success

  • Most Important: Make sure that you know how to navigate our CANVAS page.
  • Be prepared with all your supplies including a charged chrome book
  • Active participation is very important!
  • You should utilize class time effectively! 
  • Make sure to know how to access the online STEMSCOPES textbook. (The link will be posted on our Home page.)
  • We will have limited time in class to practice vocabulary for each unit using Quizlet sets (available on Canvas) so please make sure to practice on your own.
  • You are responsible for all the assigned reading material. It will also help you learn the learning the meaning of new vocabulary in context.
  • Complete the guided notes and make sure to review them.
  • Please submit your own work! Cheating will NOT be tolerated!
  • Ask questions! If you don’t understand something, you are not the only one.
  • I know life exists beyond the classroom, so if there is an issue that is affecting your academics, then please communicate with me.

 Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.           ~ Benjamin Franklin



Course Summary:

Date Details Due