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Course Overview

All the processes of living things happen in the aqueous environment in or around cells, and these processes are constantly changing (both in response to the immediate environment, and over time through evolution). High School Biology focuses on the cellular basis of life (and could alternately be named “Cell Biology”). This class is designed to explore cell processes, genetics and heredity, evolution, and microbiology. This course is a high-demanding first year biology course. Students are expected to work independently and develop self-monitoring skills. Students will develop critical thinking skills to better grasp a wide array of biology concepts utilized in the course. Various lab activities and collaborative group work will be required. The concepts and activities in this course will prepare students for post secondary education, possibly with a focus in the sciences.

Students are mailed a complete science kit with materials for hands-on labs, including dissections and a professional quality microscope. Labs are conducted during live, synchronous class times called live sessions. The instructor monitors lab work during the live sessions.

Course Content

Unit 1: Introduction

In this first unit, students will learn about scientific processes and data analysis. Students will learn about precision and accuracy, biology statistics, and dimensional analysis. Next they will learn about variables, scientific honesty, and experimental design and analysis. To finish out this unit, students will learn about the basis of life and get a broad overview of the topics that will be covered in this class.

Unit 2: Cell Biology

Students will learn about biological macromolecules, eukaryotic cell structure, and cellular membranes. First, the four biological macromolecules and how to identify them will be covered. Then, the unit will cover the structure and function of eukaryotic cells and their organelles. Lastly, students will learn about cellular membrane structure and importance.

Unit 3: Fermentation and Respiration

The third unit will cover the processes of cellular respiration and fermentation. By the end of this unit, students will be able to describe the processes, under which conditions respiration and fermentation will occur, and the similarities and differences in the two processes. They will learn about glycolysis, the Krebs cycle, and the electron transport chain.

Unit 4: Plant Form and Function

Students will learn about the structure of plants, the function of each structure, and how plants get their food. Next, they will learn about plant growth, reproduction, and transpiration.

Unit 5: Photosynthesis

This unit covers photosynthesis. Students will learn about the two stages of photosynthesis, where they occur, when they occur, and how different environments affect photosynthesis.

Unit 6: Mitosis and Meiosis

This unit covers the cell cycle, mitosis, meiosis, and cancer. By the end of this unit, students will be able to explain the different stages of the cell cycle and what occurs in each stage. They will also be able to describe the process of mitosis and cell division. Related to this, students will learn about cancer and what happens when mitosis and the cell cycle go unregulated. Lastly, students will learn about meiosis and gamete formation.

Unit 7: Mendelian Genetics

Students will learn about the structures of DNA and RNA and the processes of transcription and translation. Next, students will learn about Mendelian genetics and different genetic disorders. Lastly, students will learn how to read and create pedigrees and gene maps.

Unit 8: Evolution and Population Genetics

Students will learn about Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, as well as the history of evolution and different theories of evolution. After learning about theories of evolution, students will learn about population genetics, the Hardy-Weinberg equation, and macroevolution and microevolution.

Unit 9: Microbiology

This last unit covers the bacteria and viruses. Students will learn about different types of bacteria, differences in prokaryotic shape and structure, and pathogenic bacteria. Lastly, students will learn about the uniqueness of viruses, their structure, and their interactions with humans and other animals.