Term: Yearlong 2020–21, September 8–May 28
Target Grade Levels: Grades 9–11; 12th graders welcome (see placement details below)
Schedule: 3x / week, 60–75 min.
Course Sections (choose one)
Section 1: M/W/F 12:30 p.m. ET with Kathryn Morton
New Placement Process: Click to Read
- if the student falls outside of the stated age/grade range for the class.
- if the student needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill and proficiency for the course.
- if the student has completed prerequisite requirements somewhere other than Scholé Academy (e.g., at home or with another school). In this case, our instructors will need to verify that the student has adequately fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.
- if a placement assessment has been recommended by a Scholé Academy instructor.
- If a placement evaluation has not been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit.
- If a placement evaluation has been administered, withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted part of their $75 refund: $35 will be paid to the instructor for the placement evaluation, and the remaining $40 of the original deposit will be refunded.
This course is a robust, thorough investigation into the major areas of life science following a path laid out in the course text and supplemented with demonstrations, projects, and activities. General Biology, by Heather Ayala and Katie Rogstad, Novare Science & Math, is an inspiring and engaging text that speaks to students through quality language and thorough explanations. It begins with the characteristics of all living organisims ad the chemistry behind their life functions then delve into the wonders of the cell and how it is structured and created to thrive and multiply. The second half of the text examines the unique features of the different kingdoms and their phyla and how the organisms very in form and function. This culminates with an intensive chapter on human organ systems and the incredible being made in the image of God. An additional chapter is devoted to ecology, populations, communities, and environments where living organisms exist. Lastly, historical and current theories of macroevolution and microevolution, and mechanisms of speciation are addressed in the concluding chapter. A repeated theme is emphasized throughout the course: science is not the business of proclaiming truth, but rather creating hypotheses and then conducting experiments which either support or oppose those hypotheses.
Class time will be devoted to the discussion of reading assignments and practice questions, explaining complicated concepts, conducting laboratory exercises, contemplating current events in biology, instilling good skills in scientific exploration and experimentation, learning quality techniques for documenting observations, and reviewing topics. The Novare curriculum targets the idea of mastering the material and bringing an end to the cram-pass-forget cycle so common in science curriculums today.
Parental Involvement: Parents are expected to support their student of biology in several ways. They are exptected to:
- obtain the proper supplies required
- be present during laboratory exercises and familiar with the procedure
- conduct occasional student-led conferences
- encourage and support their student to academic success and help him/her seek help as needed
Mastery: In order to prepare students for advanced biological study, this course uses a mastery approach. This is achieved by covering fewer concepts at a deeper level. Our goal is to have a solid, working comprehension of these concepts and the ability to communicate them. Mastering these concepts now will create a tremendous foundation upon which higher-level concepts can build in college. Regular review of important “standard concepts” throughout the year will keep topics relevant and fresh. Students will be expected to keep up with the daily workload of reading the text, taking notes, reviewing vocabulary, attending class, and completing the practice problems. This will get easier as good skills and habits are developed.
Integration: This course approaches science holistically, integrating history, the English language, and the epistemology of science. During class we will contemplate and discuss these topics and outside of class students will write about them. We will consider the existence of scientific findings that may contradict biblical statements and explore meaningful, productive responses to them. We will discuss bias and how it affects science.
Laboratory: A good scientist must understand well-designed experimentation, the proper interpretation of results, and precise communication of his/her findings. The majority of the experiments in this course are qualitative and promote strong observation skills. The microscopy portion will be led by the teacher with a digital camera so students can find structures at home and compare theirs with the instructor. Dissections will be started in class and, if necessary, completed after class. Questions can be asked to the teacher during the laboratory session. Full reports will be written. Guidelines for lab report writing will follow The Student Lab Report Handbook by John D. Mays. This manual should be purchased this year and used as a reference through college. It gives instruction on graphing results, grammatical requirements, hypothesis, and other components of high-quality laboratory reports.
Projects: Two projects will also be completed: an insect collection and a leaf collection. Due to seasonal variation, collections should be started in the summer/early fall. Insects will be caught live, humanely fumigated, dried on a Styrofoam drying board, and preserved in a lidded display box. Leaves will be pressed between absorbable paper and mounted into a display book with photos of trees and bark taken. Kits can be purchased (Home Science Tools) or home supplies can be used.
Grading: The grade will be based on several components: participation in class, quizzes, tests, projects, and laboratory reports.
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in laboratory science.
Syllabus: View course syllabus here.
At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.
- Textbook: General Biology by Heather Ayala and Katie Rogstad, Novare Science & Math
- The Student Lab Report Handbook 2nd Ed. by John D. Mays. Novare Science and Math. ISBN: 978-0-9883228-7-5
- Compound Microscope with 40x, 100x and 400x magnification (Eyepiece x Objective) and electric light. Many options available, check Nature’s Workshop Plus! and Home Science Tools. Mechanical stage is a nice add-on but not required. If you buy used make sure it has been well taken care of, the light works, and the lenses are clean and free of scratches.
- Lens paper and microscope cleaning solution
- Dissection kit tray and tools, preserved frog, perch, earthworm and crayfish. (see Nature’s Workshop Plus or Home Science Tools for kits)
- Lidded box for insect collection (cigar box, cardboard box, wooden box…any type roughly 1 square foot of display space and at least 1 inch high.)
- Insect spreading board Styrofoam (#BE-INSECBD)
- Insect pins (#2), ball jar, cotton balls, non-acetone nail polish remover (Dollar Tree), cheap insect net (dollar store)
- Colored pencils
- Index cards
- Spiral notebook or loose-leaf
- Space in a 3-ring binder
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Dr. Kathryn Morton has a BA in Biology from Illinois Wesleyan University and a DVM from the University of Illinois. Upon graduation from veterinary school, she moved to Pennsylvania to work as a clinical research veterinarian on a large dairy farm. From there she transitioned to a busy, small animal practice doing medicine and surgery. When the call of homeschooling touched her heart, she left private practice to focus on her husband and six children. She has been teaching math and science courses to the homeschooled students in her local community for 13 years and she heads a robotics club at her town’s public library. She is a lifetime learner and enjoys teaching students about the beauty of the creation and helping them grasp complex topics. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.
This registration will be finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.