This course is a robust, thorough investigation into the major areas of life science. 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 organisms ad the chemistry behind their life functions then delves 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 vary 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 of creating hypotheses and then conducting experiments that 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 expected 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 toward 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; 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, hypotheses, 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 alive, 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 taken of trees and bark. 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.
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.
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
- Be able to manage Canvas assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Canvas notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
- Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to respectfully and wisely engage with other students and the instructor on Canvas discussion boards.
- Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Canvas messaging.
- Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.
- Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
- Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
- Be able to build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
- Be able to build a logical, well-reasoned argument through a written essay providing sound reasoning (i.e. true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
- Be able to request a family or peer to edit submissions, but understands these requests should be for the purposes of raising important questions for the student to consider and suggesting minor edits. The student understands that family or peer editors should not be reworking of sentences, redefining terms, building new concepts, building arguments or writing passages for the student.
- Be able to build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
- Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
- Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
- Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
- Be able to identify key terms in a passage, and follow the author’s argument.
- Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
- Be able to listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
- Be able to employ basic MLA formatting skills (i.e. 1-inch margins, double spacing, heading on paper).
- Be able to employ MLA citations for (for quoted material and referenced material) through the use of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, work-cited page. Student should have a concept of what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it.
- Follow along with instructor-led note-taking and record notes during class.
- Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
- Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.
- Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
- Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
- Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
- Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
- Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e. quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).
- General Biology by Heather Ayala and Katie Rogstad, Novare Science & Math
- The Apprentice’s Companion for General Biology by Heather Ayala and Katie Rogstad, Novare Science & Math
- The Student Lab Report Handbook 2nd Ed. by John D. Mays, Novare Science & Math, ISBN: 978-0-9883228-7-5
- The Apprentice Companion Biology Kit
- Compound Microscope with 40x- 400x magnification (Eyepiece x Objective) and electric light.
- Lens paper and microscope cleaning solution
- Microscope kit from Home Science Tools
- Dissection kit tray
- Potting soil
- Colored pencils
- Popsicle sticks
*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.
Tamara Davault is a native Texan who loves Biology. She graduated from the University of Texas Permian Basin with B.S. degrees in Biology and Chemistry. Mrs. Davault went on to earn an M.S. in Medical Sciences from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Since graduation, she has been teaching various Biology courses at several community colleges and universities in Texas. Mrs. Davault’s hobbies include archery, crochet, and nature walks. firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Explore our courses!
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.
Read the Student-Parent Handbook.
Please take careful note of our teaching philosophy, our technology requirements, our school policies, the parent agreement, and the distinctions between our grade levels.
Double-check the course section dates and times.
Make sure they don’t conflict with other activities in your schedule or other courses you are purchasing. Our system will not catch double-bookings!
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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.