Course Overview



K. Keen


  • Welcome to biology.  Biology is an in-depth inquiry into the study of life.  The following major topics will be covered this semester: the structure and function of living organisms, ecosystems, evolution, genetics, and molecular biology.


Course expectations:


  • Students are expected to do their best, be prepared to work, be honest, and be respectful.
  • Students can expect the same of me.



  • Students will have an understanding of the scientific process and a basic knowledge of biology. In particular students will master the North Carolina State competency goals for biology.


  • Students will have an appreciation for the relevance of science to their personal life and be able to apply biological concepts to their life.


  • Students will acquire or improve college and life skills such as meeting deadlines, taking notes, managing time, thinking critically, and enhancing their ability to share ideas.


Rules and policies:


1.      Follow all school rules.

2.      Follow directions.

3.      Food or drink is allowed only if room is kept clean.

4.      Have music put away before class begins (put devices completely away). You must ask for permission to listen to music when working.

5.      Smart phones, tablets, etc. can only be used with permission.

6.      Be respectful in class.

7.      Pay attention during announcements.

8.      If you are absent, it is your responsibility to arrange for makeup work when you return to school.

9.      In the middle of each nine weeks you will receive a progress report to be shown to your parent or guardian, signed by them, and returned to me.

10. Keep your areas clean. Leave materials the way you found them or the way you are instructed to leave them. The room and lab areas must be clean before the class is dismissed.

11.  Put your chairs on your table before you leave.

12.  Be safe when doing labs.

13.  Any cheating will result in a zero and a referral.


Grading policies:


  • Quizzes: These are short evaluations given between major tests. Quizzes can count from 5 to 50 points, depending on how much material is covered.  Some quizzes can be “pop” quizzes.


  • Tests: there are typically 5 or 6 tests each grading period (nine weeks).


  • Major projects: These will vary.  Some will be done in groups and some will be done individually.  Examples include lab reports, research projects, and class presentations. Details concerning specific projects will be given later. Points can vary depending on the size of the project.


  • Class participation: students are expected to contribute to class discussions and activities.


  • Homework/ Daily grades: some assignments will be collected.  These will be relatively small grades compared to tests and projects. You should expect homework most days.  You should review your notes every night!


  • Final grade: each nine-week period will count 37.5 % and the final (EOC) exam will count 25%.




1.      Pens and pencils

2.      Notebook paper

3.      Notebook/ binder     


Suggestions for Success:


  1. Pay attention!
  2. Be prepared!
  3. Be organized! You are expected to keep an organized notebook.
  4. Do all work and turn it in!
  5. Review everyday, even when you do not have homework.  Study regularly.
  6. Ask for help if you need it! Communicate with your teachers.
  7. Do your best! Be concerned with your learning more than your final grade!                            



Kevin Keen

Biology/ Biology Honors Pacing Guide




Unit (topics)

Objectives (NC SCS)



  • Intro. to biology/ scientific methods

(This is taught throughout the course)



1.01, 1.02, 1.03,1.04, 1.05



  • Introductory scientific method lab plus labs done throughout the course (which include written reports), analyzing science reports



  • Molecular Biology


  • Physical, chemical, & cellular basis of life (organic molecules, enzymes, cell structure and function)
  • Cell cycle (mitosis)
  • Cell as a living system (homeostasis, transport, biochemical reactions)
  • Bioenergetic reactions (photosynthesis & respiration)




2.01, 2.04,













  • Testing for biomolecules
  • Testing enzymes
  • Discovering cells (using microscopes)
  • Cell models
  • Mitosis project and lab
  • Diffusion/osmosis labs
  • Fermentation lab
  • Photosynthesis and respiration projects


  • Continuity of life (genetics)
  • Molecular basis of heredity
  • Asexual vs. sexual reproduction
  • Patterns of inheritance
  • Genomics (genetic technology / societal impacts)








3.04, 4.04

  • DNA extraction
  • Modeling replication, transcription, and translation
  • Predicting effects of mutations activity
  • Modeling meiosis
  • Predicting and solving problems using Punnett squares
  • Genetics research project
  • Simulating electrophoresis and DNA fingerprinting
  • NOVA video Cracking the Code of Life – discussion





  • Continuity of life & change over time (Evolution by natural selection)
  • History, evidence, mechanisms, applications





  • Activity – simulating natural selection (allelic frequencies)


  • PBS Evolution Videos – discussion/ written assignments


  • Ecology
  • Interrelationships (levels of ecology, symbiosis, predator/prey, limiting factors, population growth, carrying capacity)
  • Flow of Energy and cycling of matter (Food chains and food webs, ecological pyramids, biogeochemical cycles)
  • Human impact ( historic and potential changes, local and global impacts, resource use and sustainable practices)





















  • Population growth lab




  • Biome project



  • Cycles project




  • Activities – owl pellet dissection, ecology scavenger hunt, discovering ecosystems, sampling macroinvertebrates to estimate water quality, sampling terrestrial invertebrates to measure biodiversity.



  • Research project (paper about chosen environmental topics)
  • Activity – global warming using NASA resources







  • This pacing guide is only a basic guide for the class.  Only major activities have been listed for each topic. Teaching methods will vary daily.  Inquiry or modified inquiry is used as much as possible.  In addition, balanced literacy strategies are incorporated daily to help ensure student learning of target goals.


  • Although goals are listed according to unit, the class is taught in such a way that students must tie ideas and vocabulary together throughout the year.   Major themes such as the nature of science, structure and function, unity within diversity, characteristics of life, flow of energy, and evolution are built throughout the course.



  • In addition, biology honors classes are required to have more rigor.  Honors classes cover some material in greater detail and are required to do more independent learning.



AP Environmental Science

K. Keen



General courseinformation:


The goal of the AP EnvironmentalScience course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts,and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the naturalworld, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural andman-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and toexamine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them.

            Environmentalscience is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics fromdifferent areas of study.  Yet there areseveral major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topicsincluded in the study of environmental science. The following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the APEnvironmental Science course.


1.  Science is aprocess.

  • Science is a method of learning more about the world.
  • Science constantly changes the way we understand the world.


2.  Energy conversionsunderlie all ecological processes.

  • Energy cannot be created; it must come from somewhere.
  • As energy flows through systems, at each step more of it becomes unusable.


3.  The earth itselfis one interconnected system.

  • Natural systems change over time and space.

  • Biogeochemical systems vary in ability torecover from disturbances.


    4.  Humans alternatural systems.

  • Humans have had an impact on the environment for millions of years.
  • Technology and population growth have enabled humans to increase both the rate and scale of their impact on the environment.


5.  Environmental problemshave a cultural and social context.

  • Understanding the role of cultural, social, and economic factors is vital to the development of solutions.


6.  Human survivaldepends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable  



  • A suitable combination of conservation and development is required.
  • Management of common resources is essential.



Topic Outline:


The following outline of majortopics is taken directly from the AP Environmental Science course guide.  The percentage after each major headingrepresents the approximate proportion of questions on the AP exam.


1. Earth Systems and Resources (10-15%)

2. The Living World (10-15%)

3.  Population (10-15%)

4. Land and Water Use (10-15%)

5. Energy Resources and Consumption (10-15%)

6. Pollution (25-30%)

7. Global Change (10-15%)



AP Environmental Science



We will be using the 6th edition of Environment by Raven & Berg.  Additional supplemental readings will also berequired throughout the course.


AP Exam:

The exam will be on Monday May 5th.  It will cost $89.00 to take the exam.  Most universities reward some type of creditfor environmental science.  The examconsists of a multiple choice part (100 questions) that counts 60%, and afree-response part (4 questions) that counts 40%.  Studentsare required to take the exam and attend review sessions prior to the exam inthe spring. More information about the exam and review sessions will begiven later.  Tests and quizzes will bestructured in such a way as to prepare you for the AP exam.


Grading policies:

  • The semester grade will be calculated by averaging each nine weeks grade (37.5%) and the final exam (25%). 
  • Students must take the AP exam and attend the review sessions.  Failure to do so will result in a zero for the exam grade.
  • Nine weeks grades will be calculated by dividing the total number of points earned by the total number possible



  • I expect students to be hard working, self motivated individuals with an appetite for gaining knowledge. 
  • I expect students to be honest, respectful, and responsible.  You and your parents will read and sign a policy regarding cheating in the class.
  • Students will follow all school rules and class rules.




1. Pens and pencils

2. Notebook paper

3. Graph paper

4. Notebooks

5. Binder(s)

6. Calculator **


** You will not be able to use a calculator on the AP exam,and therefore any

      quizzes or tests.


Field Trips:

We will take several field trips during the semester.  You will need to sign a permission form inorder to participate.  In addition, wewill have several optional field trip opportunities after school or onweekends.  More information will beprovided regarding these later.



You will be doing many long term projects in the class.  Many of these projects will be assigned atthe beginning of the grading period and will not be due for a long while.  It is very important that you manage yourtime wisely and do not procrastinate. Details for the projects will be given as they are assigned.




I expect this to be a demanding butenjoyable course.  We have theopportunity to study many interesting and important topics.  You have the opportunity to use skills gainedin previous classes, including sciences, math, history, and English, to study atruly interdisciplinary subject.  I hopeyou enjoy the process of discovery of the natural world and realize thesignificance of the individual’s role in the environment.  I hope you gain enjoyment from the beauty ofnature, increase your aptitude of scientific investigation and reasoning, gainan appreciation for the complexity of environmental issues, and develop a senseof responsibility regarding the future.

As for being successful in class, Ihave a few simple suggestions.  Read! Read! Read!  Manageyour time.  Stay away from cramming.You will find that this course is structured so that material builds onpreviously learned material.  Followdirections carefully! Details do matter. Be organized.  You might find ithelpful to make vocabulary lists. Use the questions at the end of chapters forreview even if they are not assigned. Participate in class.  Payattention, asks questions, and be active in labs.  Read,stay organized, and manage your time!



Physical Science

K. Keen

Basic rules:

1.     Follow all school rules. Remember cell phones and other devices are put away during class unless you have permission to use them.

2.     No food or drink will be allowed as long as the room is kept clean.

3.     You are expected to do your best, be prepared to work, be honest, and be respectful. You can expect the same of me.



1.     If you are absent, it isyour responsibilityto arrange for makeup work when you return to school.

2.     You should be at work when the tardy bell rings. Look on the board for an assignment.

3.     In the middle of each nine weeks you will receive a progress report to be shown to your parent or guardian, signed by them, and returned to me.

4.     Keep your areas clean. Leave materials the way you found them or the way you are instructed to leave them. The room and lab areas must be clean before the class is dismissed.

5.     Be safe.


Grading policies:

·       Homework and daily grades:includes short lab activities, small projects, article summaries, and other assignments.

·       Tests:there are typically 3 or 4 tests each 6 weeks.

·       Quizzes:Some quizzes will be open note and some will not.

·       Labs:all students are expected to participate

·       Final Exam:This is a comprehensive final test.


Final grade:each nine-weeks will count 37.5 % and the final exam will count 25%.



1.     Pens and pencils

2.     Notebook paper and graph paper

3.     Notebooks/ folders                                       

4.     Calculator *



  • Stay organized! Keep a neat notebook with all notes, papers, and assignments.
  • Review your notes and practice at home everyday, even when you do not have homework.
  • Ask for help if you need it!
  • Do your best!