Biology Syllabus




    Mr. G. Nenes, Instructor

    Website: Coconino High/ Teachers

    Room 702 Coconino High School

    School Phone/Voicemail: 928 – 773 – 8200 ext. 6496




    Miller and Levine Biology (2017) by Ken Miller and Joe Levine

    Pearson Realize Easy Bridge Plus (online access)

    Organized 3 ring binder (required), paper, and writing materials.


    Organized notebook (3-ring binder suggested) (required)

    Supplementary materials to be selected by instructor (provided)

    Personal colored pencils, or markers (optional)



    Prerequisites:  Acceptable score on the Coconino Science Placement Exam or teacher recommendation


    Welcome to the wonderful world of Biology!  As you probably already know, Biology is the study of life.  What a fantastic topic and I think it is safe to say that it is very relevant to all of us.  Biology I is primarily centered on learning about the structure and function of living things at the cellular level, but we do take some time to look at relationships of living things as they pertain to the macroscopic level as well.  We will study the history and nature of science, microscopy, biochemistry, cellular structure & function, cellular energy processes, reproduction, genetics, evolution, classification, native plants, ecology, anatomy & physiology and much more!  Biology I is designed to develop science skills that will help you be successful on the Science AIMS exam, FUSD Common Summative Assessment, and provide you with a foundation to conquer other science classes at CHS and even future college endeavors.  

    Course Hours Per Week: M - F; 55 minutes;

    Combination of class work and labs to be worth 1 high school lab science or elective credit.



    Upon completion of this course, the student will demonstrate basic knowledge in the following:

    1. Employ the process of scientific inquiry to design and implement scientific investigations.
    2. Create appropriate data recording methods and graphical analyses for student-designed experiments and apply discipline specific protocols and statistics for drawing conclusions and scientific reporting.
    3. Apply the concepts learned in the lecture/activities to understanding and analyzing laboratory activities and observations, forming solutions to real-world problems, and evaluating the role of humans in the living world.
    4. Create valuable labs, activities, and assessments for peers in the discipline of biology.
    5. Construct a foundation of knowledge that enables students to be informed consumers and contribute positively and actively in local, national, and global decisions that impact the natural world.



    1. Orientation to Biology
    1. What is science?
    2. Metrics, graphing, microscopy, analyzing data, forming conclusions, scientific writing
    3. Developing hypotheses, designing experiments, identifying variables
    4. Laws, theories, hypotheses, peer review, bias
    5. Characteristics of living things, unifying themes of biology
    1. Chemistry of Life
    1. Basic inorganic chemistry
      1. Periodic table, atoms, molecules, compounds, bonding, pH, acids, bases, salts
    2. Basic organic chemistry
      1. Macromolecules, proteins, enzymes, DNA, RNA, lipids, carbohydrates, chemical reactions

    III. Cellular Structure and Function

    1. Cell types (prokaryotic/eukaryotic, plant/animal), organelles, structure and function
    2. Cellular transport, osmosis, diffusion, passive/active,
    3. Cell differentiation, specialization, communication, multicellular organisms
    4. Endosymbiotic Theory, (chloroplasts and mitochondria)
    1. Cells and Energy
    1. ATP, energy conversions, photosynthesis equation
    2. Photosynthesis, historical contributions, process, Calvin Cycle, photosystems, electron transport chain
    3. Light-dependent reactions, light-independent reactions, C3, C4, CAM photosynthesis, chemosynthesis
    4. Cellular Respiration, equation, process, glycolysis, Krebs Cycle, electron transport chain
    5. Fermentation, lactic acid, alcoholic, benefits in the food industry
    6. Short-term, intermediate, long-term exercise and energy use
    1. Cell Growth and Division
    1. Cellular reproduction, asexual, sexual 
    2. Cell cycle, mitosis, binary fission, fragmentation, budding
    3. Chromosomes, DNA
    4. Cell differentiation, cell cycle regulation, stem cells, cancer, bioethics
    1. Introduction to Genetics
    1. Gregor Mendel, genetics, dominance, recessive
    2. Law of Segregation, Law of Independent Assortment
    3. Parts of the flower (flower dissection)
    4. Probability, Punnett Square, monohybrid, dihybrid
    5. Homozygous, heterozygous, genotype, phenotype, haploid, diploid
    6. Incomplete dominance, codominance, sex-linked, gene mapping

    VII. Human Heredity

    1. Inheritance, incomplete dominance, codominance, sex-linked
    2. Karyotyping, genetic disorders
    3. Mutations,
    4. Pedigree analysis
    5. Human genome, restriction enzymes, gel electrophoresis, bioinformatics, epigenetics

    VIII. Genetic Engineering

    1. Manipulating DNA
    2. Selective Breeding, hybridization, inbreeding
    3. Biotechnology, restriction enzymes, gel electrophoresis (DNA fingerprinting), bioinformatics, epigenetics
      1. Polyploidy, DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), southern blotting, microarray
    4. Transgenic organisms, cloning, genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
    5. Gene therapy, forensics, ethics and impacts
    1. DNA
    1. Structure and function in inheritance
    2. Historical perspectives and contributions
    3. Transformation, bacteriophage
    4. Replication, base pairing, semiconservative, antiparallel
    1. RNA and Protein Synthesis
    1. Structure and function
    2. Types of RNA (roles), transcription, translation, protein synthesis
    3. Codons, anticodons, mRNA processing,
    1. Operons, mutations, homeotic genes,
    2. Gene expression and regulation (prokaryotes/eukaryotes)
    1. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
    1. Historical perspectives and contributions, Darwin and many others
    2. Biological evolution, natural selection, components of natural selection
    3. Adaptation, acclimation, fitness, descent with modification
    4. Evidence for evolution



    XII. Evolution of Populations

    1. Gene pool, allele frequency, sources of genetic variation
    2. Single gene traits, polygenic traits, curves and types of selection
    3. Genetic drift, founder effect, bottleneck effect
    4. Gene flow, sexual selection
    5. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, equation, application, conditions for existence
    6. Speciation, types of isolation
    7. Molecular clocks, convergent and divergent evolution, Evo-Devo

    XIII. Classification

    1. Goals and necessity of classification,
    2. Binomial nomenclature, Linnaean Classification (pros and cons), dichotomous keys,
    3. Taxonomy, 6 kingdoms and 3 domains
    4. Evolutionary classification, phylogeny, cladograms
    5. Native plants of Northern Arizona and ethnobotany

    XIV. History of Life                                                 

    1. History and age of the Earth, hypotheses and contributions, Miller Urey experiment
    2. History and timeline of the diversity of life, geologic time scale, geologic theories of evolution
    3. RNA World Hypothesis, procells, endosymbiotic theory,
    4. Punctuated equilibrium, adaptive radiation, background extinctions, mass extinctions, coevolution
    1. The Biosphere
    1. What is ecology and how to ecologists study ecology?
    2. Ecological organization
    3. Producers and consumers, autotrophs and heterotrophs
    4. Food webs and energy transfer, nutrient cycling
    5. Keystone species, invasive species

    XVI. Ecosystems and Communities

    1. Abiotic and biotic, weather and climate, microclimate, global climate, greenhouse effect
    2. Habitat and niche
    3. Competition, symbiosis, keystone species, invasive species, endangered species
    4. Succession (primary and secondary),
    5. Biomes, aquatic systems

    XVII.  Populations

    1. How do ecologists study population dynamics?
    2. Density and distribution, growth rate, age structures, survivorship curves
    3. Exponential growth, logistic growth, carrying capacity
    4. Limiting factors (density-dependent and density-independent), human population growth
    5. Native species, invasive species

    XVIII. Humans in the Biosphere

    1. Global Ecology and human activities
    2. Sustainable development, renewable resources, nonrenewable resources
    3. Soil erosion, agriculture, biodiversity, biological magnification, water pollution, air pollution,
    4. Global warming, greenhouse gases/effect, aquaculture

    XIX.  Other Topics and Miscellaneous (may be taught within other units or as time permits)


    1. Viruses
    2. Protists and Fungi
    3. Introduction to Plants
    4. Plant Structure and Function
    5. Reproduction in Flowering Plants
    6. Introduction to Animals
    7. Animal Evolution and Diversity
    8. Animal Systems I
    9. Animal Systems II
    10. Animal Behavior
    11. Digestive and Excretory Systems
    12. Nervous System
    13. Skeletal, Muscular, and Integumentary Systems
    14. Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
    15. Endocrine and Reproductive Systems
    16. Immune System and Disease





    In addition to course content, students will learn to -

    • Think critically, logically, and realistically
    • Develop hypotheses and design and conduct scientific experiments
    • Write high quality scientific essays citing evidence to support explanations
    • Conceptualize, apply, and evaluate information, rather than memorize random facts
    • Collect, organize, interpret and analyze scientific data
    • Solve problems by using sound scientific methodology and thinking processes
    • Learn to critically read, annotate, and summarize challenging informational and technical texts for understanding
    • Develop effective communication skills using all four modalities of language
    • Master the ability to effectively express ideas in discussion and engage in established classroom discourse
    • Develop productive note-taking skills









    I like to think that the Biology experience is supposed to be fun and humor is an essential part of the classroom environment.  However, there is a certain element of potential danger with chemicals and sharp instruments used in the lab (please see Lab Safety Contract).  Therefore, a NO TOLERANCE policy will be observed for behavior problems or safety issues.  Behavior problems will first be discussed individually with each student.  Students will be treated respectfully as young adults.   First-time offenders may be put on lab clean-up duty at lunch or before or after school.  Continued problems would involve conferences with parents, the student, and administrators, and possible removal from the class.  A safe learning environment will be preserved for all students at all times.  Safety contracts will be collected and kept on file before students may conduct labs.












    The mandatory FUSD grading system is explained below:


    • 85% Broken down as follows: (equivalent to 100% of all grades before the final)

    o   Practice – Formative Assessments (Homework, papers & assignments).     

             (Some labs, activities, and in-class-projects may be included).

    o     Measurement – Summative Assessments - (Exams, quizzes, & lab       

             practicals).  (Some larger labs, in-class activities, and large projects).


    • 15% Final Exam



    89.5 -100     A

    89.4 -79.5    B

    79.4 - 69.5   C

    69.4 - 59.5   D

    Below 59.4    F 







    The goals from my side of the desk are likely the same as yours when it comes to being a successful Biology I student.  I would like to see every student in the class attain a grade of C or better.  It is really quite simple if you follow THIS ADVICE:


    • Show up on time to class EVERYDAY. Tardies & absences contribute to lost learning experiences that cannot be recovered just by making up assignments.
    • Bring all necessary materials to class EVERYDAY. Be prepared to take an active part in teaching and learning.
    • Complete & turn in assignments regularly and on time on given due dates.

                                                                                      LATE Work IS NOT ACCEPTED.  

    • Daily work, labs, and projects are not accepted late under any circumstances except in case of excused absence or teacher-approved emergency.
    • Study hard and work well with others. Expect to read a minimum of 45 minutes per night.  See HW Rubric!
    • Keep up from the get-go; it is nearly impossible to get out of a hole later on.
    • Missed work or assessments due to absence are the responsibility of the STUDENT! Make up times can be arranged at lunch or before or after school.
    • Learning can be fun, but nothing worthwhile comes easy.



    The most common problem students have is that their study skills are not adequate for high school level classes. Studying for classes involves more than just "cramming the night before a test."  Chapter Reviews are provided at the end of each chapter and study resources are posted on Google Classroom for each section studied. The following are suggestions are listed to help improve your grade in Anatomy and Physiology and other high school or college courses.


    1. Prepare to participate in class before class begins by reading over your notes you have previously written and also read over the sections of your text that will be covered prior that day's scheduled lecture/activity.
    2. Create and use a vocabulary list consistently as you work through each section.
    3. Complete all worksheets, study questions, labs, reading assignments, and activities, etc.
    4. Keep your handouts, lecture notes, and study questions organized in a notebook.
    5. Always read assigned material and outline all the main ideas for each section.
    6. Pay attention and actively participate in class.
    7. Study frequently and consistently in small doses. Cramming does not foster long-term understanding that will stick with you!
    8. Set up a study group and study with friends.
    9. Closely study figures, sidebars, and diagrams from lecture and from your text.
    10. If you are having trouble with the material, get help early.  Do not wait until TEST DAY!!!


    I am looking forward to an exciting year!  Best of Luck and may we learn a lot from each other.


        Sincerely, Mr. Nenes