Course title




Course description

19. Brief Course Description

In Biology; students gain understanding about living things; their functions; structures; and behaviors. Biology focuses on an introduction to the chemical and molecular reactions that sustain life. Topics include: bio-molecular structure and function; energy principles that rule the synthesis and degradation of biological macromolecules; biosynthesis and processing of macromolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids; and integration and regulation of metabolic pathways. Students study the different aspects of biology through readings; lectures; experiments; and group projects. Students in Biology apply the knowledge learned in the classroom to laboratory experiments. Lab activities promote critical thinking and encourage students to investigate different avenues of biological exploration.


20. Course Goals and/or Major Student Outcomes
Students in Biology will demonstrate the required knowledge and skills outlined in the California State Biology Standards as they work toward the school-wide goals of becoming:

Critical readers who explore a wide range of texts in diverse genres and styles as they interrogate; decode; and interpret the world they live in and the human condition.

Effective communicators who speak; listen and write with clarity and purpose.

Skilled problem solvers who employ systematic reasoning; construct logical arguments; and use abstract symbols to describe; order; explain and communicate about the world.

Discriminating thinkers who investigate the world through scientific inquiry utilizing appropriate tools; technologies; processes; and ethical rigor.

21. Course Objectives
Biology Course Objectives: Standards:

Students will learn the fundamental life processes of plants 1.a-j.
and animals depend on a variety of chemical reactions
that occur in specialized areas of an organism?s cells.

Students will learn the internal environment of the human body 9.a-i.
remains relatively stable despite changes in the outside

Students will learn that organisms have a variety of mechanisms 10.a-f.
to combat disease.

Students will learn that mutations and sexual reproduction lead 2.a-g.
to genetic variation in a population.

Students will learn that multicellular organisms develop from a 3.a-d.
single zygote; and its phenotype depends on its genotype; 4.a-b.
which is established at fertilization. Students will also
learn the general pathway by which ribosomes synthesize

Students will learn that genes are a set of instruction encoded in 4.c-d.
the DNA sequence of each organism that specify the 5.a-e.
sequence of amino acids in protein characteristics of that
organism. Students will also learn the genetic composition
of cells can be altered by incorporation of exogenous DNA
into cells.

Students will learn that stability in an ecosystem is a balance 6.a-g.
between competing effects.

Students will learn that the frequency of an allele in a gene pool of 7.a-f.
A population depends on many factors and may be stable
or unstable over time.

Students will learn that evolution is the result of genetic changes 8.a-g.
that occur in constantly changing environments.

22. Course Outline
Unit 1
The Chemistry Of Life

? Themes in the study of life

? Chemical Context of Life

? Water

? How do the unique chemical and physical properties of water make life on earth possible?

? Carbon and the Molecular Diversity of Life
What is the role of carbon in the molecular diversity of life?
How do cells synthesize and break down?
How do structures of biologically important molecules (carbohydrates; lipids; proteins; nucleic acids) account for their functions?

? Enzymes
How do enzymes regulate the rate of chemical reactions?
How does the specificity of an enzyme depend on its structure?
How is the activity of an enzyme regulated?

? Macromolecules

Lab Activities:
Water Transport in Celery

Unit 2
The Cell
? Membrane Structure and Function
What is the current model of the molecular architecture of membranes?
How do variations in this structure account for functional differences among membranes?
How does the structural organization of membranes provide for transport and recognition?
What are various mechanisms by which substances cross membranes?

? Introduction to Metabolism

? Cell cycle and its regulation
How does the cell cycle assure genetic continuity?
How does mitosis allow for the even distribution of genetic information to new cells?
What are the mechanisms of cytokinesis?
How is the cell cycle regulated?
How can aberrations in the cell cycle lead to tumor formation?

? Fermentation and cellular respiration
How are organic molecules broken down by catabolic pathways?
What is the role of oxygen in energy-yielding pathways?
How do cells generate ATP in the absence of oxygen?

? The Reproduction of Cells; Meiosis and gametogenesis
What features of meiosis are important in sexual reproduction?
Why is meiosis important in heredity?
How is meiosis related to gametogenesis?
What are the similarities and differences between gametogenesis in animals and gametogenesis in plants?

? Photosynthesis

Lab Activities:
Enzyme Action in Seed Germination
Carbon Dioxide Production in Seed Germination
Eggshell Osmosis
Chlorophyll Fluorescence

Standards in unit : 1a-j

Unit 3
Bacteria and Viruses
? Prokaryotes
How are prokaryotes classified?

? Bacteria
What is the relationship between bacteria; living organisms; disease; and regulation of the biosphere? How do bacteria cause disease?

? Viral structure and replication
What is the structure of viruses?
What are the major steps in viral reproduction?
How do viruses transfer genetic material between cells?

? Protista
How do funguslike; animallike and plantlike protists consume and expend energy?
What is the structure of funguslike; animallike and plantlike protests?
What is their biotic role?

Lab Activities:
Yeast budding

Standards in unit: 3a-d; 1a-j

Unit 4
The Plant Kingdom
? Plant Structure
What is the architecture of plants?
How are different structures defined by specialized tissues?
What is the role of roots; stems; and leaves?

? Plant Reproduction
What are the various reproductive strategies for plants?
How does environment impact plant reproduction?

? Plant Response and Adaptations
How do differences in shape; size; appearance; and reproduction result from environmental stimulus?

The Animal Kingdom
? Sponges; cnidarians; worms; mollusks; arthopods; echinoderms
What are the basic features of the Animal Kingdom?
How do different invertebrates achieve locomotion?
How do different invertebrates reproduce?
How do different invertebrates feed and excrete?

? Chordates: fish; amphibians; reptiles; birds; mammals
What features distinguish chordates from invertebrates?
How does locomotion; reproduction; respiration differ among chordates?
How did mammalian diversity evolve?
What are the biological systems that regulate mammalian life?

Lab Activities:
The Protostomes at
Fetal Pig Anatomy at
Frog Dissection

Standards in unit : 9a-i

Unit 5
? RNA and DNA structure and function
How do the structures of nucleic acids relate to their functions of information storage and protein synthesis?
What are the similarities and differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes?

? Mendelian Genetics
What are some mechanisms by which gene expression is regulated in prokaryotes and eukaryotes?

? Mutation
In what ways can genetic information be altered?
What are some effects of these alterations?

? Nucleic acid technology and applications
What are some current recombinant technologies?
What are some practical applications of nucleic acid technology?
What legal and ethical problems may arise from these applications?

Lab Activities:
Extracting DNA from an Onion
Mitosis Lab
Crosses Lab

Standards in unit 6: 4a; 4b; 4c; 4d; 5a-e; 5: 3a-d;

Unit 6
Mechanisms of Evolution
? Darwinian View of Life

? Evolutionary patterns
What are the major body plans of plants and animals?

? The Evolution of Populations

? Evolutionary relationships
What is some evidence that organisms are related to each other?
How do scientists study evolutionary relationships among organisms?
How is this information used in classification of organisms?

The Origin of Species
? Tracing Phylogeny
What are the distinguishing characteristics of each group (kingdoms and the major phyla and divisions of animals and plants)?

? Population interaction
What determines the type of plants and animals that thrive in an area?
What factors determine biological ?success??

Critical Analysis of The Voyage of the Beagle

Lab Activities:
Gene Expression Lab
Beans-Birds Natural Selection

Standards in unit: 7a-f

Unit 7
Human Life Systems
? Support and Movement
How is locomotion achieved?

? Fuel and Waste
By what processes do humans fuel ?work? and remove waste?

? Respiration
What is the chemistry of gas exchange?

? Fluid Transport
What is the role of the circulatory system in immunological response; respiration; disease; and healing?

? Reproduction
How do humans reproduce? What are the physiological gender differences in reproduction?
What structures are analogous?

? Stimulus and Response
How does the nervous system function?
What are the processes by which input is received; interpreted; and reacted to?

Lab Activities:
Comparative anatomy dissection using cat dissection
Mapping the Homunculus

Standards in unit: 10a-f; 9a-i

Unit 8

? Principles of Ecology
Energy consumption and production
How do species interact to consume and produce energy?
What are the resulting relationships?

? Communities and Biomes
Population Biology
Biological Diversity
How do populations impact the environment?

? Conservation

Lab Activities:
Flower dissection
Pond water comparison

Standards in unit: 6a-g

23. Texts & Supplemental Readings
? Biology; Prentice Hall
? De Anima; Aristotle
? Voyage of the Beagle; Darwin

24. Key Assignments
Key Assignments
Chemistry of Life
De Anima by Aristotle
? Student will explore early conception of zoology and experimentation
? Students will study the chemical make-up of water and generate diagrams to indicate the molecular structure.
? Polarity
? Hydrophobic
Students will study unique properties of
(Lab) Water transport in celery
? Students will examine the mechanisms by which water is transported in celery.
Cell Biology Prokaryotic vs. Eukaryotic Cells
(Lab) Parts of the Cell
? Students will examine different types of cellular organisms and draw them in their lab notebooks.
? Students will label the organelles on their drawing
Organelle ? Structure and Function
Group Project - Organelle/Cell Reconstruction
? Students will investigate the structure and function of their assigned organelle
? Students are responsible for reconstructing a larger than life organelle
? Students will present their findings to the class.
The Many Faces of Protein
Role and the Function of Enzymes
Organelle Essay
(Lab) Enzyme Action in Seed Germination
? Students will investigate this enzyme action; by first testing a dry bean seed for the presence of glucose; then testing a been seed that has germinated.
(Lab) Carbon Dioxide Production in Seed Germination
? Students will examine oxygen consumption by seeds.
(Lab) Eggshell Osmosis
? Students observe the effects of osmosis by soaking eggs in different solutions and collecting data for analysis.
(Lab) Chlorophyll Fluorescence
? Students will observe fluorescence by separating the chlorophyll from the thylakoid membrane in spinich.
Viruses and Bacteria Prokaryotes
? Students explore how prokaryotes are classified and will discuss alternate means of classification.
? Students will research common bacterial diseases and write an essay discussing the role of bacteria in maintaining life.
Viral Structure and replication
? Students will investigate the structure of viruses and make comparison charts with bacterial structure.
(Lab) Protista
? Students will explore the structure and life of funguslike; animallike and plantlike protists. Students will record differences between the types of protists as observed in microscope. Observations will be recorded and organized in their Biology journals.
(Lab) Yeast Budding
? Students will observe the cell cycle and locomotion in yeast.
The Plant Kingdom
The Animal Kingdom Metamorphosis
? Students will observe the effects of the hormone thyroxine on the development of tadpoles.
Meiosis Booklet and Presentation
? Students will make a meiosis booklet illustrating all of the stages of meiosis
? Students will be responsible for explaining meiosis to a teacher as well as working in groups to present the stages of meiosis to the class
? Students will know the main differences between mitosis and meiosis and understand why two different method of cell division are necessary
(Project) Organ System Diagrams
Plant Structure
? Students will collect plant samples to bring to class for identification and categorization.
? Students will categorize images of animals and create explanations for their system of organization. Students will then view the same images as categorized by sponges; cnidarian; worms; mollusks; arthopods; and echinoderms. Students will compare their criteria for grouping to the biological groupings.
? Students will generate a list of salient features that distinguishes firs; amphibians; reptiles; birds; and mammals but which includes them all as chordates.
(Lab) The Protostomes
? Students view several images of protostomes and describe distinguishing characteristics.
(Lab) Fetal Pig Anatomy
? Students perform a web dissection of a fetal pig and identify body systems and organs.
(Lab) Frog Dissection
? Students dissect a frog.
Modes of Inheritance
? Probability of Inheritance utilizing Punnett squares
Mendel?s Law of Segregation
Frequency of Recombination
(Lab) Modeling Monohybrid Crosses
? Students will predict the genotypic and phenotypic ratio among the offspring of a monohybrid cross
? Students will calculate the genotypic ration and phenotypic ratio among the offspring of a monohybrid cross
(Lab) Karyotype
? Students will observe the prepared slides of cells going through metaphase.
? Students will simulate the work of scientist in determining the karyotype of an individual
Students will cut out and arrange a copy of photographed chromosomes.
(Lab) Mitosis Lab
? Students determine the approximate time it takes for a cell to pass through each of the four stages of mitosis.
(Lab) Extracting DNA from an Onion
? Students precipitate DNA out of solution using alcohol.
Mechanisms of Evolution Darwinian View of Life
? Students read The Voyage of the Beagle and write a critical analysis of the book.
(Lab) Gene Expression
? Students will model gene expression in the Lac Operon
? Students will make a model of the Lac operon
? Students will demonstrate the mechanisms that regulate gene expression in the lac operon of Escherichia coli
? Simulate the transcription of the structural genes in the lac operon
Effect of Natural Selection on Phenotypes
Homozygotes vs. Heterozygotes
Role of Mutations in a Gene Pool
Importance of Variation
? Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium
Affects of Mutation
Survival of the Fittest
Effects of Genetic Drift
(Lab) Beans-Birds Natural Selection
? Students simulate natural selection occurring over three generations.

Human Life Systems

Organ Systems
? Students create a diagram of systems in their Biology journals.
(Lab) Comparative Anatomy
? Students complete a full cat dissection
Structural Systems
? Students identify and classify images of human bones.
Circulatory System
? Students make a virtual examination of a human heart.
(Lab) Mapping the Homunculus
? Students will map the region of the cortex which receives tactile input from the body. This can give them a concrete representation of the topography of the somatosensory cortex.
Biodiversity of Life (Project)
? Students will explore the morphology of amphibians; arthropods; reptiles and mammals.
? Students will explore the morphology of organisms found among the rocky intertidal habitat along the California Coast.
? Students will compare and contrast land and marine organisms
? Students will be responsible for maintaining a field notebook.
Effects of Humans; Introduced Species; & Climate on Ecosystems
? Students will study the effects of El Nino and its implications on the marine ecosystem off the California coast.
? Students will examine the effects of introduced species on the Hawaiian Islands.
? Students will analyze the effects of humans on ecosystems. Students will go through an activity that will help them better understand the Tragedy of the Commons. The follow-up questions and the discussion will let students talk about the issues and help them to come to solutions for the societal dilemma.
Nitrogen Cycle & Oxygen Cycle
(Lab) Pond water comparison
? Students compare the biodiversity of life in two samples of pond water.
(Lab) Flower dissection
? Students dissect flowers from different micro-environments to identify differences.

25 Instructional Methods and/or Strategies
? Socratic seminar
? On-line dissections
? On-line simulations
? Group Investigation
? Example study and analysis
? Practice solutions
? Readings
? Field work

26. Assessment Methods and/or Tools
? Student work is assessed by the science staff
? Student work is collected in a portfolio for assessment at semester end and year end
? Student lab work is assessed using the rubric below
? Formal assessments are administered for each unit; at semester end and year end.
? Biology journals are assessed for demonstrated understanding of concepts explored
? Analytical Reviews of Science Readings (De Anima; Voyage of the Beagle)
? Informal assessment of class participation

Unit Tests %20
Labs %20
Semester and year end assessments %15
Participation %15
Portfolio %10
Biology journal %20

Level Scientific Procedures and Reasoning Strategies Interpretation and Communication of data Scientific Concepts
Novice Beginning use of tools and procedures.

Application of tools and procedures may not relate to the investigation. Beginning use of strategies.

Strategy use may be incomplete and may not bring about a successful completion of the investigation. Beginning level explanation.

There is a beginning use of notation; scientific repre-sentation; and termin-ology that may not relate to the task.

The explanation may be missing a conclusion or recorded data. Beginning level of understanding of underlying concepts; principles or theories.

Beginning level of understanding of observable characteristics and properties of objects; organisms or patterns.
Apprentice Used some appropriate tools and procedures.

Parts of the investigation demonstrate effective use of tools and procedures.
Used a strategy that was somewhat useful; leading to partial completion of the task/investigation.

Some evidence of scientific reasoning used.

Testing; questioning; recording and interpreting data is partially complete. The explanation is partially complete.

There is some use of appropriate notation; scientific representation; and terminology

Conclusions are partially supported by data and explanation. Some reference to relevant scientific concepts; principles; or theories.

Demonstrates partial understanding of observable characteristics and properties of objects; organisms or patterns.
Practitioner Used appropriate tools and technologies to gather and analyze data; with only minor errors. Used a strategy that led to completion of the investigation/task.

Used effective scientific reasoning.

Used testable questions; conducted experiment; and supported results with data. A clear explanation was presented.

Used scientific representations; notation and terminology.

Used data to support conclusions Made reference to relevant scientific concepts; principles or theories.

Demonstrates understanding of observable character-ristics and properties of objects; organisms; or patterns.
Expert Accurately and proficiently used all appropriate tools and technologies to gather and analyze data. Used a sophisticated strategy and revised strategy where appropriate to complete the task.

Employed refined and complex reasoning

Framed testable questions; designed experiment; gathered and recorded data; analyzed data; and verified results Provided clear; effective explanation detailing how the task was carried out.

Precisely used multiple scientific representations; notations and terminology.

Interpretation of data supported con-clusions; and raised new questions or was applied to new contexts. Provided evidence of in-depth; sophisticated understanding of relevant scientific concepts; principles or theories.

Demonstrates understanding of observable characteristics and properties of objects; organisms; or patterns.

Went beyond the task/investigation to make other connections or extend thinking.
Read Aristotle? De Anima. Class discussion on early attempts at scientific explanation and observation.


28. Context for Course (optional)
29. History of Course Development

The RenArts curriculum team revised this course adhering more closely to the A-G course outline template. One of A-G?s cadre of experts met with our team at length and helped us better structure and format our course outlines.

School country

United States

School state


School city

Los Angeles

High school

Renaissance Arts Academy

School / district Address

1800 Colorado Blvd.

School zip code


Requested competency code

Lab Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • LBIO
  • Biology

Approved date

Online / Virtual