Honors Biology 2 Syllabus

    Mrs. Medvec (Room 89)


    Contact Information:

    Phone Number: 610-889-1900 ext. 22089

    Email: cmedvec@gvsd.org

    Course Content:

    Honors Biology 2 is a laboratory-based elective course designed for students interested in continuing their study of the biological sciences.  The major areas of study will be neurology and neurological disease with an emphasis on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  Honors Biology 2 is divided into the following units:

    • Unit 1: Introduction to Neuroscience
    • Unit 2: Neurons and Glia
    • Unit 3: Neuronal Membrane at Rest
    • Unit 4: Action Potential
    • Unit 5: Synaptic Transmission
    • Unit 6: Neurotransmitter Systems
    • Unit 7: Structure of the Nervous System
    • Unit 8: Spinal Control of Movement
    • Unit 9: Brain Control of Movement
    • Unit 10: Chemical Systems
    • Unit 11: The Brain and Behavior
    • Unit 12: The Changing Brain (including comparative anatomy, brain evolution, brain wiring, memory, and learning)

    This course is conducted in partnership with the Brain Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh.  Authentic laboratory research and field experiences are integral aspects of this course (including a trip to the Brain Research Center).  Throughout the course, students will participate in small groups to help tackle research questions posed by our partner researchers at Pitt, to explore special topics in the field of neuroscience, and to participate in literary circles to discuss books written by ALS patients and their families.  The following textbook will be used:

    Bear, M.F., Connors, B.W., & Paradiso, M.A. (2016). Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, 4th Edition. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Wolters Kluwer.


    Students must come prepared with the following materials each day:

    • 3-ring binder (1.5-2 inches thick) and dividers
    • Writing utensils— #2 pencils and pens (black or blue ink)
    • Covered Textbook
    • Completed assignments

    Grading and Course Policies:

    Marking period grades will be determined using a weighted system based on performance on summative assessments (60%), homework (15%), and other (25%).  The “other” category includes laboratory assignments, projects, class activities, etc.  Grades will be posted on SKYWARD so that you can check your progress throughout the semester. 

    • Policies related to tests/quizzes:
      • If you are absent the day of a test/quiz, be prepared to take the test/quiz the next day. (Exceptions made only for extreme emergencies.)
      • If you are absent the day before the test, you are still expected take the test on the day it is scheduled. (Exceptions made only for extreme emergencies.) 
      • There are no retests in honors biology 2 as per departmental policy.
    • Policy for turning in assignments late:
      • If an assignment is not handed in on time, 10% of the value of the assignment will be deducted from the grade for everyday the assignment is late. (As specified below, “Quick Check Homework” cannot be turned in late for any credit.)
      • A note about “Quick Check Homework” assignments: On the day that many homework assignments are due, we will go over the answers together as a class.  We refer to such assignments as “Quick Check Homework.”  Students will receive full credit (usually 5 points) for completion.  If the assignment is not complete, students receive zero points.  Because answers are given in class, “Quick Check Homework” cannot be made up for credit. 
    • Policy regarding making up assignments missed due to absence:
      • Please refer to the Student-Parent Handbook for information regarding make-up work for absences.
    • Final Grade in Biology 2
      • Each marking period counts for 20% of the final grade.
      • The midterm exam counts for 10% and the final exam counts for 10%.

     Student Responsibilities:

    There are 3 main rules* in Mrs. Medvec’s classroom, and they are in effect at all times.

    1. Be on time. (Be in your assigned seats when the bell rings.)
    2. Be prepared. (Bring required materials to class with you, complete homework and reading assignments, and be ready to participate in class by asking and answering questions.)
    3. Be respectful. (Be respectful of each other and school property.  We want to create a nurturing environment where everyone feels welcome.  iPads will be used in the classroom, but cell phones and other electronic devices should not be seen or heard.)

    *Laboratory experiments will be conducted throughout the year.  Specific lab safety rules will be given before completing labs.  It is imperative that all lab safety rules be followed. 

    Violation of classroom rules will be handled within the classroom.  Consequences may include a verbal warning, phone call home to parent/guardian, and/or teacher detention.  Violation of school-wide rules will be handled as specified in the Student-Parent Handbook.

    Teacher Responsibilities:

    I am here to help you succeed in biology.  Therefore, I will:

    1. Be prepared and organized for class.
    2. Be available for extra help outside of class. (I can be available before and after school as needed.)
    3. Provide a safe classroom environment.
    4. Check student work, keep a record of completed and missing assignments, and post grades on SKYWARD.
    5. Give students prompt feedback for their efforts.

     Hints for Success in Honors Biology 2:

    • Pay attention. Listen and participate in class.  Always check the front board for homework assignments.  If you need something repeated or would like a clarification of expectations, raise your hand.
    • Study outside of class. Review the material covered in class every night.  This will make it much easier to study for tests.
    • Stay organized. Keep notes, handouts, homework assignments, labs, etc. in an organized manner in your notebook. 
    • Set priorities. Don’t wait until the last minute to start a major assignment or to study for a test.
    • Seek out help when needed. Ask questions during class.  If you have a concern or problem, discuss it with me.  I’m available after school most days for extra help.  If you would like to stay after, see me to arrange a time.