Course Syllabus

WHS Honors Biology

Course Syllabus, Overview, and Expectations

Mr. Giancioppo


Course Syllabus
(Subject to change)

  1. The Basics
    1. Introduction to Ecology 
    2. Themes of biology
    3. Classification of All Living Things
  1. Water and Macromolecule Structure
    1. Properties of Water that are Important to Life
    2. Structures and properties of:
    3. Lipids 
    4. Carbohydrates
    5. Proteins
    6. Nucleic acids (DNA, RNA)
  1. Energy and the Cell
    1. Enzymes and Proteins
    2. Digestive System
  1. The Cell
    1. Cell Structure
    2. Membranes and Transport Across the Membrane
    3. Human Systems & Transport:
    4. Circulatory System
    5. Respiratory System
    6. Excretory System
    7. Nervous System
  1. Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration
  2. Molecular Biology and Genetics
    1. Cell cycle/Mitosis/Cancer
    2. Central Dogma
  1. DNA, RNA, and Protein Synthesis
    1. DNA/Transcription/Translation
  1. Immune system and Microbiology
  2. Genetics & Meiosis
  3. Change Over Time & the World Around Us
    1. Evolution
    2. Ecology Continued


Course Summary & Expectations

Welcome to Honors Biology! I am looking forward to working with you in person this year and getting back to more hands-on science! In this course, we will explore the major concepts in biology, emphasizing problem solving, laboratory exercises, data analysis, and application of biology to everyday life.

Students in the Honors course in particular must take responsibility for their own learning and actions as well as develop a sense of agency in order to be successful. Two important skills that will help with the development of this self-advocacy are self-motivation and communication.  It is important that you ask questions about material that you don’t understand at the time the material is being discussed and well before an exam, quiz or other summative assessment.  Is something unclear?  Did something come up at home that impedes your ability to meet deadlines?  Students, let me know!  The sooner you reach out, the better! Email is the best way to connect and I am also available for extra help by appointment.

Parents/guardians and students: please review the class policies, procedures, and expectations below. Understanding and following these expectations will serve as a solid foundation for student success in Honors Biology, so please reach out to me if you have any questions.


Policies and Procedures:

(The policies and rules outlined in the WHS Student Handbook apply at all times)

  • General Classroom Culture
    The core values of Wellesley High School (Academic Excellence, Respect for Human Differences, Cooperative and Caring Relationships, and Commitment to Community) will be part of our classroom. A culture of care, kindness and respect for community members is at the core of my daily practice and I expect the same from my students. This includes daily preparation and participation, and active inclusion and compassion for all people, and adherence to academic integrity.

  • Materials
      1. Mask: You must wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times in the classroom and you must follow school policy regarding mask usage. The nurses office has extras in case you forget one or need a replacement.
      2. Your computer and a charger. Please bring headphones if possible.
      3. Textbook: Campbell Biology Concepts & Connections, 8th Edition. This will be provided to each student at the beginning of the school year. You do not need to bring this back and forth to class unless otherwise instructed. Readings will be assigned and are considered essential. Keep it safe as it will need to be returned at the end of the school year ($120 replacement cost).
      4. Folder/Three Ring Binder (some way to organize paper handouts).
      5. Pens & pencils.
      6. (SATII review book for those possibly taking the SAT subject test)

  • Grading
    Grades will be determined by the following category weightings in this course:
  • 40% Labs & Projects
  • 60% Assessments (Quizzes & Tests)
  • Homework will not be graded, but it will be assigned due dates, checked for completion, and reviewed. Each student will maintain a homework log, which will be used to record progress with homework. Completing the homework in a timely manner is essential for success on the assessments and this course in general.

*All grading policies are subject to change. Any changes will be announced and communicated to parents/guardians prior to the change.

  • Tardiness & Absences
    Please make every effort to be on time to class. This class has a morning double block once per cycle and students are expected to be in the classroom prior to 7:30am on those days so that the class can start on time. If you know you will be absent or tardy from class, please contact your house office and then email me ASAP ( It is important for you the student to contact me about missed work ASAP or you will fall behind.

  • Academic Honesty & Integrity
    Please be clear that cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty as noted in the student handbook will NOT BE TOLERATED.  This includes the sharing of homework, classwork, and communicating assessment information to other students. Assume everything is to be completed individually unless you are instructed otherwise by me; I will indicate when assignments are to be done in groups. If you are unsure, ask! If any violations should occur, handbook protocols for handling the incident will be followed, which may include a failing grade for that particular activity for any individuals involved. The appropriate assistant principal will be contacted as well as parents/guardians.  

  • Canvas & Email Updates
    We will be utilizing Canvas as much as possible when completing online work. Units will be outlined in module format and links to all online documents, assignments, powerpoints, labs, etc. will be found in these modules. The agenda for each class day will be posted within Canvas. Some updates will be communicated via email. It will be expected that you will check both the agenda and your email regularly for updates, especially when absent or tardy.

*You may want to consider downloading the Canvas app to your cell phones and allow push notifications so you have the most up to date information possible, but this is not required.

Thank you for your careful attention to these classroom expectations. Please know that I am here to help you learn and succeed in biology and am truly looking forward to working with you all this year. I hope this will be a rewarding year for all of us.

Parents/Guardians: please feel free to contact me via email (  Email is the best way to get in touch with me.  I will reply to your email as soon as possible.  


Mr. Paul Giancioppo