Course Syllabus

WHS ACP Biology
Course Overview and Expectations
Mr. Giancioppo


Course Summary & Expectations (Syllabus at the bottom)

Dear Students, Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to ACP Biology! 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.

Throughout this year, students 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 self-advocacy are self-motivation and communication.  It is important that you ask questions about material that you don’t understand. It’s particularly important to do this 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?  Let me know!  The sooner you reachout, the better and more able I will be to help you! Email is the best way to connect and I am available for extra help by appointment.

Parents/guardians and students: please review the class policies, procedures, and expectations below and then provide an electronic signature of receipt and understanding by clicking the appropriate Google Form link at the end of this document.  Understanding and following these expectations will serve as a solid foundation for your success in ACP Biology.

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

I. General Classroom Culture

The core values of Wellesley High School (Academic Excellence, Respect for Human Differences, Cooperative and Caring Relationships, and Commitment to Community) live and breathe in my 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. 

II. Materials you will need/are suggested:

    1. Your computer - with a charger (and headphones if possible)!
    2. Folder/Three Ring Binder (some way to organize paper handouts)
    3. Pens/Pencils (often many colors are useful)

III. How you will be graded: Term Weights and Category Weighting
This year, the Science Department will be averaging the 4 quarters together with an E1 Term (Midyear and Final Exams). Q1, Q2, Q3, & Q4 will be worth 22% each, while E1 will be worth 12%. Within each quarter, grades will be determined by Category Weights. The categories within the four terms are:

  • Assessments (quizzes & tests): 60% 
  • Labs/Activities/Projects: 40%
  • 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 students & parents/guardians prior to the change. 

IV. 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 inform 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. The Daily Agenda on Canvas will also contain information about the lesson and homework you may have missed.

V. 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.

VI. 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, presentations, 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.


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


Course Syllabus

(Subject to change)

  • The Basics
    • Introduction to Ecology 
    • Themes of Biology
    • Classification of All Living Things
  • Water and Macromolecule Structure
    • Properties of Water that are Important to Life
    • Structures and properties of:
      • Carbohydrates
      • Lipids
      • Proteins
      • Nucleic Acids
  • The Cell
    • Cell Structure
  • Membranes and Transport Across the Membrane
    • Circulatory System
    • Respiratory System
    • Excretory System
    • Nervous System
  • Energy and the Cell
    • Enzymes and Proteins (Digestive System)
    • Photosynthesis
    • Cellular Respiration
  • DNA, RNA, and Protein Synthesis
    • DNA/Transcription/Translation
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics
    • Cell cycle/Mitosis/Cancer
    • Central Dogma
    • Genetics/Meiosis
  • Change Over Time & the World Around Us
    • Evolution
    • More Ecology