• HONORS LIVING ENVIRONMENT – MR. LANCE JOHNSON                                        

    CONTACT: lance.johnson@wcsdny.org                OFFICE PHONE: 845/298-5100 X31069



    TEXT: P.H. BIOLOGY: THE STUDY OF LIFE              COURSE NO.: S461         CREDITS: 1.00


    The Living Environment (L.E.) Honors course is an academically rigorous course in biology – the study of living organisms. This course expands on the previous Regents Biology curriculum, as it also places a great deal of importance on the application of biological knowledge to living systems – the study of ecology. Students will be expected to apply prior scientific knowledge, where appropriate, as well as general study skills. In addition, students will further develop a variety of laboratory techniques during their course of study this year.


    Every week, we will have either 7 or 8 periods of L.E., including laboratory sessions. There is a statewide Regents requirement of 1200 minutes of satisfactorily completed lab assignments, and as such, labs are a fundamental part of this course. Students must have completed all labs by Friday, May 22, 2015 – or they may not be permitted to take the Regents exam, which is necessary for graduation. Students will be expected to monitor their completed labs, and will be informed on at least a biweekly basis of their lab completions; students may not be permitted to sit for quizzes or tests if there are incomplete lab assignments.


    Students will be undertaking additional study, above and beyond the Regents curriculum, as is to be expected in an Honors course. Students can expect a minimum of one project per quarter, possibly including an oral presentation component. In addition, it is a time-honored tradition at RCK that every Honors Biology student is expected to complete a Science Fair project for the WCSD Science Fair in March. Finally, I anticipate that we will explore some of the more controversial topics in modern biology, and as such I hope to help increase both student awareness and decision-making ability in these areas, e.g. bioethics, genetic engineering, the current debate over evolutionary theory and Intelligent Design, the importance of stem cells, cloning, human impacts on the environment, etc.



    Learn about cells, organisms, and living systems       3. Further develop note-taking, organizational, and study skills;
    Prepare for the Living Environment examination       4. Develop and improve upon laboratory techniques. 



    I will be utilizing a “total points” grading system, in which different materials have different point values and the grade is based on: the total number of points earned/total number of possible points. For this reason, the proportion of lab/homework points may change somewhat from quarter to quarter. For the sake of approximation, the point breakdown is usually:

    - 60%   Tests and quizzes (expect approximately one per week)

    - 40%   Laboratory assignments                      Homework (expect between 1-3 assignments per week)

                Projects                                               Classroom participation, behavior, & attendance



    At a minimum, to be successful students must have a 3-ring binder dedicated to biology, as well as a pen, pencil and paper. At times, we will need to utilize graph paper and calculators, and a dollar-store calculator will suffice. In addition, students may wish to have an assignment pad, a ruler (for drawing), and possibly colored pencils.



    1. To be successful in this course, good attendance is mandatory. Attendance problems will be addressed through parental notification, school administrators, and the Science Coordinator, as needed.

    2. Preparation for each day’s work is vital; have any text materials read before class.

    3. A valuable study aid for biology is to study for at least 15 minutes every night, so that you can learn the material and not simply memorize for the test. This will be discussed in class, as well.