Weston Middle School

Life Science Course Materials

Weston, Massachusetts
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Grade 7 Biology- Introduction-Course Syllabus

Course Home



Calendar- First Week

Major Projects

General Information



Additional Material

ROOM ____

E-mail: _____@mail.weston.org
Telephone Messages: (781) 529-8060 x _______
Office Hours: After School, 3 PM-4 PM. Please confirm appointment during class or by e-mail.


Prentice-Hall Science Explorer Series:

Texts are supplied by the school, and are kept at home . Homework, syllabus, and weblinks will be posted regularly on homeworknow.com.

Further Reading:

  • Nick Lane, Life Ascending- The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution (WW Norton) --One of the 10 best science books of the year- connects all the dots.
  • Lane describes how each of evolution’s great inventions—from DNA to sex, from hot blood to consciousness and finally death—transformed life and often the planet itself. The result is a stunning, lucid account of nature’s ingenuity and a work of essential reading for anyone who has ever questioned the science underlying evolution, or wondered at how we came to be here.

  • Neil Miller and Joe Levine, Prentice Hall Biology
  • ( textbook)

  • Mahlon Hoagland and Bert Dodson, The Way Life Works-The Science Lover's Illustrated Guide to How Life Grows, Develops, Reproduces, and Gets Along: ; See also the website for The Way Life Works which has many outstanding links and web exercises.
  • Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map -The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World [Paperback]

    This is surprisingly, one fascinating and important read that spins the historical reality of pathogenic disease with a well crafted story regarding the plight of a society facing a treacherous epidemic. Combining an in-depth view regarding the indefatigable energy and brilliance of Dr. John Snow in his quest to solve the deadliest outbreak of cholera in the history of London, with the history of epidemic plagues, `The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic- And How it Changed Cities, Science, and The Modern World' provided me with one page-turning, gripping historical tale that also provided further insight into the plight free societies face today in lieu of the possabilities of biological or chemical attacks on innocent people.

  • Neil Shubin, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Vintage)

    ".... The book looks at aspects of human anatomy and senses--hands, smell, hearing, vision, etc--and traces them back--way back! Some of this, of course, has been done before, but Shubin writes with a flair, a clarity, and a precision that brings it all into a new focus. There is also an emphasis on DNA, in particular recent DNA experiments that combined with the paleontology and anatomy makes a very compelling case. "

  • Siddartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies- A Biography of Cancer
  • "In 2010, about six hundred thousand Americans, and more than 7 million humans around the world, will die of cancer." With this sobering statistic, physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee begins his comprehensive and eloquent "biography" of one of the most virulent diseases of our time. An exhaustive account of cancer's origins, The Emperor of All Maladies illustrates how modern treatments--multi-pronged chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, as well as preventative care--came into existence thanks to a century's worth of research, trials, and small, essential breakthroughs around the globe.--Lynette Mong

  • PBS Evolution Website, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/

    The Evolution project's eight-hour television miniseries travels the world to examine evolutionary science and the profound effect it has had on society and culture. From the genius and torment of Charles Darwin to the scientific revolution that spawned the tree of life, from the power of sex to drive evolutionary change to the importance of mass extinctions in the birth of new species, the Evolution series brings this fascinating process to life. The series also explores the emergence of consciousness, the origin and success of humans, and the perceived conflict between science and religion in understanding life on Earth.

1. Course Objectives-Grade 7 Science

The Grade 7 Life Science curriculum aims to give students an appreciation of the processes of life and the natural world of which they are a part. Major content objectives are based on the Massachusetts Frameworks.

Goals also include learning how to think scientifically; note-taking skills; organization; non-fiction reading, research, and writing skills; and greater confidence in presentation and public speaking.

2. Supplies:

You will need the following supplies to get you started: (bring to class on Tuesday September 6th):

• (1) 3-Ring Binder 1-1/2”-2”
• (2) sets of 8-section dividers
• About 25 pages of lined paper in the 3-ring Binder
• (1) 3-Ring binder Pencil bag with pens, pencils, and 6 colored markers or pencils
Tree Finder: A Manual for the Identification of Trees by Their Leaves (Nature Study Guides) (Paperback)($3.50)
by May T. Watts- Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

3. Course Requirements:

Attend Class. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out from your homework buddy what was missed. In addition to major labs, graded class work also includes notes, observations and activities. Work missed need to be made up within 5 school-days- see the teacher for arrangements.

Work cooperatively and safely with your partner to perform labs (we’ll have lots), clean up, and complete laboratory reports.

Read the assigned pages of the textbooks, and explore supplementary reading and websites.

Take notes on your reading. Many of the quizzes are open-notes. Taking notes in your own handwriting are one of the best ways to learn new material.

Complete assigned homework sheets, and turn in by the due date. You must put your full name on all work to be handed in. Homework more than 3 school-days late will receive a maximum grade of 70%.

Quizzes will be given weekly. Quizzes may be re-taken.

Tests will be given at the end of each unit. They may not be re-taken.

Major projects, including the Leaf Project, Cell Model Project, Animal Report, and Backyard Bird Observation, will be assigned approximately once per term.

Maintain student notebook binders (see #5 below).

4. Rules for Classroom Behavior:

Follow directions the first time they are given. Do not interrupt when the teacher or another student is speaking to the class.

Comply with laboratory safety rules, and help clean up.

Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.

Wait to be dismissed from your seat.

Students who repeatedly disrupt the learning of others, or behave in an unsafe manner, may need to be removed from class. It will be your responsibility to arrange to make up, within five school-days, any work missed as a result. Missed work that is not made up will receive a grade of zero.

5. Notebook Binders will be graded every quarter. Save everything!

Binder sections include Summary/Index, Notes/Class work, Homework, Labs, Quizzes and Tests, Handouts, and References. Parents should check notebooks at least three times per quarter (look for completed worksheets, filing in order, satisfactory grades and work that reflects effort).

6. Grading is done on a point basis, which is summarized with a letter grade four times a year (at the end of each term).

Points will be distributed as follows:

      Tests and Quizzes: 30 %( 1 Test= 3 Quizzes)

      Homework: 30%

      Class work and participation: 20%

      Lab/Activity Work (includes report, working with your partner and cleanup): (20%)

The purpose of grading in my class is not to rank students, but to inform instruction and study- to indicate what assignments have been completed, and which require additional work. Work which is not of adequate quality will receive only partial credit. However, it is strongly encouraged that students re-do any such work in order to receive full credit.

Parents: If your have any concern that you wish to discuss, or have any requests or suggestions towards improving your child’s learning, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (781) 529-8060 x 6142, or drop me an e-mail at dietzj@mail.weston.org to arrange a time to talk or meet to discuss the issue.

Guest- Teaching: Parents with an expertise or interest in a topic we are studying are strongly encouraged to become guest-teachers in our class. Please let me know in advance if you are interested.

Looking forward to a GREAT year,

Teacher ______________________

Student Signature___________ Parent Signature ______________



Revised June 2008 by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org