Biology Class Syllabus


Biology and the History of Life is a course that will take us from the beginnings of the universe, our solar system and planet, to the formation of the smallest building blocks of life, through biological evolution and biological classification.  Topics to be covered include:  The Scientific Method, Ecology, Cells, Genetics and Heredity, Evolution, Biological Classification, and Animal Behavior.


GENERAL INFORMATION:                                                                         

Name:  Mr. Jerrid Johansen                                                   Room 2238/E10

School Phone:  (402) 829-4600                                            Email:


From August - October, I am available for assistance BEFORE SCHOOL ONLY. (XC)

From March - May, I am available for assistance BEFORE SCHOOL ONLY.  (Track)



Miller and Levine Biology published by Pearson 2010

Because I don't teach directly from the textbook, students are not required to check out a book for the year.  I will have books in my room that students can check out and take home as necessary. 



  • 3-Ring notebook (2” – 2.5” will work well)
  • Notebook paper (8.5” x 11”) with clean edges
  • Notebook dividers or tabs will be helpful, but not needed
  • Pencils and a good eraser
  • SIMPLE scientific calculator will be useful 
It is your responsibility to bring these items with you to class and take them with you when you leave class.


Period 1 – Honors Biology 

Period 2 – Honors Biology  

Period 3 – Biology

Period 4 – Biology

Period 5 – Honors Biology

Period 6 – Plan/School Improvement

Period 7 – Plan/School Improvement



Rule #1:  Follow the TITAN WAY:  Be RESPECTFUL, Take OWNERSHIP, Be SAFE.

Rule #2:  If you don’t make something an issue, I won’t make it an issue.

Rule #3:  We are here for the same reason, so let's work together.

Rule #4:  Cell phones and smart phones are not allowed in my classroom.  I will ask you to put it away after a first offense.  After a second offense I will ask to hold onto it until the end of class.



Expect every minute of class time to be utilized. It will be much more difficult for you to learn if you are not in class each day, largely because I don't teach directly from a textbook.  Each time you miss class for any reason, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find out what you missed and what can be done to make it up.  

In order to assist you in case of an absence, I have created this site to keep you updated and on pace.  After an absence it is your responsibility to look at the page and see what was missed.  You should also talk to a friend or classmate.  If you have additional questions or concerns about what you may have missed, then you need to talk to me at a time when I am not working with the class or with another student.  You are not allowed to ask me what you missed during the 5-minute passing period, nor are you allowed to ask me at the beginning of class.  The time to catch up and ask me questions is before the 7:45 bell.  If you miss class on the day before a test, you will take the test unless you come and talk to me before the start of school, and make arrangements to makeup the test outside of the normal class time.

Tardy and truancy policies are per building policy. 



The Papillion-La Vista School District adopted a weighted grade policy beginning with the 2011-2012 school year.  Under the new policy, a minimum of 70% of the grade will come from exams and tests, and 30% of the grade will come from homework, assignments, and reports.  My classes will be graded as follows:

  • 10% Semester Final
  • 20% Unit Progress
  • 20% Unit Quizzes (Multiple Choice)
  • 50% Unit Exams (Written/Verbal)

Here is an example of how the grading system works.  Let's say a student earns an 80% on all of the unit progress grades during the semester, a 70% on the semester final, an 85% on the quizzes, and a 95% on all of the exams.

Multiply 80% by 20% to get 0.16; Multiply 70% by 10% to get 0.07; Multiply 85% by 20% to get 0.17; and multiply 95% by 50% to get 0.475.

Add 0.16 + 0.07 + 0.17 + 0.475 to get 0.875, or an 87.5%

With this grading policy it is evident that your successes or failings in Biology will depend on how well you prepare for the Unit Exams.  At the same time, it is not possible to ignore the homework and quizzes and achieve a high score in the class.

The grading scale for biology will be the same as the one found in the student handbook.



  • Multiple choice quizzes will be given on an almost bi-weekly schedule.
  • They usually contain 10 questions, and are worth 100 points
  • At no point will I give you an unannounced “pop quiz".
  • Typically students score lower on the quizzes than on anything else.

I do not give EXTRA CREDIT in my class, but If you follow the directions below you can earn back up to 80% of the points you missed on a multiple choice quiz.  

  • If you answer and explain correctly, and follow the proper formatting, you will earn 80% of the points for each question you missed.  If it was worth 10 points, you will get 8 points back.
  • If you answer correctly but do not EXPLAIN the answer with enough detail, or if you don't follow the proper format, you will not receive any additional points.  
  • If you answer incorrectly, you will lose 20% of the points for each question you missed.  If it was worth 10 points, you will miss an additional 2 points.

    Requirements for completing test corrections

  • Do all corrections on a separate sheet of paper.
  • Put the corrections in numerical order – DON’T SKIP AROUND!
  • Staple your original test/scantron to the front of your corrections sheet.
  • Neatly write the number of the missed question and write the ENTIRE QUESTION.
  • Beneath this put the letter for your answer, write out the entire answer, and explain why your answer is the wrong answer.
  • Then write the letter of the correct answer, write out the entire answer, and explain why the new answer is the correct answer.
  • Your answer must be based on knowledge and must add a new piece of information. Please see below: 

    Sample Quiz Question:

1. Where in the cell does photosynthesis take place?

     a.   mitochondria

     b.   cell wall

     c.   chloroplast

     d.   endoplasmic reticulum


    Sample Correction

1. Where in the cell does photosynthesis take place?

     b.  cell wall is incorrect because it is outside of the cell membrane in plant, algae, fungi and bacterial cells. It serves to protect the cell and to provide structure.

     c.  *chloroplast is the correct answer because both the Light-dependent reactions and Calvin Cycle of photosynthesis take place in the chloroplast.


    In other words, it would not be OK for you to say:
       b. The answer is not cell wall because photosynthesis does not take place here.
This should be obvious since it is not the correct answer. You must tell me something new about this topic, in this case, the real function of the cell wall. 



Unit exams will be given as a written test.  All tests will have three questions, and students will be evaluated using scoring rubric, which the students will have at the beginning of each unit.



Students will be assigned a "homework" grade based on how much progress they make between the unit pre-test and the unit exam. Grades will be assigned using the following scale:

  • 100/100 for an improvement of 2.0 points, or a unit exam score of 4.0.
  • 90/100 for an improvement of 1.5 points.
  • 80/100 for an improvement of 1.0 point.
  • 70/100 for an improvement of 0.5 point.
  • 60/100 for no improvment.
  • 0/100 for performing worse on the unit exam tha the unit pre-test. 



If an assignment or project is to be graded, students have until the unit exam to turn in the assignment with no penalty.  If the assignment/project is not completed prior to the unit exam, then the student will receive a zero for that assignment/project.


The content covered in the honors course and general course will be similar. However, the depth at which we cover the material will be more involved and in more detail in the honors section.

Students in the honors sections will be required to complete more work on their own time, and will be held to a higher standard of understanding, quality, and completion.



I have high expectations of my students, and little of it has to do with them being good students, or loving Biology as much as I do.  Regardless of their academic ability, or whether or not they Like Science, all students will leave my classroom in May and demonstrate the following characteristics:
  • They are RESPECTFUL.  In some ways, everybody should be treated equally.  However, recognize those who are your superiors and act an address them accordingly.
  • They take OWNERSHIP of their work, their words, their actions, and of their school.
  • They work to ensure the SAFETY of other by listening to directives the first time, and by reporting unsafe conditions to a person of authority.



Biology Syllabus Form