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:


Email is the best method of contact and responses will be sent in a timely manner. 

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.  Think library, with only one book available.  

There are a couple of other options available for students to access the book at home:

  • There is an online version of the book available by clicking on the following
    • Open Book is self-explanatory.
    • You can click the Explore tab near the top to get a very brief overview of the key points from each section in the book.  This is extremely helpful.
  • Students can purchase the book through iBooks ($14.99) for an iPad or iPhone


  • 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
  • A 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, each and every day.

2017 - 2018 CLASS SCHEDULE:

Period 1 – Biology 

Period 2 – Biology  

Period 3 – Honors Biology

Period 4 – Biology

Period 5 – Honors Biology

Period 6 – School Improvement

Period 7 – Plan


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

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

Rule #3:  I am here to help you, so don't treat me like an enemy.

Guideline #4:  Cell phones and smart phones are not allowed in my classroom unless you ask for permission to look something up, or to use it as a calculator.  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 webpage to keep you updated and on pace.  After an absence it is your responsibility to look at the page and see what was missed.  Additionally, you should also talk to a friend.  If you have further 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% Homework
  • 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 homework 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.”

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.  

  • Follow the directions and and answer correctly you will earn 80% of the points for each question you missed.  If it was worth 10 points, you will get 8 points back.
  • Answer correctly but do not EXPLAIN the answer with enough detail, you will receive (0) points.  
  • Do not follow the format, or answer incorrectly, you will lose 20% of the points for each question you missed.  If it was worth 10 points, you will miss and additional 2 points.

    Directions for making test corrections

  • Do all corrections on a separate sheet of paper.
  • You must put the corrections in numerical order – DON’T SKIP AROUND!
  • You must staple your original test/scantron to the back of your corrections sheet.
  • You must 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 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 either a verbal, or a written test.  All tests will have the same two questions:

  1. What can you tell me about (Topic A)?
  2. Why is important for us to study and understand (Topic A)?
Students will be evaluated using scoring rubric, which the students will have well in advance of the unit exam.


If a student turns in late work then 25% will be deducted from their score for each day it is late.  If the assignment is not turned in within 3 days of the due date the student will receive a zero on that assignment.



The content covered in the honors course and general course will be approximately the same.  However, the depth at which we cover the material will be much more involved and in much 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 quality and completion.

The tests for the honors sections are more detailed and written in a way that require a deeper understanding of the material. 


I have very high expectations of my students, and very 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