Honors Biology


Electronic Table of Contents

  1. Dr. Gottfried
  2. End of Course Exam
  3. Bias
  4. Student ID number
  5. Reading Assignments-
  6. Time and interruptions
  7. DO NOW
  8. Behavior/Discipline
  9. Conduct Grades
  10.  Cell Phones
  11. Attention
  12. Substitute Policy
  13. Tardy Policy
  14. Groups/Seating
  15. Supplies
  16. Lab Safety
  18. Dreams 
  20. Notes
  21. Guideposts For Written Work to be Submitted
  22. Academic Grades
  23. Assignment Values
  24. Tests/Quizzes
  25. Cheating
  26. Late Work
  27. Missed Tests/Quizzes
  28. Extra Credit 
  29. Lab and Activity Reports
  30. Effort Grades
  31. Posted Signs
  32. Electronic  Access
  33. Phone Access
  34. Submission of Homework Done on a computer
  35. Green Paper Policy
  36. The Internet-At School 
  37. Pictures
  38. College Advice
  39. Jokes
  40. Errors
  41. Thoughts to ponder

Dr. Gottfried

You can call me Mr. Gottfried, or Dr. Gottfried. I am not a medical doctor, so don't ask me what to do with a cut, a broken bone or a sprain. I earned my Ph.D. in biological oceanography in the department of Biology and Living Resources at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science(a mouthful, but no one ever asked me; the name of the department has changed since then anyway.-but as a result of learning to say its name I was prepared for "Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Senior High Biscayne Bay Campus.")

End of Course Exam

Towards the end of the 2019-2020 school year (probably in early to mid May) students in Biology (state course description) will take a computerized exam. The exam will count for 30% of your year grade. To earn a "Scholars" designation on your diploma you must pass the EOC.  The End of Course exam (EOC) will cover objectives from the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards

How will the End-of-Course Assessment results affect my final grade in the course?
REQUIREMENT: Florida Senate Bill 1076 requires that the EOC assessment results make up 30 percent of all studentsí final course grades for the following courses:
ē Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology 1, U.S. History and Civics
Students must earn a passing grade in a course with the 30 percent calculation applied in order to earn high school credit.
What grades will be assigned based on the EOC?
EOC Score Grade assigned for 30%
5 or 4 A
3 B
2 or 1 D
How will the 30 percent be calculated into my grade?
The final grade will be calculated using the following formula, with traditional point values used for the letter grade:

Teacher final Grade Final Grade
EOC Score = 5 or 4
30% as "A"
EOC Score = 3
30% as "B"
EOC Score=2 or 1
30% as "D"

I checked, and in the 2014-15 school year of my 78 students who took the test, the EOC changed 9 grades (a little over 11%). 5 grades went up and 4 down.
In 2015-16  100% of my students passed the exam, so no grades went down. 12 went from C->B and 4 from D->C.  So, the EOC mattered to about 20% of my students.
In 2016-17 84% of my students passed the exam ::-(   16 grades went up and 7 went down.  So, the EOC mattered to 29% of my students.
In 2017-18 the way they published the data makes it difficult for me to automatically figure this out. However, there were 2 students who earned Fs from me, but, got 4s on the exam, so ended the year with Ds.
In 2018-19 more students had grades go up than down, but, more than 10% of my students year grades were influcenced by the EOC.

I have produced an abstracted list of standards and benchmarks which may help you focus your efforts when the time comes to study for the exam. Additional resources will be made available as the State gives us more information about the exam.  In 2014-15 over 90% of my students passed the exam.  In 2015-2016 100% passed. I'm not sure what happened in 2016-17 (84% passing),. In 2018-19 88% passed.

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I am a very verbal teacher. I will provide you with lots of printed material. I will talk a lot (Don't say it is because I like to hear the sound of my own voice. While it may be true telling me this is not a good way to impress me.) You need to listen to all instructions and to read everything carefully.
I will do my best to teach you. I work hard for you and I expect you to work hard for me. Learning can be fun, but it is also hard work. Like any skill, thinking needs practice. In my classes I hope you will get lots of practice! 


All ideas start from preexisting assumptions. In math these assumptions are frequently called axioms, or ideas that don't need proving. In history they are sometimes called maxims, things so obvious they don't have to be proven.
In science we like to think that there are no assumptions. HOWEVER, this is not true. There are a number of basic assumptions or biases to science that are so basic that we forget to think about them.
Science believes (and in this context that means that I believe) that the universe is rational, logical, and can be understood by rational and logical processes. Science believes (...) that the universe can be explained in ways that make sense without resorting to the supernatural or paranormal.
There are other world views that societies can use as a focus for their civilizations. The rationalist world view is mine, and has produced the technology that gives us our standard of living.

Error Detection
During this year I will be doing a great deal of talking (see above). I will give lectures, answer questions, conduct discussions, etc. Since I am an imperfect scholar and any evidence to the contrary aside, a fallible human being, I will inevitably make factual errors, draw some unjustified conclusions, and pass along my opinions as facts. I will be very unhappy (not a good thing) if you were unaware of these mistakes. To minimize that possibility I assign you all the following task. Make sure none of my mistakes goes unnoticed. If you find an error (and there will surely be some) tell me why it was an error, the source of your authority, and a truer or less biased way of saying what I was trying to say. (If you do this properly-politely identify and correct an error-you will get extra credit.) I may from time to time include deliberate mistakes or outrageous opinions to see if you are awake. There is no need for you to "test" me alone. Feel free to collectively review the things I've said. One of the strongest study techniques is the study group. Try and set up one. 

Student ID number

It is very important you learn, and remember your student ID number. 

Course Requirements
Read the fine print.

I give complex instructions. Read them.

Follow directions.

Remind Service- Get SMS text or email reminders of important dates.

Go to "my sign in page"  and enter your phone number.  OR

Text @drgbio1920 to 81010 or E-mail (subject and bodyof the message can be blank)
You can sign up for both text and email messages.
Remind, Inc., a safe way for teachers to communicate with students and parents. To opt-out, text 'unsubscribe @drgbio1920' to 81010.  Standard text message rates apply. Visit to learn more

Reading Assignments-

While we will not be going through the text book chapter by chapter you will be assigned readings to go along with the classwork.  Some may be on the internet rather than from a textbook. Live the future.

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Time and interruptions

Don't waste time! Our class time is a limited resource. We have many things to accomplish and a limited amount of time in class. While each of you is an important individual, I must teach you collectively and you must respect the rights of the other students and my rights as a teacher.

Many minor crises can be more appropriately handled if you submit your problem (with a grade, an assignment, a group) in writing after class or by email. I'll get back to you with an answer as quickly as possible, and you won't disturb or interrupt the entire class. In addition, I am more likely to consider your plea if it does not interrupt me than I am if you are disrupting the class.

When it comes to whining importuning requests during class time the following witticism is informative: A politician says "yes" if he means maybe, "maybe" if he means no, and if he says "no" he's not a politician. An editor says "no" if he means maybe, "maybe" if he means yes, and if he says "yes" he's not an editor. A teacher says "no" when he means no, "no" if he means maybe, and "no" if he means yes. Anything other than "no" and he's not really a teacher.

Block Scheduling - It is not yet clear (June 2019) exactly how block schedule will be implemented. I'm guessing we will be having periods 1,3,5 on Monday and Wednesday, period 2, 4, 6 on Tuesday and Thursday and  Friday will be 1-6.  This is subject to adjustments for testing and special conditions. For example, I'd guess that the first day of school will be 1-6 with Tuesday, Thursday being 1, 3, 5 and Wednesday, Friday being 2, 4, 6.  Let's see if I'm right. (Email me when you know for a potential reward).

In 2015-16,  2016-17,  2017-18 and again 2018-19 we were forced to go to "full" block to accomidate testing. There was lots of testing.


DO NOW/Jump Starter

There will be an assignment on the board, a "DO NOW," in every class, every period.  JUST DO IT!  

It will probably be timed. Don't waste time.

It may be graded, collected, or simply reviewed. 


I hold my students to a high standard of discipline and good behavior.

I like to take my classes outside the building for some labs on the courtyard and PE field. I can not do this if my students can't control themselves.

I expect you to be able to walk 100 meters without talking to anyone else!

I expect you to respond to directions without argument or debate.

I expect the sound level in the classroom to at all times be less than that of a jet airplane on take-off.

You know when you are too loud without being yelled at by the teacher. Keep yourselves under control, or I will be forced to control you! The school has a discipline policy which will be adhered to.

The Discipline Plan includes the following rules:

-Be prepared for class and on task at all times.

You need:



additional class materials (as required by teacher)

-Be on time and in your seat when the tardy bell rings.

-Be polite and respect others.

raise your hand and wait to be recognized

do not use profanity or obscene gestures

-Accept responsibility by following the rules the first time they are given.

do not disturb the class

do all class and homework assignments

no food in class

adhere to the school uniform and dress code

no radios, cameras, tape players or beepers

-Make a positive contribution to our school.

participate in all grade level, and school activities

take care of your school materials

take care of library books

do not vandalize or deface school property

Consequences range from verbal warning and parent contact to referral to the administration.

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Conduct Grades

You are responsible for your behavior. Every student starts out each nine weeks with an "A" in conduct.

If you interrupt me, or other members of the class your conduct grade will suffer. If you don't know how to behave in class, your conduct grade will suffer.

You know what is appropriate behavior for a classroom. You must show respect for me and for every other person in the classroom.

In the past few years the single biggest conduct problem was tardiness at the beginning of the school day. WAKE UP!

 Cell Phones


While the school board ruling says you can have them in school it specifically says your can't have them on during class. If your phone rings, buzzes, vibrates etc during my class it (or the battery) will be taken away and you will be asked to have a parent come in to pick it up. Do not take them out to use as cameras without permission or, they (or the batteries) will be confiscated and you will be asked to have a parent come in to pick it up. Do not ask to go to the bathroom so you can use your cell phone during class. If you get caught at it, it (or the battery) will be confiscated and you will be asked to have a parent come in to pick it up.  If you want to use your cell phone as a camera or calculator remember to ASK first.

Recently I have seen some students actually taking notes on their smart phones. If you want to do this (a) ask first (b) you may be asked to email a copy of your notes to me to verify that you were actually taking notes on your phone, not texting and to allow me to prove to administration that we can "Live the Future."

Your phones are a distraction. You need to learn how to control your own behavior. If you require your phone to be taken from you, for you to focus in class, what does that say about you?

IPods, mp3 players, cameras (etc) - see Cell Phones

I have a great many electrical outlets in my room. Ask if you want to charge your devices.  

Given the district's policy on bringing your own devices, some of this may be revised as needed.

I will need you to have a device (cell phone, tablet, laptop) to participate in Schoology quizzes or games.  How things change.

In an interview about education Nobel Prize (physics) winner Carl Wieman said about digital distractions 

"These new technologies can be helpful, but generally they are bad in that they distract people. One of the things that's very easy to demonstrate in studying learning is a distraction. Splitting your attention between two things. Your brain processes this stuff in very different ways, and the amount of learning drops precipitously. Basically, when those kids are in that classroom and they are switching their attention back and forth between their cell phones and the internet and what's happening in the classroom, I can just guarantee the learning, as it turns out, is almost zero as soon as that happens."

Think about that before you look at your phone.

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One important procedure involves my getting your attention when you are too loud, doing a lab, working on your own etc. It is possible I may need to get your attention quickly and efficiently before you do something dangerous.

I have tried a variety of techniques ranging from ringing bells, clapping, flashing lights and just screaming. I don't know yet what we'll end up using this year. BUT, when I want your attention you need to:

(1) stop talking

(2) stop what you are doing

(3) focus on me

Substitute Policy

If you misbehave when a substitute is in the classroom, you will earn a conduct grade no higher than a C for that marking period. Your parents will be contacted. You will also be excluded from special activities for a month.
Subsequent offenses will require a parent conference at which additional sanctions will be discussed.

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Tardy Policy

Class can't start until you get here. Excessive tardiness will be dealt with as a serious conduct violation.  Initially I'll call home. After that it gets worse.


I may or may not assign seats in the classroom portion of the room. Don't complain. I'll move you around when I feel like it.

You will also be assigned to lab and assignment groups on a needs basis. For labs and group work you will be with the other people in that group for the duration of that assignment.

Part of the process of group assignments is to get you to work with a variety of different people. Do not tell me who you want to be in a group with! You have to learn to work with people you may not like as well as with your friends. Everyone has something to contribute.

If behavior allows, I may allow you to pick your own seats and dispense with assigned seats in the classroom section of the room.


You will need a "lab notebook" for biology.  You can use an inexpensive composition book for this purpose.  This notebook is subject to collection at any time, but will definately be collected and graded at least twice a month. Additionally, you will need a small 3 ring binder, or a section in a larger 3 ring binder for lab reports, homework, worksheets and other "loose" papes.  I suggest a 1" loose-leaf notebook, or a section of a larger one, with a pocket for material that is (a) too big for the binder or, (b) doesn't have holes punched in it.

Tablets-Rumor has it (yes I love Adele) that all students will have tablets assigned to them. Once they are distributed I will expect you to bring them to my class when asked (along with headphones for private listening). I have plenty of outlets to keep them charged up-so that isn't an excuse!

You will need to bring a pen and pencil (#2) to class every day.

You will need a basic calculator (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and square root) for some of our tests and assignments. On days when we will need additional supplies (rulers, calculators, colored pencils, glue, etc) you will be notified in advance.

If you are completely disorganized see me, and I can offer some suggestions.

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Lab Safety

Safety in the classroom and when we do labs is the first consideration. You will be required to read and sign a safety contract. Failure to do so will result in your forfeiting the right to participate in lab activities.

Violations of lab safety will be considered severe violations of class, and school rules! (See link 3).

One of the safety rules is that no food is to be eaten in science labs (such as room 411). This is a science laboratory and many unpleasant chemicals have been used and are stored here. Please do not violate this rule. Some of the chemicals can cause cancer. It would be real pity if 20 years from now you got cancer because you put your muffin down on the table in the science lab.

If you are lucky, violation of lab safety rules will result in severe disciplinary action. If you are unlucky you or a friend might loose a limb, an eye, or a life.

Below is a reference copy of a safety contract.

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This is to certify that I, _________________________________ have been instructed in the following safety components of this science class:

1) ______Safety Rules

2) Location and proper use of the following safety equipment:

________ a. Fire extinguisher

________ b. Fire blanket

________ c. Eye protection devices

________ d. Eyewash

________ e. Chemical containers

________ f. Master shutoff for gas and water

________ g. Bunsen burners

________ h. Electrical equipment

________ i. Intercom location & Phone

________ j. aprons

3) Safety procedures for the following situations:

________ a. Fire

________ b. Chemical splash to the body

________ c. Eye emergency

________ d. Chemical spill

I am aware that in the laboratory every student's actions can affect the safety of others more so than in any other classroom environment.

Every experiment can be performed safely by each laboratory student following recommended safety procedures.

To do my part to provide a safe environment in the laboratory, I agree to:

1) Follow instructions EXACTLY.

2) Perform only authorized experiments.

3) Protect eyes, face, hands, and body utilizing proper safety equipment and procedures.

4) Keep my work area tidy and clean up after each experiment.

5) Know where to get help fast.

6) Know where safety equipment is and how to use it.

7) Report at once all accidents, even minor ones, and any unusual occurrence.

8) Never bring food or drink into the laboratory.

9) Never "play around" - unusual motions are distracting and dangerous.

10) Ask questions if I do not understand what to do.

I am aware that I can look up chemicals I am to use and their safety in the Material Safety Data Sheets that are posted or are available.

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Often there are "kitchen" chemistry labs that we can do if YOU bring in the supplies. You do not get extra credit for this (you can't buy a grade!), but you do get my gratitude and to do some fairly interesting labs.

We always need paper towels!


(Once upon a time I made up an acronym for my 7th graders about what it took to succeed in school & life. I made them chant it! I no longer teach middle school and so no longer have my students "chant," which doesn't make the acronym less true.)

I assume you have them. Aspirations, hopes, and dreams of what you can and will do with your life. I have an acronym for what you need to master to reach your dreams.  When I used to teach middle school I frequently had my students recite this as a mantra. I donít do that in high school, but it is worth at least thinking about what you want to do with your life, and what you have to do to achieve your dreams.







Discipline-not external discipline, but internal discipline, self discipline to do what has to be done and not to do what shouldn't be done. In school we can force some discipline onto you, BUT to succeed you need to have self-discipline.
Responsibility-doing what is required of you, without excuses or delays. We all want other people to trust us and rely on us. They only do when we are responsible.
Effort-to succeed you need to put in the time and work. No enterprise succeeds without effort, and that includes your education. I put in effort to do the best job I can for you. I expect you to do the same for me, and for your own futures. No one becomes a great basketball player, architect, designer, doctor or chef without practice and effort.
Ability-there is no doubt in my mind that in addition to effort, natural ability plays a role in success. A very short Magic Johnson would not have made a great basketball player.
Motivation-without internal motivation you can not learn, and grow into a thinking person. You may succeed in school temporarily, but without some drive or motivation you will not become all that you can be.
-reading, writing, math, science, art, music, car mechanics, drafting, typing (now called keyboarding), cooking and sewing are all skills. To convert your dreams into reality you need to work on your skills.

I believe that scientific thinking is a skill that can help anyone (with the exception of a psychic) in any walk of life. Science is a process that interprets the world. That is a skill we all need.

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I find that students lose the use of their scientific vocabulary the day after a test, and even during a test confuse words and meanings.

You are encouraged to create a set of vocabulary flash cards. On one side you will have a word, concept, or formula, and on the other a brief explanation.  There may be listing of  words on the web page.

This is not for a specific grade. 

Biology is to a large extent vocabulary!  I have shared a file in the Google Drive with multiple vocabulary lists, including Latin and Greek Prefixes, Suffixes and Stems. 

Given that this is now the future, a lot of vocabulary review can be done through 

It is not yet clear if "working" a quizlet list is the same as/better than/worse than making vocabulary cards.  Maybe we'll do an experiment.


I expect each student to be ready to work when the bell rings. In my mind that means that you will be:

1) in your seat

2) be quiet

3) have your notebook out to take notes

4) have any work to be handed in out and ready

Note taking is a vital skill. It is very important to be able to write down what you are learning as you learn it. To copy from the board, TV, or overhead is not enough.  We will start with that, but expect more from yourself!

You need to take an active part in the process, interpreting what is said, and taking notes based on what is said, not just what is written on the board.

(It is my general observation that those students who take notes in class do better on tests and quizzes than those that don't.)

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Guideposts For Written Work to be Submitted

Write neatly and legibly. Type if possible. You can submit by email as text files, MSWord files, Open Office, Google Docs, or WordPerfect files.

Use blue or black ink on standard white notebook paper unless otherwise instructed. Do not use paper torn from a spiral notebook. Do not write in red, pink, or purple inks.

Do not use the plastic report covers with sliding plastic binders. (This is not a school rule or policy but one of my own. I HATE those binders!)

Write the correct heading in the upper right-hand corner of the paper. There is a correct heading for individual and for group work.

Individual Heading-In the upper right hand corner.

Last name, first name

Science-period number

Dr. Gottfried

Full Date Due

Group Heading-Again in the upper right hand corner, and including all the names in the group.

Last name, first name

Last name, first name

Last name, first name

Last name, first name

Science-period number

Dr. Gottfried

Full Date Due

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Academic Grades

The school board adopted  computer grade program allows me to grade on a 0-100 point scale. Thus, an assignment not done (0) is MUCH worse than  one done very poorly (55).  The system allows you or your parent/guardian to log into the school's grade system and look up your grades.

Check the grades page for information on using the "look up" feature and interpreting the reports (this has not been updated in a long time-you probably know how to use this better than the instructions:-)

In general, you will get the points you earn. For assignments that would normally be graded simply, A, B, C, D, F  or Z,  the following system will be utilized.

A perfect A=100, otherwise A=95; B=85; C=75, D=65; F=0, 25, 45, 55 depending on the degree of "F", Z=0

Year Grades

Your year grade is calculated as 25% each marking period grade. There are no longer mid-term and final exams.  You must earn at least 0.5 in the last half of the year or you will automatically fail under what is called the 5 point rule.  For more details you should discuss your grades with your counselor or arrange to see me after school.


EOC EXAM Grade overrides

Sorry, but, if I override your "F" to a "D" because you earned a 3 on the EOC, the 30% formula will end up giving you a "C." Which is not what I want to do. SO, if you are failing my class (F) and pass the exam you only end up with the course credit if you earn a 4 or 5 on the EOC.  (See the section at near the top of this document on the EOC.)

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Assignment Values

In general, assignments, homework, classwork, lab reports, quizzes and tests have weighted grades. Weights depends on how much I value the assignment. Some minor assignments may be assigned a value of 0. That is, I know whether you did it or not, but it has no value to your average.

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Tests will always be announced at least 2 days in advance, usually a week in advance 

There may be pop quizzes


A first cheating offense will result in an F, or 0, on the exam, or assignment, a conduct grade cut and may require a parent conference. Subsequent offenses, will require a parent conference which will discuss additional sanctions.

What counts as cheating? Using someone else's work. Handing in two identical papers, with different names. Copying from someone during a test or quiz. Bringing answers (crib sheets) into a testing situation. Copying word for word from someone or something (encyclopedia) else without attribution. This is especially easy on the Internet. That doesn't make it right.

You know what cheating is. If in doubt, don't do it.

Late Work

In theory, late work is better than no work. In practice handing in work late is a sign of poor planning, pathetic study habits, and lack of responsibility.

Not only I am I supposed to teach you science, but responsibility.

Nothing at all is accepted late without a really, really good excuse. And then I take off tons of points.
I mean this.

That said, since not handing in something is a 0 (zero), handing in late work frequently makes the difference between passing and failing for procrastinators. Even an F (55)  is better than an F (0). "A" level work handed in very late generally earns a "D".

I reserve the right to make exceptions for specific cases.

In general, I will deduct 5 points for each calendar day an assignment is late (10 points per block cycle-you can email homework!), with a maximum deduction of 55 points.

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Missed Tests/Quizzes

It is
your responsibility to schedule make-up tests and quizzes. In general, I administer make-up examinations, by arrangement, after school from 2:30-3:30. It may be possible, under special circumstances, to arrange to make up a test during lunch. I do not in general offer make-up tests during class time. You would then have to make-up what you missed in class!

Extra Credit 

I do not offer  a lot of extra credit. In the past for many people extra credit was the difference between a C and an A, or, a D and a B. I don't think that is fair to those who do what they are supposed to do on a regular basis.

You can get credit for helping me around the classroom before or after school (when I ask for the help). Cleaning up after labs is a common chore. There are also frequent additional assignments that get counted as extra credit. For example, you can write a lab or activity report on a lab, demonstration or activity when I have said that no report is required.

There is a standing extra credit assignment which I will not refer to in class at all. Your only information on this assignment is right here. (Aren't you glad you're reading this.) You can do this once each nine weeks. The total amount of credit depends on the depth of your analysis and how related the error you discuss is to the work we are doing that nine weeks (Don't go off on tangents-you can discuss your idea with me before you research it.) 

Describe one of the most significant errors scholars and scientists have made related to this years' course work. Indicate why it is an error, who made the error, and what persons are mainly responsible for correcting the error. You get even more credit if you can identify errors made by the error-corrector and even more if you can suggest an error in current thinking about the subject. Lastly you can get even more credit for indicating a possible error in some strongly held belief that resides in your mind.

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Lab and Activity Reports

A significant part of your grade will be based on how well you can write your lab and activity reports. Each report is MORE than a homework assignment. Each lab report is graded and its grade value depends on the amount of work I expect.

It is a combination of what was done in class with a conclusion you develop based on what was observed. Lab reports are the essence of science and they allow me to "see" how you think.

Labs generally involve a problem, in response to which you develop a hypothesis, design an experiment, carry out the experiment, report your results and present a conclusion.

Activities have problems, but no hypothesis. They have purposes (usually mine). They are sometimes called (by me) "lablets". Activity reports sometimes consist of only observations and a conclusion.

Your lab reports must have a proper school heading.

The full scale lab report has several important parts.


You can be creative or simple here. Your grade will not depend on your title, (unless it is too stupid for words).


In the form of a question.

Hypothesis or Purpose

This is important in my evaluation of how you think. A hypothesis is a statement (not a question) which your experiment or observations will attempt to evaluate. Some experiments we do will not have a hypothesis, but a purpose.

Materials & Procedures

To save space and time I encourage my students to abbreviate this part of the standard lab report format. I allow the following statement to replace this section in most cases:

As given in _______. Where the source of the procedure is noted as class, text link, handout etc.

If you do anything that deviates from the instructions you must include that in a "but.." statement after the

"As given in class."

For example you might say: "As given on page 264, but Sarah added 4 drops of dye instead of 2."

This may become important as I evaluate your data and conclusions.

Data or observations

This is what you see, what you measure, what you record. It can and should include data tables, graphs and figures when appropriate. It does not include interpretation of what you saw. For example "The flame was orange" is an observation. "The flame was orange because of sodium" is not an observation. You do not observe the sodium.

This is where you have graphs, averages, and statistics. This is where you do the math. This is where you compare your data to that in other groups.


THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE LAB REPORT. Here you tell me whether the hypothesis was correct or not. Then you go on to elaborate on why, how and what it all means. I look in conclusion sections for evidence that you are thinking. That you are drawing conclusions based on the data and based on outside reading, other classwork, common sense, etc.  Lab reports in honors biology are frequently more than one page (2-3 pages is not unusual.)


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Effort Grades

I believe that effort is essential to success in life. Whether you have mastered the material or not, you must do ALL the assigned work to get a good effort grade. It is possible, though difficult, to get an A for an academic grade in my class along with a 3 in effort.

In any given 9 weeks there are generally from 20-30 assignments. I generally give effort grades according to the following system:

0-1 missed assignments effort = 1

2-3 missed assignments effort = 2

4+ missed assignments effort = 3

There are exceptions to this rule. Those in your favor may involve hospitalization (yours, not mine). If you make up work late, and end the marking period with "zero-zeros" don't expect to get the same effort grade (1) as someone who did all their work on time. Occasionally I will consider the quality of your effort in assigning effort grades. Someone who does a poor job on all their work does not deserve the same effort grade as someone who tries their best and does a fine job on all their work.

Occasionally (very rarely-maybe once every other  year) I will reward excellent effort (0 missed assignments) by dropping the lowest grade in a marking period. But don't count on it!

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Posted Signs

Read all the signs. Especially those at the front of the room. Most of the material is also on the web page.


I post the general plan for the week including agenda and homework on the Internet at my web page ( I generally go over the agenda for the week on the first day of the week.


I post the homework for the week on the Internet at my web page (

I review the week's homework on the first day of the week (usually Monday). 

Written homework is usually due either on Friday or Monday.

Tests and quizzes (except pop-quizzes) are announced on the agenda/homework web page.

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Electronic  Access

I can be reached electronically  with the following caveat:

I do not necessarily sign on every day or at least I don't guarantee it.

I want ALL student and parent correspondence to go to

IF you have parental control, or a SPAM filter,  on your email it will be important that you set my addresses as "ok" since otherwise you can't get mail from me.

Phone Access

You must be kidding. I'm not giving you my phone number.  You can leave a message or text to  305-349-3740.  No one answers this phone number, but it does accept SMS text messages or voice mail (up to 3 minutes), and I do check it at least daily.

While you can send SMS text messages via remind, I prefer email.

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Submission of Homework Done on a computer

Homework should be emailed to

E-mail can be used to submit homework. However, it is important that you do not send me files I can not read. Any plain text e-mail message is readable. Files that are attached to a message may or may not be readable. Your best bet is to convert everything to ASCII (plain text) and send it that way. You may want to experiment with test files before you use this for your homework. In general I can open Word (up to Office 2016) or WordPerfect (up to version 13),  OpenOffice, and google documents.   There are online converter programs that can change virtually any format (OpenOffice included) into Word. If you make me do it, I'll deduct points. I do not have a MacIntosh and many Mac specific formats do not convert. All the Mac programs have a "Save As" function. If you use a Mac, save your file as something I can read.   Almost every program can save as Adobe "pdf" and everyone can read that. 

I no longer accept floppy disks (most computers, even mine, no longer even have these drives). 

Under some limited circumstances (time being the issue) USB/flash pen drives can be used.

Green Paper Policy

In an attempt to reduce the amount of paper I can misplace and to reduce the number of trees cut down for my classes I am instituting the following policy.

Each assignment submitted via email or OneNote will earn an extra 1-2 points on that assignment. 

You canít lose by submitting via email.  The only caveat (warning) is that digital submissions are easier to check for plagiarism.

The Internet-At School 

(As of summer 2013 they are blocking a great deal.)

BYOD Policy:  Bring your Own Device to ATM (BYOD) Settings 

Bring your Laptop or Tablet and
access the internet at school.
The information below is needed to connect.
After you setup the WIFI settings students will need their Portal Information to be able to access the internet. 

A Prompt will appear on your web browser asking for your username and password.

The newest WiFi uses your school credentials. 

We will occasionally be using computers with Internet connections. We will be running simulations as well as doing research. Developing these skills is critical to success in the modern world.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools has an acceptable use policy for students and faculty.

This policy basically says, don't do anything that you wouldn't want to get caught doing!

The complete text can be found at

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In the course of the year I/we will probably take a great number of digital pictures, both still and video. You and your parents need to be aware that these pictures may be posted on the Internet and/or used in press releases etc. for Alonzoand Tracy  Mourning Senior High Biscayne Bay Campus. Student names will not be used in these cases without specific permission.

College Advice

Start preparing yourself early.  We at ATM have a great CAP counselor and program. Get your email on her list!

Take every test that is offered. Take the PSAT in 9th, 10th and 11th grades.

Take the ACT (for reasons that escape me, our students do substantially better on the ACT than on the SAT).

Check out the NYTIMES - Stanley Kaplan question of the day, daily. Make it a routine. It is free help. If you start in 9th grade you can go over 1000 questions by the time the SAT counts for you!

Check out Free Rice


You are not required to laugh at my jokes.
But it helps keep me in a good mood!

Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High Biscayne Bay Campus

For the 2009-2010 year we were lichens (if you were at ATM). For 2010-2011 we were mosses. For 2011-2012, we were shrubs (maybe ferns.) For the 2012-2013 school year we might be small trees. By 2013-2014 our "trees" are large and beginning to shade some of the young forest.  By 2019-20 our forest is looking more mature. In writing, explain that to me by 8/26/2019 (7AM) for a small reward. Do not ask or discuss this with anyone. It is our little secret. (A bigger reward if you email it to me!)

As a is related to the 2010 AP Biology FRQ-#4 (you can look thesee questions up at the college board site). 


In any document this size there will certainly  be errors. Please point them out to me politely.

Thoughts to ponder

Mostly harmless

As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke

"Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability."

"Knowledge itself is power."

"They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea."

"Books must follow sciences, not sciences books."

"I have taken all knowledge to be my province."

Francis Bacon

"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only a boy playing on the sea-shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

"If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

Isaac Newton

"Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration."

Thomas Alva Edison

"The time has come', the walrus said, `to talk of many things:

Of shoes- and ships- and sealing wax- Of cabbages- and kings-

And why the sea is boiling hot- And whether pigs have wings."

Lewis Carroll

"It is a capitol mistake to theorize before one has data."

"..when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

Arthur Conan Doyle

"A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing impossibility."


"Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth"


"Problems worth

of attack-

prove their worth

by hitting back."

"The road to wisdom-

Well is plain and simple

to express:


and err

and err again

but less

and less

and less."

both by Piet Hien

"Sir, you have tasted two whole worms; you have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the quad; you will leave by the next town drain."

William Archibald Spooner

"The terms and circumstances of human existence can be expected to change radically during the next human lifespan. Science, mathematics, and technology will be at the center of that change-causing it, shaping it, responding to it. Therefore, they will be essential to the education of today's children for tomorrow's world.

-All children need and deserve a basic education in science, mathematics, and technology that prepares them to live interesting and productive lives.

-Scientific habits of mind can help people in every walk of life to deal sensibly with problems that often involve evidence, quantitative considerations, logical arguments, and uncertainty; without the ability to think critically and independently, citizens are easy prey to dogmatists, flimflam artists, and purveyors of simple solutions to complex problems."

AAAS-Science for All Americans

Progress is made by trial and failure; the failures are generally a hundred times more numerous than the successes; yet they are usually left unchronicled.- William Ramsay

A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms. George Wald

Valid criticism does you a favor.-Carl Sagan

© M. Gottfried, Ph.D. 2019

Any resemblance to the title and format of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams is purely complimentary, and it is with great sadness I must report that Douglas Adams passed away May 11, 2001

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