Biology First

Biology First

Biology First

Biology Courses

BIOLOGY CONCEPTS 5 per cycle – 5 credits

4003, 4004 Freshman Year

Prerequisite: 8th-grade grades and science teacher evaluation, placement exam

 

This college-prep course places emphasis on constructing, reflecting on, and using biology knowledge. Among the areas of study are the following: a general introduction to biology and basic chemistry, animal and plant structures and their functions, human anatomy and physiology, reproduction and development, genetics, evolution, biodiversity, and ecology. Work students complete will prepare them for the Massachusetts Biology MCAS exam and will expand and improve their skills with scientific and biology-related vocabulary, reading, writing, and laboratory investigation.


 

BIOLOGY 6 per cycle – 6 credits

4021 Freshman Year

Prerequisite: 8th-grade grades and science teacher evaluation, placement exam

 

Level 1 Biology is an advanced course intended to introduce students to the major areas of biology. Students should have demonstrated high motivation, capacity for independent study and sustained hard work, and strong conceptual, analytical and reading skills. Substantial independent work is expected. The general orientation of this course is on the molecular level. Living processes are viewed within this conceptual framework. The course is augmented by as much chemical detail as is necessary to provide an adequate understanding of biological principles.


 

BIOLOGY 6 per cycle – 6 credits

4022, 4023 Freshman Year

Prerequisite: 8th-grade grades and science teacher evaluation, placement exam

 

In order to stimulate the interest and challenge the ability of students, emphasis in this course is placed on scientific inquiry, in both class work and through laboratory experimentation. This college preparatory course requires the student to be motivated and willing to learn both in groups and independently. Laboratory investigations, modeling of concepts, class discussions, and other means are utilized in developing and reinforcing important biological concepts. Among the areas of study are the following: a general introduction to biology and basic chemistry, animal and plant structures and their functions, human anatomy and physiology, reproduction and development, genetics, evolution, biodiversity, and ecology. 


 

AP BIOLOGY 7 per cycle – 6 credits

4341 Senior Year

Prerequisite: B+ or better in Biology 4021, (or an A in Biology 4022) and a B or better in Chemistry 4031.

 

AP Biology is for students seeking a rigorous, lab-intensive, second-year biology course. It is intended to be a college-level course, and students receiving a passing grade on the AP Biology Exam may receive college credit in Biology.  AP Biology will challenge critical-thinking skills by expanding knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in cell energy, cell structure, cell division, genetics, evolution and ecology as well as introducing new topics such as cell signaling and the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. The most current developments in the field of biology and their impact on the future of medicine, genetics, and the environment are covered through class discussion and primary scientific readings. There is a heavy focus on experimental design, with emphasis on real-world communication of data through lab meetings and posters. Students should have strong skills in independent learning and time management, as well as intellectual curiosity to understand what is occurring in their bodies, the natural world, and the complex interplay between the two.

It is expected that students enrolled in this course will take the AP exam.

In line with our belief statements generated by the science department and after considerable review of research and course offerings in a variety of communities, the Westwood Science Department has elected to offer Biology first to all incoming freshmen beginning in 2019-20.  The new course sequence is Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and science electives. 

 

We believe that the Physical Science curriculum has served our community well for years; however, two major factors initiated this change.  First, the Next Generation Science Standards, along with the new Massachusetts State Standards, promote a more rigorous exploration of science that can be better captured by increasing our elective offerings.  Second, the middle school has more closely aligned with State Standards which has created a greater vertical pathway which will culminate with richer science electives by senior year. 

 

Biology first for all freshmen will offer a more equitable approach to science at Westwood High School.  Further, students will have greater autonomy in selecting electives that best suit their interests by senior year.  The Westwood Science Department is making the necessary preparations to facilitate a meaningful and smooth transition to the new science sequence.