Biology in Carroll County Public Schools is taught during the tenth grade year as a rigorous lab based science course preparing students for a high stakes Maryland State High School Assessment. Students must pass the Maryland H.S.A. in order to receive a high school diploma. Biology is the third course in a high school scope and sequence following Conceptual Physics and Chemistry.
In Biology, students will use the skills and processes of science along with major biological concepts to explain the uniqueness and interdependence of living organisms, their interactions with the environment, and the continuation of life on earth. Within the course students will use the language and instruments of science to collect, organize, interpret, calculate, and communicate information. They will understand the correlation between the structure and function of biologically important molecules and their relationship to cell processes. Students will also know that all organisms are composed of cells which can function independently or as a part of multicellular organisms. Additionally, students will know that inherited traits are passed on from one generation to another, and there is a mechanism of evolutionary change that explains relatedness and how living organisms change over time. Finally, the course will emphasize the interdependence of diverse living organisms including a consideration of current biological issues that impact living organisms.
The Carroll County Biology curriculum is closely aligned with the Maryland Core Learning Goals for skills and processes of science as well as for biology content. Students are immersed in the scientific method and the language of science throughout the course. The chemistry of life is a concept thoroughly explored as students describe the unique characteristics of chemical substances and macromolecules utilized by living systems. An understanding of homeostatic mechanisms that regulate chemical activities is rigorously developed as well. Students also compare the transfer and use of matter and energy by studying photosynthesis and respiration. Students develop an understanding of cells and cell processes as they explore unicellular and multicellular organisms. Genetics and heredity are covered allowing students to analyze how traits are carried from parent to offspring. The theory of evolution helps students explain how organisms are related and how they change over time. Ecological concepts are also developed as students investigate organism relationships and interaction of organisms within the environment.
Students also explore how they impact the world around them. These unifying principles in biology are rigorously explored and explained throughout the biology course.
Carroll County Biology Teachers utilize the 5E Inquiry Model in all unit and daily planning. This constructivist approach to instructional delivery provides learners with opportunities to construct content knowledge. Teachers plan and implement a variety of strategies which promote inquiry. Teachers function as facilitators guiding student learning through lab experiences, web quests, computer simulations, and other student centered learning opportunities. Student learners collect and analyze data, synthesize information, interpret meaning and draw conclusions on a wide variety of content topics before applying these understandings to real world situations. Technology is widely used and features, but not limited to, computers, internet, software, simulations, interface, sensors, and gel electrophoresis. Students develop techniques in the use of the technology tools of real world Biologists. Differentiated Instructional strategies provide teachers with the ability to modify content, process, and product to reach the learning styles and needs of their diverse learners. Flexible grouping, cooperative learning, anticipation guides, tiered lessons, learning profiles, and double entry journals are some examples of DI strategies that may be used. Assessment is used early and often by biology teachers. Teachers elicit prior knowledge from students before implementing lessons. Evaluation is often seamless with instruction as teachers check for student learning. Assessment tools model Maryland H.S.A. items enabling learners to effectively prepare for high stakes testing. Formative assessments in the form of benchmarks are given electronically throughout the course helping teachers check student progress and make instructional decisions. The Carroll County Biology curriculum sets challenging and rigorous expectations for learning and provides teachers with the equipment and materials needed to help students succeed.