General Biology Series 1 of 4: Chemistry and Ecology

General Biology Series 1 of 4: Chemistry and Ecology


About this course

PLEASE NOTE: This is one of the most advanced classes we offer at Next Level Homeschool, meant to be a COMPREHENSIVE full year biology program. Students who complete this course will be prepared to take AP or college biology. 

This is the first class in a series of four that will cover a full year of upper middle school (Level 1) or high school (Level 2) biology and is only offered in September each year. While it is not required, it is highly recommended that you take these classes in order, as later series refer back to information we’ve learned in earlier series. The other courses are as follows:
General Biology: Series 2 of 4- Cells, Genetics, and Evolution
General Biology: Series 3 of 4- The Kingdoms of Life
General Biology: Series 4 of 4- Human Anatomy

Please note: If you enroll in Series 1, you are guaranteed space in the remaining biology classes as long as you enroll before the deadline for each class. This first 4 week class is so you and your child can make sure our format is a good fit for your learning needs without you having to commit to a full year of classes.


Recommended Ages: 12-17

Levels: Class is offered in 2 levels

Start Date: September 6. Class consists of 4 lesson plans. Students have 2 weeks after the last lesson plan is posted to complete the course. No live classes – do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $80

Space Available: This class is not currently open for enrollment. Enrollment will open in mid-June 2022. Please join our mailing list to be notified when enrollment opens.

My degree is in Marine Biology (from Texas A&M University at Galveston), and I am truly a biologist at heart! I have a passion for this branch of science, and truly love sharing that passion with my students. And it’s my goal to make sure students come away with a deep understanding of the science of life. Because biology is not just a science, it is what we are! It is in us and around us and we are being it and interacting with it every second of our lives. I may be biased, but I truly feel that it is the most important branch of science students will ever learn. And I treat teaching it as a huge responsibility. This will be an academic, in-depth approach to biology. At the end of the course, students will have a firm understanding and working knowledge of all aspects of general biology. This foundation will serve them very well if they progress to an AP biology course in high school or for college biology. That said, it’s going to be engaging and a lot of fun as well!

Some of the things we’ll be covering will include:

1. What are the characteristics of living things?

2. Chemistry: Life is basically just a chemistry set! What are the chemical properties of life? What role does carbon play? How do chemical reactions fuel life?

3. Ecology: How do living things interact with their environment? How does energy flow through these ecosystems (food webs, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle)?

4. Ecosystems: What are the major ecosystems on earth? What processes define them (biotic and abiotic factors)? How do organisms interact with each other within an ecosystem? How do ecosystems change over time?

5. Populations: What are the characteristics of populations of organisms? What factors allow for and limit their growth? What is biodiversity and how does it differ from a population?

LESSON PLANS: This is a 4 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.
OPTIONAL: I provide all of the curriculum needed for this course in the lesson plans. However, if you wish to use a textbook in junction with the course, pretty much any middle school/high school biology textbook will be covering the topics I am covering. I have taught live biology classes in the past, and used the following textbooks with great success. I never recommend getting the latest edition of any textbook. Save money by getting an older edition!
Level 1 Students: Glencoe Science: Biology- The Dynamics of Life
Level 2 Students: Prentice Hall: Biology- by Miller and Levine

DISCUSSION:We offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: This is a hands on class!! Each week, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

TIME: In general, expect 2-4 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

This is the complete material list for Session 1 in class labs. All labs are OPTIONAL (but highly recommended!), and I  provide a video or explanation for each lab for students who are unable to do the lab on their own.

1. 3 large clear jars
2. Banana
3. Cheesecloth or similar breathable fabric

1. Raw potato
2. Bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
3. About 1/4 cup Vinegar
4. About 1/4 cup Ammonia or Household Bleach
5. Five clear containers of the same size. I’m going to be using test tubes. You can use small glasses or beakers as well.
6. Timer
7. Eye protection


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

Total numbers of students in course