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High School Biology Series 1 of 4: Chemistry and Ecology

General Biology 1


This is part 1 of 4 in a full year (36 week) high school biology series, lasting 12 weeks.
This class is only offered once per year in the fall.

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.

It is not required, but it is highly recommended that you take these classes in order. Later courses in the series refer back to information we learn in earlier courses.

Other classes in this series include:
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

This is one of the most advanced classes we offer at Next Level Homeschool, meant to be a comprehensive full year biology program for serious students. You will not find another online high school homeschool program that covers this much biology content. Students who complete the full year will be easily prepared to take AP or college biology. In fact, former students have told me they learned more in this class than their college biology!

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.

This session will focus on the following main topics:

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?

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!

No live classesview lessons on YOUR schedule. In general, expect 1.5-2.5 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). For classes with two levels, the material is the same for boththe depth of the assignments differs. Younger students should usually be placed in Level 1. Older students, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2.

Each lesson consists of a fully narrated PowerPoint presentation with images and videos to enhance the topics. Students will have access to our learning management system, Canvas, for viewing their lesson, printing worksheets, taking quizzes, viewing/submitting assignments, participating in discussions, and viewing grades/feedback. Read more details about class format.

Week 1
This is a MARATHON week and we'll be covering a massive amount of foundational material! We'll start with what the characteristics of living things are, and how we know a cat is a living organism and a rock isn't. Then we'll look at life at the molecular level, with an overview of the foundations of chemistry in general, and then applying that information to the chemistry of life. We'll cover the four major biomolecules, their composition, structure, and role in life's processes. We'll then see how those biomolecules fuel chemical reactions in the body.

Week 2
In week 2 we'll be exploring the ecological structure of life, including individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. We'll discuss the sun's role in life, and discuss the differences between autotrophs, phototrophs, heterotrophs, and chemotrophs. Well see how these different trophic levels form food chains and webs, and how energy moves through these systems. Next are in depth studies on the water, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycles on Earth and their impact on life. 

Week 3
Time to learn about climate's role in life on Earth! Then we'll talk about niches within an ecosystem, and the factors that control the niche an organism can live in, including competition, predation, symbiosis, and more. We'll then discuss biodiversity, and different major ecosystems of Earth. 

Week 4
We'll finish out Session 1 with a discussion of populations and limits on their growth. We'll cover carrying capacities and resources, then finish with the differences between endemic, invasive, and keystone species.




All labs are OPTIONAL and not required to complete the work.
These materials will allow students to follow along with the in-lesson labs.
Students who do not have materials can simply follow along with me in the video.

Month-long Lab Project
3 large clear jars
Cheesecloth or similar breathable fabric

Week 1 Lab Materials
a raw potato
a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide 3%
about 1/4 cup Vinegar
about 1/4 cup ammonia or household bleach
five clear containers of the same size (I am going to be using test tubes. You can use small glasses or beakers as well)
eye protection

Next Level Homeschool is a firm believer that not all learning should happen from behind a screen! That's why we give students the freedom to submit their assignments in the way THEY want to! We don't want regurgitation learning here. By allowing students to use their own talents, skills, and passions to complete assignments, they become even more engaged and retain the information. Why? Because now it's literally in their hands! We receive thousands of projects every year from our students: written reports, videos, models, posters, Scratch, Minecraft, Roblox, songs, poems, skits, drawings, sculptures, craftswe've seen it ALL! And WE LOVE IT!!

Click here to view just a few projects we've received from students who have taken this class and see what YOUR kid could be learning with Next Level Homeschool!

Course Features

  • Schedule Sep 5 - Oct 10
  • Activities Science
  • Lessons 4
  • Suggested Ages 13-17 Two Levels
  • Time This class is currently closed for enrollments. Join our mailing list to be notified when enrollment opens.