Ecology Syllabus

Instructor: Mr. Andy Stephens
Phone: 720-561-8729
Class Website:
Credit: .5 per quarter

Course Description

This course holds many exciting adventures in science. During this academic year, you will learn how to apply scientific processes to analyze and solve ecological problems by interpreting scientific data and drawing logical conclusions. The class will be unique in that the concepts learned can be widely applied to real life and in the field. Emphasis will be on developing process skills used in fieldwork including data collection & analysis, evaluation of information, and oral & written communication of experimental results. In addition to lab work, we will learn about the following units:
  1. Intro to Ecology
  2. Ecosystems and Communities
  3. Populations


There are no prerequisites for this course, however biology is recommended.


  1. Develop an understanding that leads to a lifelong love for the biosphere.
  2. Become an ecologically literate citizen that is able to understand current events (climate, ecological change, biodiversity, population growth)  and act accordingly.
  3. Apply your knowledge in the field.


  1. Schoology Account-Join our class using code H82WR-NZ6J5. This is where you will turn in a majority of your assignments.
  2. Google account-This is free but you must remember your username and password at all times.  If you forget it and cannot access your account it will affect your grade, so right it down somewhere! Your account will be used to create webpages for projects, collaborate with groups, and post lab data with partners. It is recommended that you sign up for a google account using your BVSD email.
  3. Field Notebook-It will be your textbook where you write all of your notes from class, data from the field, and drawings from your observations etc. You will purchase one for $4 from Andy. If you don't have the money to buy one please talk to Andy in private. You will use this for both class notes and field notes. You will organize this as an interactive notebook.
  4. Binder-This is also known as a three ring binder.  Here you will organize your handouts, tests, or anything else that is not in your field  notebook.  Again, I have extras if you like to recycle and save money.
  5. Good Attitude-We will spend 30 hours together in class and are working together to create the best experience for everyone.      


  1. Work hard.
  2. Follow New Vista's Core Values.
    • Practice respect-Be helpful, be kind, value differences, don't swear.
    • Its about teaching and learning
      • Students-Attend, engage, and pass with B's or better
      • Teachers-Make it interesting and interactive
    • Support each other-Positive encouragement for everyone, use confidentiality and emotional support
    • Keep school and school activities substance free
    • Have fun together
    • Participate-Make these values real everyday, become members of the community; plan, organize, and be on communities
  3. Cell Phones-Cell phones should remain out of site during class time.  If you take out your cell phone during class without permission it will be confiscated until the end of class.
  4. Music-Music players (mp3, iPod, etc) should remain out of site during class time.  If you take out your music player during class without permission it will be confiscated until the end of class.
  5. Tardy-If you arrive late, please write your name on the board and the number of minutes late you arrived. You will stay after class to help clean up, organize the class, or put up chairs during break or after class ends.
  6. Absence-YOU are responsible for making up the work you miss, don't wait, use the website, make it to field trips.
  7. Food-Healthy food may be consumed during non-lab activities in the classroom as long as it does not distract from anyone's learning or teaching. 
  8. Leaving Class-I expect you to stay in class unless it is an emergency or you are meeting with school faculty or staff.  However, I understand that you may need to use the restroom during class time, get a drink, or take a quick walk.  Therefore, I will give you twenty extra credit points per quarter which can be spent on leaving class at a cost of 5 points per trip.  You can keep the extra credit, spend 20, or incur a debt, its up to you.


Fieldwork1   25%
Test3   20%

1. The major assignments in this category are field notes. We will do field work OUTSIDE every Wednesday rain, shine, or snow. You are required to purchase a waterproof field journal for this purpose. Two students mayl be randomly selected the day after fieldwork to present their lab reports to the class. Every student will present once per quarter. The presentation is worth the equivalent of one set of field notes grade-30 points.

2. The major assignment in this category is the final project.

3. Each student is allowed to use one page of original notes on unit tests.

4. The only assignment in this category is a well organized field notebook with detailed notes.

5. The major assignment in this category is a participation self evaluation.

6. Most homework will be completed online using schoology and will be based on the days in class activities or notes.

A A- B+ B B- C+* C* C-* IP*
93-100% 90-92% 87-89% 83-86% 80-82% 77-79% 73-76% 70-72% <70%
*C's earn path credit only and IP's earn no credit at New Vista.

An A means the student has completed proficient work on all course content standards and class requirements, and advanced work on some course content standards and class requirements.

A B means that the student has completed proficient work on all course content standards and class requirements

A C means that the student has completed proficient work on some, but not all, of the course content standards and class requirements.  For continuing classes a student has demonstrated enough proficiency to continue on to the next level.

A C minus means that the student has completed partially proficient work on the course content standards and class requirements.  For sequential classes a student may not continue on to the next level.

An IP means that the student has demonstrated insufficient progress in course content standards and class requirements.

Updated grades are posted on infinite campus.

Late Work

Work is accepted on time with no penalty. Work is accepted after the due date, but within the same unit with a 15% penalty. No late work from a particular unit is accepted after the unit test without a 30% penalty.
Students who miss school due to excused absences are allotted the number of missed days to make up the assigned work. This does not apply to group projects.

If at the end of the grading period for the course you have earned a grade below a B, you have not met expectations. If there were extenuating circumstances that prevented you from meeting expectations you may write a typed one page request for an extension that outlines why you deserve more time, a list of your missing work, a timeline of when you will turn in each assignment and a signature from a parent/guardian. Such requests will be considered if received by the end of that quarter’s exhibition day.

Academic Honesty

Cheating will earn you a zero on the assignment/test on which you cheated. If you purposefully give away your work to cheaters you will also receive a zero. No make up work will be given. Often times it is more difficult to cheat than to learn. Just learn, it is more fun.

Letter of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are an important component of college admissions and I love writing letters of recommendation for students who excel in my classes. However, these letters do take time and must be revised so that I can make you sound as awesome as you are. Therefore I have developed some guidelines:

  1. Ask me in person.
  2. Give me at least 7 full days of notice before the due date.
  3. Complete a one page resume in which you answer the questions I am asked and include personal highlights you want me to hit upon.
  4. Give me all of the paperwork with self-addressed and stamped envelopes.
  5. Don't ask me if you have proven unworthy in my classes.

Electronic Signature

Syllabus Digital Signature