Earth Science Syllabus

Ms. Alyssa Carter

Arvada West High School


Room #125

Voicemail: #303-982-1305


Class Fee: $35.00



Welcome to Marine Biology! This is a lab oriented Level 2 Biology Course designed to give students an overview of our ocean habitats. This class is recommended for any student thinking of a career in marine science or are just interested about life in the ocean! The course is open to any senior. Students will be introduced to many areas of the marine sciences including the physical, chemical and biological aspects of the sea.



This will be Ms. Carter’s 3rd year teaching at Arvada West. She is eager and excited to teach Marine Biology for the first time.  She has some experience snorkeling and plans to get SCUBA certified this fall. Ms. Carter loves the ocean and all the interesting creatures it inhabits. In her spare time she enjoys coaching softball and getting outside with her goldendoodle puppy whenever she can.



  • All work will be due on the last day of the week = turn in workbook & coloring book.
  • You will be assigned 2-3 coloring pages & fish of the week on the 1st day of every week.
  • If not turned in on the last day of the week = Use your “late pass” to turn assignments in until the following Friday (or last day of following week).
  • There will usually be a quiz every Friday (or last day of week)
  • Fish tanks will be cleaned every 2 weeks.



  • You will be given 6 “late passes” for the semester

  • 1 late pass = 1 assignment (2 or 3 coloring pages assigned for the week counts as 1 assignment).
  • You still have to complete the assignment.
  • You will receive up to full credit depending on the quality of the work.
  • Excused absences – can receive full credit as long as it is made up within the allowed time given in the student handbook (unless otherwise discussed)
  • Unused passes will be worth extra credit at the end of the semester.



  • A “Marine Biology Coloring Book” will be provided. Don’t let this book fool you because it is a coloring book, it is a college level textbook.
  • Workbook will be provided which provides the majority of assignments we will complete in class.



Dissection is a BIG part of this class. You will dissect a minimum of 10 specimens. If, for whatever reason, you feel you cannot or will not dissect, think twice about this class!



This is one of the highlights of the class. If you decide to do this, you will be with a small group of other students and will be responsible for setting up and running a marine aquarium. Your tank group will consist of 4-5 students. The school supplies the major components to run the tank, however students supply the living items. The tanks must be checked DAILY in Office Hours or Connections. Maintenance of the tanks is graded.



Students participating in this class will be given the opportunity to sign up for a week long class trip. In 2017 we traveled to Key Largo, Florida. You will snorkel/scuba (if you are certified before the trip) and see the organisms that we will learn about in class in their natural environment.  More information about the trip will be given during class. Group size is limited and priority will be given to certified scuba divers (non-certified divers can snorkel).



During the class, you will be given the option to sign up for a scuba diving certification course. This is optional. Approximate cost is $500. Certification is valid for a lifetime.




    • Go to my website for basic contact information and my schedule. Google Classroom is where you can access assignments, see what you have missed, what is coming up (assignment due dates, quiz and test dates) and to print off extra copies of assignments (most).


    GRADING SCALE: Grades will be assigned on a percentage:

                                        A Range: 90-100%

                                        B Range: 80-89%

                                        C Range: 70-79%

                                        D Range: 60-69%



    • I will not pursue you about your missed work; it is your responsibility. You can check Google Classroom or check with your fellow students, and get any notes or explanation from a trusted classmate.
    • For assignments that cannot go home (ex. labs, dissection), you may make them up during Office Hours/Connections.
    • The best time to get assistance is during Office Hours. During Connections I usually have many students that need assistance.




    • Follow all AWHS student behavioral expectations.
    • Be on time! Be in your seat and ready to work when the bell rings.
    • Be prepared! Bring daily-required materials to class every day.
    • Follow all safety guidelines and properly clean up and stow all equipment at the end of class.
    • The teacher dismisses the class, not the bell.
    • Drinks will be allowed as long as the classroom is kept clean. No food.
    • Appropriate cell phone usage
    • Ipods/music is okay when appropriate (individual work time)



    • You will be given participation points for every day you are in class on time, with your materials, and actively participating during class.
    • Tardy = lose participation points
    • Every unexcused absence will result in a loss of points.



    The topics covered this year will include, but will not be limited to;


    • principles of ocean science/physical features of the ocean/motions of the oceans
    • careers in marine sciences
    • chemical and physical properties of seawater
    • saltwater aquariums
    • SCUBA diving
    • taxonomy of marine life
    • coral reefs
    • marine plants and photosynthesis of the ocean
    • marine invertebrates
    • marine vertebrates
    • fish identification
    • marine ecosystems and communities
    • human impact on the world’s ocean
    • ocean conservation