High School Biology Course

Time4Learning offers an online, interactive high school biology curriculum that correlates to state standards. It can be used as a primary homeschool curriculum, a supplement to your current curriculum and as an afterschool or summer skill building program. At the high school level, Time4Learning is organized by courses rather than grade levels, so parents have the option of choosing any four as part of membership.

The Biology curriculum is one of five science courses offered at the high school level. Biology is taught using a combination of multimedia lessons, instructional videos, worksheets, quizzes, tests and both online and offline projects. The Biology course is designed to prepare students for college level science.

This page includes information about the material covered in the High School Biology course.

Chapter 1 – Introduction to Biology

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of biology. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of scientific processing.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Scientific processing – Students are taught about scientific processing by collecting qualitative and quantitative data through observation. Students will then use those observations to develop questions and make predictions in the form of hypothesis’ and theories. Students continue on to complete their scientific investigation by selecting the required materials and equipment and identifying any independent and dependent variables and controls. The investigation is complete after a conclusion is drawn based on the experiment’s results.

Chapter 2 – Understanding Living Things

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the understanding of living things. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of what characteristics define life and the needs of living things.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • What characteristics define life – Students must learn what characteristics make up living things, such as the fact that they use energy to stay organized, respond to stimuli, reproduce, evolve and are made of cells.
  • The needs of living things – Students must learn what basic structures exist in an atom and bonding. The lesson also covers organisms that are composed of the following elements: C, H, N, O, P and S. In the end, students will be able to describe the basic structure and function of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and enzymes.

Chapter 3 – Understanding Cells

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover understanding cells. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of classifying life by cellular structure, cell membranes and cell walls, other structures in the cell, energy in the cell and the cell as a whole.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Classifying life by cellular structure – Students are taught how to explain cell theory and discuss major scientific contributors. They will also compare prokaryotes and eukaryotes at the cellular level, discuss development of eukaryotes from prokaryotes, and identify structures specific to plant cells and animal cells.
  • Cell membranes and cell walls – Students will learn how to relate structures of cell membrane and cell walls to the overall function of the cell. This includes reviewing the phospholipid bilayer and fluid mosaic model. Students must then compare prokaryotes and eukaryotes at the cellular level.
  • Other structures in the cell – Students are taught how to relate structure and function of nucleus, nucleolus, golgi apparatus, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, vesicles, lysosomes and vacuoles to the overall function of the cell and compare prokaryotes and eukaryotes at the cellular level.
  • Energy in the cell – Students study the energy within a cell by relating the structures and functions of mitochondria and chloroplasts to the overall function of the cell to include cellular respiration and photosynthesis. Students must then compare prokaryotes and eukaryotes at the cellular level.
  • The cell as a whole – Students are taught how to compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic organelles. Students discuss the overall function of a cell by relating the structure and functions of all cell organelles. The lesson concludes by giving students a chance to predict the movement of material through the cell.

Chapter 4 – Understanding Genetics

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of genetics. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of cellular reproduction, introduction to heredity: meiosis, Gregor Mendel and his peas, genetics, DNA, protein synthesis and genetic engineering.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Cellular reproduction – Students start off the lesson learning how to compare and contrast asexual and sexual reproduction, and how to identify steps in the process of mitosis. Students continue by studying the difference between stages in the cell cycle and comparing asexual reproduction in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
  • Introduction to heredity: Meiosis – Students are required to summarize the characteristics of the phases of meiosis I and meiosis II and explain the importance of the entire process to include the result of genetic variety. Students must also learn to tell the difference between mitosis and meiosis.
  • Gregor Mendel and his peas – Students learn how to describe Mendel’s laws of heredity, which are based on his mathematical analysis of observations of patterns of inheritance of traits. Next, students will identify an organisms’ genotype and phenotype, and the expressions of genes, which include dominant and recessive traits. Finally students must compare homozygous genotypes with heterozygous genotypes, predict the offspring from a monohybrid cross, and calculate the phenotypic ratio.
  • Genetics – Students are taught how to identify dominant and recessive traits, compare homozygous and heterozygous genotypes, predict offspring from a monohybrid cross, calculate the phenotypic ratio, use a Punnett square, predict possible gametes in a dihybrid cross and identify and analyze karyotypes.
  • DNA – Students must be able to list the contributions of Franklin, Watson and Crick to the development of the structure of DNA, describe and model the structure of DNA, evaluate structure of DNA in regards to its function of protein synthesis and construct a new strand of DNA from an old strand.
  • Protein synthesis – Students study protein synthesis in this chapter by describing the structure of all types of RNA, comparing the structure of DNA and RNA, tracing the process of protein synthesis, constructing a protein chain from a strand of RNA, comparing and contrasting replication, transcription and translation and identifying and comparing types of mutations.
  • Genetic engineering – Students review and discuss the impact of DNA technologies, including the use of plasmids and gene cloning. Students move on to gain an understanding of genetic engineering as a way to biologically engineer biomedical or agricultural products or for DNA fingerprinting. Students conclude the lesson by comparing methods of genetic engineering.

Chapter 5 – Understanding Evolution

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of evolution. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of natural selection and the history of life.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Natural selection – Students must study Darwin’s contributions to the theory of Natural Selection and make a case for evolution. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to compare and contrast the types of adaptations, differentiate between relative and radioactive dating and trace the relationship between environmental changes and changes in the gene pool.
  • The history of life – Students are taught how to explain how life is thought to have evolved using diagrams, fossil evidence and geologic time. Students will be required to illustrate the results of natural selection, use binomial nomenclature and interpret a cladogram or phylogenic tree.

Chapter 6 – Understanding Viruses

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of viruses. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of understanding viruses.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Understanding viruses – Students will learn about the structure and function of viruses and be able to compare and contrast them with organisms at the cellular level. The second half if the lesson teaches students about the role of viruses in causing diseases and conditions, such as warts, influenza, and smallpox, and the usage of vaccinations to prevent those diseases.

Chapter 7 – Understanding Prokaryotes

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of prokaryotes. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of bacteria.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Bacteria – Students study bacteria in this lesson where they will be responsible for describing and comparing the basic structures of prokaryotic cells, archaebacteria to bacteria, and prokaryotic cells to eukaryotic cells. Students must also have an understanding of binary fission, be able to compare asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction and explain the impact bacteria has on humans.

Chapter 8 – Understanding Protists

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of protists. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of classifying protists, plant-like protists and animal-like protists.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Classifying protists – Students will study protists and be able to discuss the structure and function of protists, classify protists as plant-like, animal-like or fungus-like, compare and contrast protists to that of other eukaryotic cells and differentiate between types of heterotrophic and saprobic protists.
  • Plant-like protists – Students will learn the difference between the types of autotrophic protists, which include algae and euglena. Students must also compare structures of protists to function.
  • Animal-like protists – Students will learn the difference between the types of autotrophic protists, which include algae and euglena. Students must also compare structures of protists to function.

Chapter 9 – Understanding Fungi

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of fungi. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of introduction to fungi.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Introduction to fungi – Students are taught how to describe the structure and function of fungi, how to tell the difference between groups of fungi, which include heterotrophic and saprobic examples, and how to evaluate the role of fungi in ecosystems.

Chapter 10 – Understanding Plants

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the basics of plants. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concepts of classifying plants, seedless vascular plants, gymnosperms and angiosperms, angiosperms, tropism in plants.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Classifying plants – Students will learn how to identify the basic structures and functions of plants, classify plants based upon structural similarities, describe non-vascular plants and compare and contrast vascular and non-vascular plants.
  • Seedless vascular plants – Students are required to describe the structure and function of vascular plants, which includes xylem and phloem. Students must also characterize seedless vascular plants, and discuss the difference between the sporophyte phase and gametophyte phase of reproduction in plants.
  • Gymnosperms and angiosperms – Students are taught how to tell the difference between gymnosperms and angiosperms. The lesson continues by discussing the three types of gymnospems, and learning how to evaluate the advantages of plant reproduction using flowers versus using cones.
  • Angiosperms – Students must explain the functions of plant tissues and organs, trace water and nutrients from the root of the plant through the stem to the leaves and back out of the plant, and provide examples of asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction in plants. Students must also be able to tell the difference between monocots and dicots.
  • Tropism in plants – Students will learn how seeds germinate and how to compare and contrast phototropism, heliotropism and gravitropism.

Chapter 11 – Understanding Animals

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the understanding of animals. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of introduction to animals, invertebrates: diversity discovered, invertebrates: transition to chordates, fishes and amphibians, reptiles and birds and mammals.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Introduction to animals – Students are taught how to compare animal cells and organisms to other kingdoms, identify the development of multicellularity as the origination of animals, and classify animals based on their structural similarities and difference. Students must also compare developmental levels of animals with varying types of symmetry, such as with radial symmetry, bilateral symmetry and asymmetry.
  • Invertebrates: Diversity discovered – Students are introduced to invertebrates by comparing the structure and function of systems in sponges, cnidarians, flatworms, roundworms, annelids and mollusks. Students are also taught how to explain how higher levels of organization result from specific changes in previous forms of organisms.
  • Invertebrates: Transition to chordates – Students are required to compare the structure and function of systems in arthropods, echinoderms and chordates.
  • Fishes and amphibians – Students will learn how to compare the structure and function of systems in fish and amphibians.
  • Reptiles and birds – Students will learn how to compare the structure and function of systems in reptiles and birds.
  • Mammals – Students will learn how to compare the structure and function of systems in mammals.

Chapter 12 – The Human Body

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the human body. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of levels of organization in the human body, maintaining homeostasis in the human body, the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, the muscular skeletal systems, the integumentary system, the digestive and urinary systems, the nervous system, the endocrine system and disease and the immune system.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Levels of organization in the human body – Students are required to explain how higher levels of organization result from specific complexing and interactions of smaller units and that their maintenance requires a constant input of energy, as well as new material. Students must also identify the major organ systems in the human body, and list the main tissue types.
  • Maintaining homeostasis in the human body – Students are taught how to describe the basic principles of homeostasis, physiological feedback loops and predict how the human body might respond to stress.
  • The respiratory system – Students must understand that in order for the body to maintain homeostasis, the body must burn food for the release of energy, oxygen must be supplied to cells while carbon dioxide is being expelled, and the respiratory system must respond to changing demands by increasing or decreasing breathing rate. Students will also be required to trace the path of oxygen or carbon dioxide through the respiratory system.
  • The cardiovascular system – Students must understand that in order for the cardiovascular system to maintain homeostasis, the circulatory system, which moves all of these substances to or from cells, must respond to changing demands by increasing or decreasing heart rate and blood flow. Students will also be required to describe cardiac muscle and how it works with other systems to support the body. Students will conclude the lesson by tracing the path of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood throughout the cardiovascular system.
  • The muscular skeletal systems – Students will learn how the muscular/skeletal system (skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscles, bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons) works with other systems to support the body and allow for movement. Students will also be taught that bones produce blood cells.
  • The integumentary system – Students are required to investigate how the integumentary system works as the initial barrier to the outside world, including its contribution to homeostasis. Students will finish the lesson by reviewing the structures and functions of the integumentary system.
  • The digestive and urinary systems – Students will explore the digestive system and be able to explain that for the body to use food for energy, the food must first be digested into molecules that are absorbed and transported to cells where the food is used for energy, repair, and growth. Students will continue the lesson by discussing how the urinary system disposes of dissolved waste molecules. Students will also learn that the intestinal tract removes solid wastes and the skin and lungs rid the body of heat energy.
  • The nervous system – Students are taught that communication between cells is required for coordination of body functions, including nerves communicating with electrochemical signals, hormones circulating through the blood, and some cells secreting substances that spread only to nearby cells. Students must also have an understanding of a physiological feedback loop. Students finish the lesson by describing the structures and functions of the nervous system, which include sensory neurons, interneurons, and motor neurons.
  • The endocrine system – Students must be able to explain that communication between cells is required for the coordination of body functions, including nerves communicating with electrochemical signals, hormones circulating through the blood, and some cells secreting substances that spread only to nearby cells. Students will learn about and describe the structures and functions of the endocrine system.
  • Disease and the immune system – Students are taught how to recognize and describe specialized cells of the immune system, as well as how the molecules they produce protect against organisms and substances that enter the body, even against some cancer cells that arise from within. Students need to have a full understanding that communication between cells is required for the coordination of body functions, including nerves communicating with electrochemical signals, hormones circulating through the blood, and some cells secreting substances that spread only to nearby cells.

Chapter 13 – The Interdependence of Life

The materials in this chapter introduce and cover the interdependence of life. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of levels of environmental organization, energy in an ecosystem, population interactions, life and the cycles that affect life and ecological succession and biodiversity.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Levels of environmental organization – Students are taught how to identify living and nonliving factors in an ecosystems, how to define populations and communities, and how to define the roles of organisms in ecosystems, including producer, consumer, and decomposer.
  • Energy in an ecosystem – Students must classify organisms as producers, consumers, or decomposers, and predict how ecosystems will change when the populations within them change. Students will learn how to illustrate energy flow in an ecosystem with an energy pyramid, and how to predict how the energy flow will change if the populations within an ecosystem change. Students are then taught how to describe how matter flows within an ecosystem, and how to construct a food web illustrating matter flow to include energy flow. Students are also required to predict how matter flow will change if the populations within an ecosystem change, and evaluate scientific investigations regarding food webs.
  • Population interactions – Students are shown the definitions of competition, limiting factors and carrying capacity. Students will then use that information to predict the effects of competition, limiting factors and carrying capacity on populations and communities. Next, students must define cooperation in the terms of symbiotic relationships, which includes mutualism, commensalism and parasitism. Students will then use that information to predict the effects of cooperation and symbiotic relationships on populations and communities.
  • Life and cycles that affect life – Students will learn how to describe nutrient cycling and energy flow through ecosystems, which includes the water cycle, carbon cycle, and nitrogen cycle. Students must then predict how changes in nutrient cycles might affect different populations within an ecosystem.
  • Ecological succession and biodiversity – Students are taught how to describe succession patterns in ecosystems, which includes primary succession, secondary succession, and climax communities. Students must then predict how disturbances at varying levels of succession might affect populations and communities.

Chapter 14 – Ecosystems and Human Impact

The materials in this chapter introduce and covers ecosystems and human impact. It is organized into sections that teach, reinforce and test students on the concept of land ecosystems, water ecosystems, pollution and resource use and loss of biodiversity and conservation.

Lessons in this chapter are organized into the following sections:

  • Land ecosystems – Students will learn how to explore land ecosystems, which include forests, grasslands, deserts and tundras. Students will then be required to identify the biotic and abiotic components of each, as well as trace matter and energy flow within the ecosystems and describe types of interdependence within the ecosystems. Students must use their knowledge to predict how changing biotic or abiotic factors in land ecosystems might affect populations and communities within the ecosystems.
  • Water ecosystems – Students will learn how to explore water ecosystems, which include marine and freshwater. Students will then be required to identify the biotic and abiotic components of each, as well as trace matter and energy flow within the ecosystems and describe types of interdependence within the ecosystems. Students will use their knowledge to predict how changing biotic or abiotic factors in water ecosystems might affect populations and communities within the ecosystems.
  • Pollution and resources use – Students will gain an understanding of air and water pollution, and describe the effects of natural events and human activities on pollution. Students are taught the concept of conservation of resources. Students finish the lesson by predicting how changes in pollution levels in ecosystems might affect populations and communities within ecosystems.
  • Loss of biodiversity and conservation – Students are required to explore the effects of humans on ecosystems, including the loss of biodiversity. Students will explore the phenomena of global warming, and predict how changes in ecosystems caused by humans might affect populations and communities within ecosystems.

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