General Science Course Syllabus

Science, Science, Science 

Welcome to my classroom.  My name is Ms. Branch and I look forward to working with you over the next year.  In order to create a warm, enjoyable classroom environment, we must go over some ground-rules, lab safety, and of course, a grading policy.  We are here to learn from each other and understand many of the interesting concepts in general science, without blowing up the lab!

General Information:

A.  Course:                                 Earth Science   A and B
B.  Text:                                     HOLT Earth Science
C.  Instructor:                             Ms. Laura Branch
  Phone:  937-2051 ext. 2134
                        Email address:



 Materials Required:            1” science binder
 Recommended:                    Calculator, colored pencils

Course Description:

            This is a two semester college preparatory science class designed to give students an overview of earth science.  Students will learn about global phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes, global winds and ocean currents.  Geology, Earth’s energy, astronomy, basic chemistry and physics will also be explored.  This class will include reading assignments, hands-on projects, laboratory assignments and activities that will stimulate an understanding of these scientific subjects.  Receiving a passing grade for both semesters meets the physical science requirement for graduation.


All written work is graded for neatness, completeness, accuracy, grammar and spelling.  All work is assigned a point value.  At the end of the grading period, all points to date are totaled and a percent score is determined for each student by dividing the number of points the student earned by the number of assigned points possible.  Letter grades are then assigned based on the following scale:


93 % and up     A         80-82%           B-                    68-69%           D+
90-92%  A-                    78-79%           C+                   63-67%           D
88-89%  B+                   73-77%           C                     60-62%           D-
83-87%  B                     70-72%           C-                    below 60%    F


Note:  A failing grade for the required Class Notebook will result in a failing grade for the course, regardless of performance in other areas.

Tests:  Tests will be given over each major unit, and are always announced in advance.  Tests are usually worth 100 points.  In class reviews & study guides are usually given to help you study!

  If you are caught cheating, you will receive a zero on the exam.  Cheating will not be tolerated!!

Quizzes:  Quizzes are occasionally given during a chapter of the text or other unit covered.  Quizzes are usually worth about 20 points.  Some quizzes may not be announced in advance and may cover the previous night’s homework assignment.

  All  classroom notes, handouts, homework, lab write-ups, etc. will go directly into your science notebook.  This book is collected after each major unit.  Scoring is based on completion of all assigned work, inclusion of all hand-outs, and neatness.  Each student is required to have either a section in a large binder or a separate, 1” BINDER for science which will contain only science materials.

Lab Exercises:  Lab exercises accompany most units and always will require a written report.  Lab reports will be turned in for a grade & must be attached in your notebook once returned back to you.  If you miss a lab, see Make-

Homework:  Homework assignments are announced on a given day.  Homework assignments will be collected & graded the day after they are assigned.  Assignments will be graded on completeness and organization.  Remember to show your work!!

            Homework is usually graded on a 5 point scale.

     Once corrected and homework assignments are returned, they are to be put into the notebook. Homework is not accepted late except as noted under Makeups below.

Citizenship:  Students at Righetti High are assigned a citizenship grade, either Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory, at each grading period.  Students requiring disciplinary action can expect to receive an Unsatisfactory Citizenship grade.

Cell Phones, iPods, & MP3’s:  Cell phones, iPods, & MP3 players will be confiscated if they are out during class.  Parents will have to pick these up from the office.  Head phones should not be visible.  Cell phones should be turned off and there should be NO texting!

Makeups:  Homework will not be accepted late unless the student is absent on the due date for illness or other officially excused absence*.  Work is expected to be turned in promptly upon your  return to school.  Work missed for unexcused absences such as cuts may not be made up.     

If you miss a lab due to an excused absence--you must read a science related article & write a one page, typed paper about the article.  You will turn in a copy of the article along with your paper.  You will have 1 day to make this up after the missed lab, no exceptions!  It is your responsibility to turn this in--I will not be asking for it! 

*If you are in sports, it is your responsibility to get the homework & notes from someone or off my website.  Homework is due the day you get back.  If you miss a lab, it is your responsibility to do the lab make-up (see above).  You will have only one day to complete the lab make-up.




       ASK A FRIEND!!


Extra Credit:  I do not do extra credit assignments.  So, don’t ask.  You may, however, receive Branch Bucks during class for answering questions correctly, doing an outstanding job on your notebook or helping out during class.  These Branch Bucks are redeemable for extra points on tests. Einsteiners are also available on special occasions.


Classroom Guidelines/Rules:

The following rules should be taken seriously in the classroom.  It should be noted that although these rules need to be followed everyday in the classroom, my advice is to also follow them outside of the classroom so you will be an all-around fun, interesting, nice person to be around, not a grumpity old sourpuss!

Be respectful to yourself and others.

I respect you.  You respect me.  Then we can be a great big family (sung to the tune of Barney).  I want to build a community within our classroom so we can enjoy each other and learn.  I have the right to teach and you have the right to learn.  We must respect each other’s rights.  If we can do so, we will learn a lot from each other.

Be courteous to all.

Treat each other with respect.  Treat others how you would want to be treated.  Listen to what others have to say because everyone has something important to say.  Learn from each other.  Use kind words at all times, especially during group work and/or debates.  It’s okay to disagree but be courteous about it.  Listen to what others say before a rebuttal.  Don’t ever put others down, be courteous to them.


Be positive!

A positive attitude is priceless!  Don’t complain about doing group work, try to learn from the experience.  Try to be a positive influence on your group members/classmates.  It does a lot to one’s self-esteem to be optimistic.  Look at the good, not the negative!!!   :)


Be considerate!

Everyone is in this class to learn.  Yes, even me.  I learn from my students just as you will learn from myself and your classmates.  Everyone needs to be considerate of each other.  Raise your hand to speak.  Be considerate of the time I have to teach.  I have the right to start on time.  When the bell rings, you must be in your seat, ready to learn.  Be considerate of me at the end of the class.  I expect to dismiss you from your seat, not the bell. 


School Rules:

Attendance/Tardy Policy - see Student Parent Handbook

Major Discipline - see Student Parent Handbook



Cut along this line and return this stub to Ms. Branch




I have read the preceding rules and guidelines for GENERAL SCIENCE class, and understand the contents.


________________________                  ____________________               ___________

  student name (printed)                                       student signature                               date


________________________                        ____________________                    ___________

  parent signature                                                parent email address                           date










© lbranch 2013