Littleton High School - Biology - 491-005 - Blom - 2022/2023
Taught by Mr. Blom
Life on this Rock: Biology was originally developed by Professor Thomas B. Shea to meet a specific need – to allow college students, regardless of their prior exposure to science, to gain a critical understanding of aspects of Biology that affect their lives now and will continue to do so in the future. Professor Shea recognizes that he may be the last scientist such students will ever hear from, and strives to leave them well-versed in the Scientific Method, in order to provide them with the ability to evaluate headlines and claims with a scientific approach, and to call for evidence.
His unique ability to present complex science in a manner accessible to students majoring in all fields resulted in a >4-fold increase in enrollment in Life Science classes at his University, and adoption of Life on this Rock by multiple other institutions.
Remembering his High School years, when not all students were headed to college, and most of those that were uncertain of their college major, Shea considered the potential utility of Life on this Rock: Biology for High School students.
To develop a High School version of his text, Professor Shea partnered with Kimberly A. Gonzalez, a certified high school science instructor with a Masters Degree in Education. Like Professor Shea, Ms. Gonzalez takes an active approach to learning, and recognized the appropriateness of the student-friendly language and accessibility of complex scientific processes provided by Life on this Rock.
Ms. Gonzalez developed the modifications and supplements that align Life on this Rock with the Next Generation High School Life Science Standards.
Modifications for the Special High School version of Life on this Rock include:
Vocabulary, Reading, Writing, and Speaking Strategies
Included within each chapter to help improve the academic success of both native English speakers and English language learners, along with review sheets to reinforce key concepts.
Claim, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) Topics
Designed to help students improve their scientific analysis and writing skills. Students analyze the validity of a question by making a Claim (giving an answer to the question), providing Evidence to support their claim, and assigning Reasons why their evidence supports their claim.
Expanded Test Banks
Instructors can generate custom quizzes, tests, and exams by selecting from existing Test Banks that contain pools of Multiple Choice, True/False, Completion, and Short Answer Questions. Tests can be delivered to students and completed online via computer (and grades automatically ported to the Instructor’s Gradebook) or tests can be printed.
Online quizzes, etc., are automatically entered into a flexible Instructor Gradebook that averages entries with varying Instructor-defined weight for each entry). Instructors can manually enter additional grades or export the Gradebook into excel or other spreadsheet software. Each student sees only his/her ongoing performance.
- Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Strategies
Geared to help you help English language learners become fluent in reading, writing, and speaking academic language. These strategies are not an exhaustive list, but are merely a springboard to help reach all of the students. Each activity can be geared to the level of each student, including with native English speakers.
About the Authors
Dr. Thomas Shea
Dr. Shea has published over 300 scientific articles, trained 16 doctoral students, 30 Master’s degree recipients, and supervised over 35 undergraduate research projects. While he’s enjoyed teaching at all levels for 20 years, he particularly likes teaching Life Science to students majoring in other fields, where he has “the opportunity to present important aspects of science to the voters of the future.”
Dr. Shea holds his Ph.D. degree in Biology from Northeastern University, and earned his M.S. and B.A. degrees in Biology at the University of Massachusetts. He has obtained over 5 million dollars in funding for his research, from sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Labs, the Alzheimer’s Association, the ALS Association, and the American Federation for Aging Research.
Dr. Shea and his team have demonstrated that certain combinations of vitamins and nutritional supplements not only delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, but if started early enough, can actually improve memory and mood in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as well at adults without dementia. He frequently presents a wide range of seminars and workshops on the benefit of nutrition for age-related loss of memory. When not at work, Dr. Shea studies karate, where he holds a 6th degree black belt, and tends to his Japanese Garden.
Kimberly A. Gonzalez
Kimberly Gonzalez is currently an assistant professor at Middlesex Community College, where she teaches General Biology and Microbiology courses to life science and health science majors.
Prior to her community college appointment, Ms. Gonzalez taught high school biology, microbiology, and general biology, at various levels, for 12 years at Lowell High School.
Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Gonzalez worked as a clinical microbiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA. She holds a B.S. in biology, and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction, both from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She will complete an M.S. in biology from the University of Nebraska Kearney in the Spring of 2017.
Her teaching passion centers around the area of microbiology and student-led inquiry explorations. At her previous school, Ms. Gonzalez mentored approximately 20 high school students in conducting microbiology experiments of their choosing; an endeavor she hopes to continue at Middlesex Community College. Her student's work has been published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators.
Ms. Gonzalez developed the modifications and supplements that align Life on this Rock: AP Biology with the NGSS Life Science standards.