Natural History Syllabus

KS Natural History Syllabus 09-10

Mr. Scott Sharp

Room: 206


School Phone: (913) 667-6250

Welcome and Philosophical Statement:

Welcome to Kansas Natural History!  I think that we are going to have a great year together as we advance our understanding of the native plants, animals, and ecosystems of Kansas, focusing on how all of these work together.  My goal for this class is for all of you to leave it as educated, knowledgeable citizens with respect to what science is (Nature of Science) and the natural history of Kansas.  I want all of you to succeed, and I am willing to work with each of you to see that it happens.  I hope that all of you are prepared to meet the challenges presented in this course with as much enthusiasm as I have.  If so, we’ll have a great year!

Materials Needed:

  • Three-ring binder (brought to class EVERY day!!)
  • 5 dividers
  • Small (appx. than 5X7″) lined notebook (to use out in the field)

·        College-ruled paper

Summary of Course Objectives:

Student will:

  • Create and maintain a field notebook and add at least FIVE ENTRIES PER QUARTER from time spent in the field outside of class!
  • Show proficiency with identification of native organisms using field guides and memorization from in-field lectures
  • Actively participate in field biology investigations
  • Learn basic animal care and maintenance
  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic ecological principles
  • Work with class members to organize and present small group workshops for groups of district elementary students

Behavioral Expectations:

Student will:

  • Be on time and prepared.
  • Write every assignment in her/his De Soto Agenda.
  • Complete and turn in homework.
  • Do her/his best.
  • Make learning environment positive for everyone.
  • Respect self, others, and school property.
  • Be own self-advocate, know own grade, and meet with

me one-on-one when there is a concern.

Summary of Course Outline:



Unit I: Classification and Taxonomy

Unit VII: Winter Ecology

Unit II: Kansas Arthropods

Unit VIII: Historical Kansas

Unit III: Kansas Reptiles and Turtles

Unit IX: Water Birds in Kansas

Unit IV: Kansas Plants

Unit X: Mammals of Kansas

Unit V: Winter Birds in Kansas

Unit XI: Amphibians of Kansas

Unit VI: Kansas Threatened/Endangered Species

Unit XII: Summer Birds in Kansas

Unit XIII: Kansas Fishes

Semester I Final Project

Semester II Final Project

Format and Testing:

Tests- 40% of grade (these will cover mainly species identification and facts                           from PowerPoints and can be retaken if student meets with me)

Field Notebook Journals- 10% (each of these, 5 per quarter, will need to                              include correct formatting, species seen, and a one-page reflection)

Homework/Activities-  40% (these will be based on participation, written                   observations, and on answering required questions from each lab/activity)

Daily Participation- 10% (this will be based on active participation in class)


You will be graded on a point system.  Letter grades will be earned according to the following scale (based on mastery of objectives): NOTE: THE DISTRICT HAS ADOPTED A +/- SCALE, BUT GRADEPOINTS WILL REMAIN THE SAME.

90-100%      = A

80-89%        = B

70-79%        = C

60-69%        = D

59% or less   = F

Late Policy:

Work is due on the day identified in class, but if prior arrangements are made with me explaining the reasons, at my discretion, late work will be accepted.  When work will be late, you must let me know in advance and make a specific plan of when something will be turned in.

Attendance Policy:

Attendance is required.  If you miss anything, it is your responsibility to make up anything missed.  See me before or after class to inquire, but NOT DURING CLASS!



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