Biology- Aug 9-11

Dear Parent(s) or Guardian(s) of an 9th grade biology student,

Welcome to a great year of learning about the beautiful world that surrounds us!  I am excited for a new school year to begin and to join with you in educating your student about the wonders of the world.

My name is Christina Agurcia, and I am originally from Illinois.  I graduated from Lincoln Christian College with a BS in Bible, from Illinois State University with a BS in Biology, and from Adams State University MA in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).  I am certified by the State of Illinois to teach a wide range of science subjects, including biology, chemistry, and physics.  As well, I have taken graduate education courses in zoology, botany, chemistry, physics, and AP Environmental Science.

I have 14 years of teaching experience in the secondary science classroom, and this will be my eleventh year at Discovery School.  Previously, I taught one year at a private school here in Tegucigalpa and three years at a public school in the United States of America.

This year in biology we will be using the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), covering the following topics:

First Quarter-   What is life?    Cell’s Structure and Function     Cell’s Energy

Second Quarter-     Cell Division    DNA and its Functions    Fundamentals of Genetics

Third Quarter-        Plant Structure and Function                     Body Systems

Fourth Quarter-      Body Systems (continued)

The science department divides a student’s grade into the following categories:

Homework/Classwork- 30%                Projects/Labs- 40%                 Tests/Quizzes- 30%

The following supplies needed for biology class are:

15 File Folders               3 Packets of Loose Leaf Paper    1 trifold

1 Packet of Notecards    1 Packet of Notecards                  10 pairs of disposable gloves

Pens or Pencils               Colored Pencils                          Eraser or Correction Fluid

Scissors                         Calculator

This year the 9th grade will be participating in science fair.  The science fair project will be an interdisciplinary project that will be completed during the first semester.  Discovery’s Science Fair will be held on December 1st.

I am looking forward to developing an excellent working relationship with you.  It is important that we keep in close contact about your student’s progress.  Each week I will be updating a blog and calendar, which will have information about the material being covered in class, student activities and homework, as well, as upcoming dates for projects and tests.  The blog is found at  As well, links for the blog are found on the school’s website under the secondary tab.  Students and parents should check the blog each Monday.

All classwork and homework are to be kept securely, using a metal fastener, in a unit portfolio or online in the Google Drive folder assigned for each student.  If work is not presented in the portfolio, it will not earn a grade.  Homework, as listed in class and on the blog, is due by 8:00 AM on the day the assignment is due, whether in a physical or digital version.  For paper work, Students must bring their portfolio, including their work, to my classroom and place it in the bin.  Any work submitted after 8:00 AM will be considered late.  Only excused tardies and absences will be accepted as a reason for turning in work after 8:00 AM.    A student who does not have homework ready at 8:00 AM will be expected to complete that work at snack or lunch time, for 90% of the credit.  Assignments presented one day late are worth 90% of the credit, and assignments presented two days late are worth 80% of the credit.  After this point, no credit will be earned.

Classtime is valuable, and therefore, a student should attempt be at school as much as possible.  However, if a student is absent, he/she is responsible to complete all make-up work.  Make-up work can be found in the “make-up” folder for his or her class.  Any missed notes can be copied from a fellow student.  If a student missed a test/quiz/lab, she/he will need make an appointment to complete the work.  For excused absences, students are given one day to make-up work per each absent day.  For one or two day excused absences, the students should be prepared to take any pre-scheduled test or quiz and submit any large project upon returning to school. For a longer absence, the student will not be required to take a test or quiz on the first two days after returning to school.  For preplanned absences, a student is to notify the teacher in writing previous to the absence (at least 3 days).  The teacher will assign work, giving a schedule to work to be complete.  No credit will be given for unexcused absences or absences due to suspension.

If you need to contact me individually, the best way is through email.  My email address is  The office will also take messages for me.  If you would like to meet with me, I would be happy to schedule an appointment with you.

If your student has any concerns or does not understand a topic, please encourage him/her to see me.  I am available most days during snack and lunch and can also be before school.

Thank you for entrusting me in joining you in the education of your student!


Mrs. Christina Agurcia

Biology- May 22-26

Topic: Immune System

Rx for Survival Video Guide

Reading ?’s 31.4- Due Mon, May 22nd
Disease Warriors Wkst- Due Tues, May 23rd
Immune System Review (see below)- Due Thurs, May 25th
Semester Exam Review
– DNA and Botany- Due Fri, May 26th
– Body Systems- Due Mon, May 29th
Immune System Test- Thurs, May 25th

Immune System Review
1) Define antigen, pathogen, antibody
2) Describe the role of the following cells: B cells, cytotoxic T cells, phagocytes, helper T cells, memory
3) Compare and contrast specific and nonspecific immune response
4) List the first line of defense against pathogens.
5) Is the first line of defense specific or nonspecific?
6) List the second line of defense against pathogens.
7) Is the second line of defense specific or nonspecific?
8) List the third line of defense against pathogens.
9) Is the third line of defense specific or nonspecific?
10) Describe the steps involved in humoral immunity.
11) Describe the steps involved in cell meditated immunity.
12) Describe how a vaccine works.

Biology- May 15-19

Topic:  Excretory & Immune Systems

Nephron Coloring
Nephron Activity

Reading ?’s 32.4, Part II– Due Tues, May 16th
Excretory System Review (see below)- Due Thurs, May 18th
Reading ?’s 31.3– Due Fri, May 19th
Reading ?’s 31.4– Due Mon, May 22nd

Excretory System Test- Thurs, May 18th

Excretory System Review
1) Describe the major functions of the excretory system
2) What organs do the job of excretion?
3) What is the function of these organs: kidneys, bladder
4) Trace the pathway of urine from where it is made to where it exits the body
5) Describe three processes which occur in the nephron.
6) When functioning properly, the nephron will excreted what substances as waste?
7) When functioning properly, the nephron will reabsorb what substance the passing blood?
8) Why is a urinalysis exam such a powerful tool for doctors in diagnosing disease?
9) Describe what occurs in kidney dialysis
10) What abnormalities are found in the urinalysis of a diabetic patient? Why are these so?
11) What abnormalities are found in the urinalysis of a patient with severe anemia? Why are these so?

Biology- May 8-12

Topic:  Cardiovascular & Excretory Systems

Heart Dissection
Cardiovascular STEM Activity
Nephron Coloring

Cardiovascular System Review (see below)- Due Wed, May 10th
Reading ?’s 32.4, Part I– Due Thurs, May 11th
Reading ?’s 32.4, Part II- Due Mon, May 15th

Cardiovascular System Test- Wed, May 10th

Cardiovascular System Review

  • Describe the major role(s) of the circulatory system
  • Identify the structure and function of each of these types of blood vessels: arteries, veins, venules, arterioles, and capillaries
  • What does blue typically indicate on a circulatory system drawing?
  • What does red typically indicate on a circulatory system drawing? Why?
  • Draw a simple diagram of the heart, using red and blue colors to indicate the regions, as described in 3 and 4.
  • Label the following structures on the diagram of the heart you made: left ventricle, right ventricle, right atrium, left atrium, vena cava, aorta
  • Follow the pathway of blood through the heart
  • What are the role of the pulmonary artery and pulmonary vein? Why are these unique structures?
  • Why are the ventricles and atrium muscular walls different in side?
  • Which chamber of the heart is largest and most muscular and why?
  • What are the role of the valves in the heart and veins?
  • What controls the contraction of the heart muscles? (be specific)
  • When reading an EKG, what do the following parts of the wave indicate? – P, Q, R, S, T, and U waves
  • What does blood pressure measure?
  • What is the name for high blood pressure? What symptoms does this condition cause?
  • When a person has arteriosclerosis, what occurs to the blood vessels? What does this increase the risk of?



Biology- April 24-28

Topics: Reproductive & Circulatory Systems

Miracle of Life Video Wkst
Heart Coloring

Reproductive System Review (see below)- Due Wed, April 26th
Reading ?’s 30.1– Due Thurs, April 27th
Reading ?’s 30.3– Due Fri, April 28th

Reproductive System Test


Reproductive System Review

  • Define zygote, gastrula, blastocyst, embryo, implantation
  • Draw a simple diagram of the male reproductive system. Label the following parts:  vas deferens, penis, urethra, epididymis, testes, scrotum
  • Describe the function of the following parts of the male reproductive system: vas deferens, penis, urethra, epididymis, testes, scrotum
  • Trace the pathway of sperm from the place where they are created in the male’s body to the place where they are released from his body.
  • Describe the development of the sperm at each of the following stages: spermatogonium, primary spermatocyte, secondary spermatocyte, spermatid, and spermatozoon.  (Hint:  Be sure to know the order of this development.)
  • Draw a simple diagram of the female reproductive system. Label the following parts:  uterus, ovaries, vagina, Fallopian tubes
  • Describe the function of the following parts of the female reproductive system: uterus, ovaries, vagina, Fallopian tubes
  • Trace the pathway of the egg from the place where it is created in the female’s body to the place where it is released from the body and/or grows as an offspring.
  • Describe the development of the egg at each of the following stages: primordial follicle, primary follicle, secondary follicle, mature follicle, corpus luteum, and corpus albicans (Hint: Be sure to know the order of this development, and be sure to mention hormones involved in each stage.)
  • What occurs during ovulation?
  • What occurs during menstruation? (including how hormone levels impact this process)
  • What signals puberty, causing the development of sperm or egg?
  • Describe the process of fertilization. (Hint: Include where it takes place.)
  • Order these stages of human development: gastrula, embryo, blastocyst, zygote, fetus
  • Describe what happens to a woman’s body during birth.

Biology- April 3-7

Topic: Endocrine System- Chapter 29

Hormone Chart
Endocrine System Case Study

Reading ?’s 29.6, Part II– Due Mon, April 3rd
Reading ?’s 29.6, Part III – Due Wed, April 5th
Review (see below)- Due Fri, April 7th

Endocrine System Test- Fri, April 7th

Endocrine System Review
• Define hormone and target cell
• What is the purpose of the endocrine system?
• How does a hormone travel from the place it was secreted to its target cell?
• How does a hormone have an effect on a target cells? (What does the target cell have that non-target cells do not?)
• What is the difference between the way a steroid hormone works and the way of a protein (nonsteriod) hormone works?
• What is the purpose of feedback control?
• How does feedback control work in order to maintain proper blood sugar levels? (Be sure to name all hormones involved.)
• How does feedback control work in order to maintain body temperature? (Be sure to name all hormones involved.)
• Create a chart with the following columns: name of hormone, where it is produced, from where it is released, target cells/tissues/organs, action it causes
o Fill in the chart with information about the following hormones: growth hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, growth-releasing hormone, antidiuretic hormone, thyroxine, triiodothyronine, calcitonin, thymosin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, insulin, glucagon, estrogen, progesterone, lutenizing hormone, testosterone, oxytocin, follicle stimulating hormone, thyroid stimulating hormone, thyroid stimulating-releasing hormone, cortisol, melatonin