Human Body Systems (HBS)2016-12-09T17:39:59+00:00

Human Body Systems

10th Grade

``Bel Air High School's version of Human Body Systems is the epitome of student led instruction. As the teacher, my role is to make sure that students have the tools and circumstances to excel. While this style of instruction requires adaptation, its results can be unparalleled.``

Mr Burke


As you may have heard, we are going to use one of the highest impact educational strategies currently in practice called Gamification. You should watch the video below to get a brief overview of some of the thought behind using game design in education.  

You can visit our class’s game at to learn more about gamification and even take part in the HBS Tutorial to experience the course yourself.

Essentially this means that your student will work through the entire PLTW HBS curriculum at their own pace and be forced to master each piece of content before moving on. This means that some students will be on the third activity while others are on the fifth and so on.


While the research behind this style of learning is strong and impressive, it is different from any type of classroom that students have experienced so far. As such there are some unique supports that will be provided to each student.

  • Weekly Meetings
    • Each student will meet with their teacher on the first day of class each week.
    • During this meeting the student will account for their time last week and their plan for the coming week. Students will also briefly state content that they understand and content that they are struggling with.
  • Weekly Time Management Checks
    • Each student will be responsible for using and maintaining a digital personal calendar. They will show this updated calendar during the last class period of the week.
    • In addition to the calendar students will receive instruction on how to create a personal task management system. This system will also be maintained and checked weekly.
  • Group Forums
    • We will use a technology called Slack to facilitate asynchronous group discussions. When students have questions or need help, they will be able to ask them anytime to the entire 10th grade of biomed and both HBS teachers. This searchable repository of questions, answers, and discussions will serve as a ever growing knowledge base for students.

Flipped Classroom

There is a very large amount of content for students to learn this year. As such it is important to use our time effectively. In an effort to give each component of the curriculum its due diligence, students will be doing most of their preparation and research work at home before class. This work is crucial to our progress and is expected to be completed before class. This work will include taking notes from academic websites, listening to podcasts, watching lectures, and more. This will allow for us to do more hands on, and higher level activities in class. Quizzes and other graded checks for completion should be expected.

An example of flipped instruction can be found to the right.

Required Skills

Technology Skills

The organization and administration of this class leans heavily on technology. That decision is an effort to improve the students’ comfort and ability in using technology professionally. In addition to these procedural skills, there will be a multitude of technological resources used in class geared toward the collection, analysis, and presentation of information. By being exposed to multiple technologies and services, students will gain an understanding of the logic and systems that underpin technology as a whole, and thus become technologically proficient.

Presentation Skills

One of the other “soft skills” that students will develop is the ability to effectively present information. To be a truly great presenter, students will develop oratory skills, quality slide design, and everything in between. This will likely require a paradigm shift from previous classes and experience, so an open mind is required. In an effort to develop this skill, students’ presentations will be recorded for their analysis. Written reflections on these videos will be required. Also, as the year progresses, presentation requirements will increase in difficulty and academic impact. This necessitates that students actively strive to adapt and improve their ability.

Syllabus Information

Click the items below for specific details.


Assessments will include constructed response items to improve technical writing skills as well as selected response quizzes that will prepare students for the academic rigor that is to be expected in advanced schooling. Multiple major presentations will be assigned as a means of developing professional communication skills. The delivery itself will be the major component of the grade for these presentations. In addition to this, there will be labs that will increase your understanding of the systems of the body as well as improve your scientific methodology comprehension.

As per county policy, there will be a midterm and a final exam, and no one will be excused from taking these exams. More information will follow regarding what will be covered on these exams. This class is a cross curricular class; meaning that there will be writing assignments, projects, current events, as well as some history associated with your learning. You will need to be able to use what you have learned in other classes in order to be successful in this class.

Mastery Assessments

One of the core elements of gamification is the ability for a student to get immediate feedback, learn from their mistakes, and try again. As such there will be a small quiz for every activity (i.e. 1.1.1) that students must complete successfully to move on to the next piece of content.

If a student does not successfully pass the quiz check they will have to retake the quiz. Students will be told what questions they got wrong but not what the correct answers are. Students are expected to revisit the applicable instruction before taking the quiz again. If a student is unsuccessful passing the quiz after 3 attempts they are locked out and must visit their teacher to get clarification and move on.

Grading Policy

Grading will be based on a pure point system. The number of points to a particular activity will be based on the length and involvement. Assignments will include tests, quizzes, labs, projects, classwork, homework, and class participation. Your class participation grade will be based predominantly on your performance on the class website.

The most shocking element of game design in a classroom for most parent and students is the concept of building your grade. As described in the video from the X-Prize foundation most classes think of grading as starting with an A and that grade falling over the course of the semester with every mistake. However, in game design you build your grade from nothing, every action you perform will raise your grade. This means that at the start of a unit you will see a grade book full of zeros and you will build your grade up as high as you can. To provide you correct feedback, grades will be updated very often (hopefully daily).

Letter grade scales as dictated by Harford County Public Schools are as follows:

A = 100-89.5 B = 89.4-79.5 C = 79.4-69.5 D = 69.4-59.5 E = 59.4-0

Academic Integrity

Cheating, copying, and plagiarism are all forms of academic dishonesty. Cheating is any form of obtaining information unfairly and without authorization for a test, quiz or other graded assignment. Copying is the use of another’s work with the understanding of a teacher that it is one’s own. Unless a teacher has expressly stated in the assignment instructions that the task is one that is collaborative, it should be assumed that the assessment is an individual endeavor. Cheating, whether verbal, written, or computer generated, can involve, but is not limited to:

  • Copying on tests
  • Copying of homework
  • Plagiarism of published works (including Internet resources)
  • Multiple submission of work previously turned in for a grade by another student.
  • Giving answers to a test or homework
  • Discussion of test materials with others
  • Using electronic devices to communicate any contents of homework, tests or quizzes
  • Using electronic devices without teacher permission to acquire information during class hours

Office Hours

In addition to the weekly in class meeting, I am available to meet in person before or after school on most days but this is not guaranteed. You can email me or ask in class to schedule a meeting. The earlier you contact me the more likely I will be able to accommodate you.

Required Supplies

  • 1.5-2 inch Binder & Paper
  • Colored Pencils
  • Lab Gloves
  • Pens/Pencils
  • HCPL Library Card
  • Headphone/Earbuds (Optional)
  • Accounts with various online services will also be required throughout the year.


There is a participation grade associated with the dissections. The animals used in this class are to be treated with respect and care. Any cruelty to these animals will result in a zero for the participation grade of that dissection and you will be excluded from all future dissections.

Sign the Syllabus

Click the icon below to be taken to a Google Form. Please complete the form, click submit, and print and sign the confirmation page. Your student will bring this page into class for credit.