Dear Science Student and Parent or Guardian:

The purpose of this letter is to welcome you to Science at Thomas Jefferson High School and to inform you how my class will be conducted.  The focus of this class is individual growth of ability in questioning, modeling, investigating, reading, data interpreting, math thinking, and explaining trough writing.  As students increase their skill set and knowledge base, they will also perpetuate their High School Science Career and maximize their State, District, and SAT scores.  The course will center on the concepts outlined in the Denver Public Schools while focusing on learning expectations based on Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).



PHONE: 720-423-7000               E-MAIL:


Required: Composition notebook (graphing), writing utensil, and calculator

Recommended: colored pencils, highlighters, glue sticks, and general supplies

Semester Grade Book (Infinite Campus)

Students will be graded in three major categories that directly correspond to the grade book.  First, students will be evaluated on their ability in six competencies (NGSS). These major science skills will start with a base grade found in their performance on the introduction test and will grow over the course of the class.  Second, students will be evaluated on their ability to complete daily tasks and assignments.  These projects will build science talent and prepare students for formal quizzes and tests.  Finally, students will be evaluated on their ability to perform on the Fianl Eaxam.  This assessments is intended to judge students on their ability to demonstrate cumulative skills on a single, timed performance.

Competencies (Infinite Campus 60%)

The following competencies are based on district and state standards and are at the core of superb scientific skills:

Asking Questions (10 points):

  1. Evaluate a question to determine if is testable and relevant
  2. Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the school laboratory, research facilities, or field with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on a model or theory or challenge the premise(s) of an argument, or the interpretation of a data set.

Developing and Using Models (10 points):

  1. Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
  2. Evidence: Develop and/or use a model to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

Obtaining and Communicating Information (10 points)

  1. Critically read scientific literature (adapted for classroom use) to determine the central ideas or conclusions
  2. Read and evaluate information from multiple sources to assess its evidence
  3. Compare, integrate, and evaluate information from sources to make inferences concerning science concepts

Planning and Carrying out Investigations (10 points):

  1. Plan and conduct an investigation to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly.
  2. Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to a dependent variable when an independent variable is manipulated.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data & Using Mathematics (10 points):

  1. Analyze data in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine optimal design solutions.
  2. Evaluate the impact of new data on a working explanation and/or model of a proposed process or system.
  3. Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
  4. Apply techniques of algebra and functions to represent and solve scientific and engineering problems.

Constructing Explanations & Engage in Argument (10 points)

  1. Make a quantitative and/or qualitative claim regarding the relationship between variables.
  2. Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources to support analysis and reflection.
  3. Convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately to logically explain a topic and/or support argument.

Assignments (Infinite Campus 20%)

These assignments will directly aligned to the content and represent the daily work completed inside and outside class.

Final Exam (Infinite Campus 20%)

A District-created Assessment Package (jointly written by C&I and ARE) will asses students’ level of ability in the competencies with a single, timed performance at the end of each semester.

General Expectation

Expectations are detailed in the TJ Student Handbook and highlighted as follows:

  • No food or beverages (other than water in bottles) will be allowed in class;
  • No electronic devices (phones, earbuds, ect…) will be allowed in class;
  • Accountability for listening closely and participating in class;
  • Disrupting the education of others will not be tolerated;
  • Lab safety is paramount.

I will be available during the school year by phone or email.


Joseph A Marlen

Science Teacher

SPED Case Manager

Thomas Jefferson High School