First Day of Biology Outline: Mr. B’s Sound Beginnings

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November 9-11 • The Heights School, Potomac, MD

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From the Initiative for the Renewal of Science Education series.

The first several days…

Mr. B starts the course in a way similar to his friend Mr. P, the eighth grade Physical Science teacher (first reading at least the introductory part of the article A Sound Beginning: Mr. P and Physical Science is recommended). He greets the students as they meander into his Biology class. Administrative details take up about half the first class and then the real teaching begins.

The logical starting place is for Mr. B to explain what Biology is and why it is worthwhile to study it. Engaged students wonder how they will be approaching the subject and how it relates to what else they will be learning in other classes. They are expecting Mr. B to say something about this. Less engaged students are, for the most part, at least open to hearing whatever Mr. B has to say. It is the first day, after all.

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Michael Moynihan

About the author:

Michael Moynihan


A native of Rochester, NY, Michael Moynihan earned B.A. degrees in history and science pre-professional studies with a concentration in the Honors Program from the University of Notre Dame. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After teaching for one year and earning a master’s degree in theology from The Catholic University of America, he joined the faculty of The Heights School in 1995. He has taught chemistry, Advanced Placement chemistry, eighth grade science, ethics, math and religion, has coached The Heights’ cross-country team and founded The Heights Mountaineers program. Michael was named Head of the Upper School in 2002. He and his wife, Angela, have eleven children, with four sons here at the School.