Science Extra Credit Assignments

Extra Credit Opportunities - 7A Life Science

Rationale for Extra Credit

Life happens. I understand that there are many demands placed on students these days - family expectations, academic responsibilities, extracurricular commitments - that might make getting every homework assignment turned in on time tough. I do not accept late work for a number of reasons, the most important being that I want to provide feedback to my students in a timely manner we go over the work each day. Therefore I provide extra credit opportunities each term and all year that enable students to make up for two to three missed homework assignments or recover some points from assignments not fully completed.  Also, extra credit shows commitment by the student and I encourage students to “go above and beyond”.

--Mrs. Stephanie Pratt

Rules for Extra Credit - Available to Every Student

  • Students may complete TWO (2) of the following options per semester (not counting test/quiz resubmissions).

  • Students are to work on projects individually. If they want to travel together for the scavenger hunt or watch movies together, that's fine but each student must turn in his/her own scrapbook with pictures of himself/herself and answer the movie questions individually.

  • Extra credit points will be awarded in either the homework or lab categories. The only way to earn points in the test/quiz category is by doing a resubmission with corrected answers.

  • Projects are due by the end of the term before grades close.

  • If you have any questions, come talk to me or email me prior to the night before it is due. I will not help you if you have waited until the last minute to throw together a haphazard project.

Test and Quiz Redo/Resubmissions:

Students may earn half of their points back on most of my quizzes and tests!  How?  By writing the question and corrected answer five times each.  This extra credit option will only be applied to the multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and matching questions on quizzes and tests.  The questions and answers must be hand-written on a separate sheet of paper, attached to the original test or quiz and turned in before the close of grades.  The answers given on the extra credit must be correct answers or credit will not be given.

Extra Credit Projects

  • Go on a scavenger hunt: You can explore the nature of Massachusetts and New Hampshire while collecting points for Life Science! Each item on the list (copies are in a file on my desk) counts as one point. In order to earn those points, you need to take a picture of yourself with the item. You then need to present those pictures in either a PowerPoint presentation or a scrapbook. Each photo needs a caption that contains the title of the item pictured and the location where the photograph was taken. You should pay attention to everything on the same page as the list of items. You can check out these places, which are close to home.


    • Arnold Arboretum, BostonBeaver Brook Trails, Hollis, NH

    • Woods Hole, MAQuabbin Reservoir

    • Plum Island, Newburyport, MAPurgatory Chasm, Sutton, MA

    • Ponemah Bog, Amherst, NHMt. Monadnock, Jaffrey, NH

    • Franklin Park Zoo, BostonNew England Aquarium, Boston

    • Stonham Zoo, Stoneham, MA         Walden Pond, Concord, MA

    • Callahan State Park, Malden, MA Breakheart Reservation, Saugus, MA

    • Billerica State Forest, Billerica, MAEstabrook Woods, Concord, MA

    • Big Pine Trail, Reading, MAThe Reservoir, Burlington, MA

    • Museum of Science, Boston

  • Read a book: You can choose a book from the list (on the wall behind my desk). You may read a maximum of three books each semester. You can earn up to 100 points for the first book and up to 50 points for each additional book for a maximum of 200 extra credit points. Be sure to complete EACH of the following steps to earn full credit:

    • Read the book.

    • Answer the questions on the worksheet (you can find copies for each book title in a folder on my desk) in your own handwriting. (Answers can NOT be typed).

    • Complete the supplemental reading verification formand have your parents sign it.

  • Watch a movie: You can watch one or two movies a term and answer the questions on the worksheet (you can find copies for each movie in a folder on my desk) in essay form (typed). Each movie is worth 25 points, for the possibility of earning a total of 50 points each term. You can rent the movies from Netflix, stream from HULU or possibly even a local library.      

    • Medicine ManSuper Size Me

    • GATTACAX-Men: The Last Stand

    • Lorenzo’s OilA Beautiful Mind

    • Outbreak Double Helix

    • Osmosis JonesEvolution

    • AwakeningsGorillas in the Mist

  • Save The Planet Bring photographic evidence of you and how you are saving the planet, and type a two-paragraph summary.  This extra credit may only be done ONCE per term.

    • Ideas: Plant a tree(s), change light bulbs in your house to more efficient light bulbs, find ideas to conserve water/electricity, recycle, walk/ride a bicycle, encourage others (peaceably) to walk instead of drive, research your own way to help out, etc…

  • Read 4 Newspaper/Magazine Articles Type a two-page report (your name and block in the upper left corner, 12 point font, Times New Roman).  The project must answer the following questions:

    • What is the main field of science studied in the articles?

    • Give 3 examples of the use of the scientific method.

    • Describe 3 things you already knew before you read the articles.

    • Describe 3 things you learned because you read the articles.

    • Write 3 questions you have about the fields of science or something you read in the articles.

    • Identify and describe ANY false scientific ideas you saw, or “bad” scientific processes found in the articles.

    • Document the author, date, and place where you found the articles.

  • Research the Life and Studies of a Scientist Create a high quality poster/presentation or type a two-page report (your name and block in the upper left corner, 12 point font, Times New Roman, references cited), about their contribution to science and humanity.  The project must answer the following questions:

    • What were the scientist’s main fields of study?

    • What major contributions to society have the scientist made?

    • Any interesting or unique facts about the scientist?

    • Any problems that the scientist faced in their research?

    • How has other scientists built on their research?

Extra Credit Book List

Level: Easy

The Woman With a Worm in Her Head (Pamela Nagami) A collection of infectious disease essays, including AIDS, chickenpox and flesh-eating bacteria.

Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton) Crichton interweaves details of genetic engineering, computer wizardry and current scientific controversy over dinosaurs to fashion a scary, creepy, mesmerizing thriller.

The Andromeda Strain (Michael Crichton) A returning space capsule releases an alien virus on the earth.

My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult) Anna was genetically engineered to be a perfect match for her cancer-ridden older sister.

The Hot Zone (Richard Preston) The tale of an actual Ebola virus outbreak in a suburban Washington, D.C. laboratory.

The Demon in the Freezer :(Richard Preston). A thriller that focuses on smallpox and the threat it plays as a bioterrorism agent.

Ryan White: My Own Story (Ryan White). Although Ryan White was born with hemophilia, the boy and his family were determined that he live as normal a life as possible. But, given contaminated blood in a transfusion, Ryan contracted AIDS.

Level: Medium

Microbe Hunters (Paul de Kruif). In this classic bestseller, Paul de Kruif dramatizes the pioneering bacteriological work of such scientists as Leeuwenhoek, Spallanzani, Koch, Pasteur, Reed, and Ehrlich.

Silent Spring (Rachel Carson). The book focuses on the poisons from insecticides, weed killers, and other common products as well as the use of sprays in agriculture, a practice that led to dangerous chemicals to the food source.

Journey to the Ants (Bert Holldobler and E.O. Wilson). Offer a fascinating glimpse into the world of ants as well as their own personal adventures in the study of these insects.

Through a Window: My Thirty Years With the Chimpanzees of Gombe (Jane Goodall). A saga of chimpanzee families with an engrossing account of animal behavior.

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (James Watson). Describes the many minds involved in the ultimate understanding of what DNA looks like and how it multiplies.

The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (Lewis Thomas). A beautifully written collection of essays that bring one very close to a belief that in some way, all life is connected.

The World Without Us (Alan Weisman). If humans when extinct overnight, how long before all trace of humankind vanished?

The Journey of Man (Spencer Wells). Tracking human relatedness and migration by examining Y-chromosome similarities and differences among current humans.

A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock (Evelyn Fox Keller). An insightful and thought-provoking book about women in science and the role of dissent in the scientific community.

The Secret Life of Germs (Phillip Tierno). The story of bacteria, viruses, and prions and their myriad effects on human beings. From toxic shock syndrome to Lyme disease to diarrheal infections of the Third World.

Abraham Lincoln’s DNA (Philip R. Reilly). An enjoyable series of vignettes that explain the fundamental tools of the modern genetics detective in the course of fascinating historical tales.

When a Gene Makes You Smell Like a Fish (Lisa Seachrist Chiu). A remarkable collection of stories about the discovery and elucidation of some rare or not so rare genetic disorders.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (Oliver Sacks) Clinical tales drawn from fascinating and unusual cases introduces real people who suffer from a variety of neurological syndromes which include symptoms such as amnesia, uncontrolled movements, and musical hallucinations.

Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream (Jennifer Ackerman) Starting with a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call and working through to the wee hours, this book explains the complex details behind some of the body's most basic functions.

Musicophilia (Oliver Sacks) Explores the effects of music on the human brain. Clinical studies from individuals afflicted by an inability to connect with any melody to Alzheimer's patients who find order and comfort through music.

Riddled With Life (Marlene Zuk). Stories of human parasites and how humans and our parasites have co-evolved.

The Wild Trees (Richard Preston). Includes the history of old-growth forests, canopy ecology, tells how gadgets and techniques to climb were invented and introduces recreational tree-climbing as a sport.

What Patients Taught Me (Audrey Young). A firsthand depiction of the hardships and rewards of medical school, this sensitive memoir may serve as a guide to help readers who are considering traversing that same path.

Panic in Level 4 (Richard Preston). Essays that cover genome mapper Craig Venter; a gene that leads people to cannibalize themselves; and two Russian-Jewish émigré scientists who built a monster computer in their cramped apartment to puzzle out patterns in the value of pi.

The Immortal Cell (Michael D. West). A chronology of the emerging science of immortality and a personal journal of the path from creationist to scientist. It was West who announced that through somatic cell nuclear transfer they could create embryonic stem cells.

Gone Tomorrow (Heather Rogers). Americans produce the most waste of any people on Earth, but few of us ever think about where all that trash goes. Rogers endeavors to show the inner workings of the waste stream, from the garbage truck to the landfill, incinerator or parts unknown.

Parasite Rex (Carl Zimmer). From tapeworms to isopods to ichneumon wasps, "parasites are complex, highly adapted creatures that are at the heart of the story of life."

Survival of the Sickest Sharon Moalem). Addresses a number of provocative questions, such as why debilitating hereditary diseases persist in humans and why we suffer from the consequences of aging.

Level: Hard

Guns, Germs, Steel (Jared Diamond). Through the lens of an evolutionary biologist, Diamond reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes the movements of peoples and ideas.

Head Cases (Michael Paul Mason). This book takes us into the dark side of the brain in an astonishing sequence of stories, at once true and strange, from the world of brain injury.

Ghost Map (Steven Johnson). On August 28, 1854, working-class Londoner Sarah Lewis tossed a bucket of soiled water into the cesspool of her squalid apartment building and triggered the deadliest outbreak of cholera in the city's history.

The Origin of Species (Charles Darwin). One of the most important and influential books ever written, it is one of the very few groundbreaking works of science that is truly readable.

Plague Time (Paul Ewald). Ewald argues that cancer, heart disease, and arthritis are not necessarily caused by a breakdown of the human body, but by the action of infectious agents and by the immune response to those agents.

Primal Teen (Barbara Strauch). The latest research, including brain scans that show changes in the brain's structure and function that could explain the crazy behavior exhibited by teens.

The Seven Daughters of Eve (Bryan Sykes). Decoding mitochondrial DNA and using this knowledge to trace the path of human evolution, Sykes relates personal and historical anecdotes, offering familiar ground from which to consider the science.

The Family That Couldn’t Sleep (T.D. Max). The case of an Italian family whose members succumb to a sleeping disorder that causes not only insomnia but certain death. The cause of this disease is determined to be prions—infectious agents derived from proteins.

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Neil Shubin). Why do we look the way we do?  What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly?  Are breasts, sweat glands and scales connected in some way?  To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today’s most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish.

Scavenger Hunt Extra Credit List

Each of the items listed below will earn 1 extra credit class work point.  Follow the Scavenger Hunt guidelines explained in the Extra Credit  Opportunities packet.

The following rules apply to the Scavenger Hunt and should be followed throughout the collecting:


Please take care in NOT DESTROYING any habitats as you collect or visit.


Plants that have red spots or red areas on the stem or leaf may be poisonous-DO NOT TOUCH!


Collect specimens carefully.  Do not remove any item from the habitat in which it is found.  That means you must take your picture in the field, not bring the item home with you to photograph.   However, some items may be found in your home, in which case it is OK to photograph them there.


A photograph of you with an item from the list can only count once.  For example, if you take a picture with a mushroom, that picture can be used for either MUSHROOM or FUNGUS, but not both.


When photographing, you may want to keep a written index of what items are shown in which photograph for later reference.


You may work with your friends, lab partners, parents or siblings, but you'll have to do your research beforehand -- use your book, internet or library references to determine what the specimen is and where to find it!


¶Each extra credit option is worth specified points toward your final semester grade.

¶All extra credit assignments are due no later than the Friday before the end of the semester (Semester 1: December 9th and Semester 2: May 18th).

¶You may turn in extra credit early anytime during the semester, however NO extra credit will be accepted late.

¶You may earn a maximum of 60 points extra credit per semester (this includes unused restroom passes and bucks).

¶All extra credit will be added to the grade book at the end of the semester.

Things to Make you go Hmmm….

5 pts—Brain Busters: go to our class website and click on “Brain Busters.”

10 pts—Crossword Puzzle: Create a crossword puzzle using a minimum of twenty terms from the current unit we are studying. Write clues to solve your puzzle and include a key! Please use the crossword puzzle handout provided.

15 pts—Children’s Book: Write a short story on the science topic or unit we are currently learning. Make sure to include a book cover, author, illustrations, vocabulary and page numbers. 5 page minimum.

30 pts—Science in the News: Find a science news topic (newspaper or television) that relates to the current unit we are studying. Describe the: Who? What? Where? When? Why and How? of the article/television show, important vocabulary terms and your opinion of the topic. Please follow the Science in the News handout provided.

30 pts—Design a Science game: Design a game you would like to play in class to help students learn or review key concepts in the course. The format can be based on an existing game (e.g., Monopoly, Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Cranium), or your own idea. Create actual questions, answers, rules for the game and any other materials needed (i.e. game board). The game should theoretically take 20-30 minutes to play. Please follow Science Game Rubric provided.

50pts—Visit a Science Museum, Aquarium or Zoo: Go visit a science museum, aquarium or zoo. Pick one of the exhibits inside the museum and write a detailed summary about the exhibit and the science that you learned. The review should be at least 2 pages long double spaced. Submit a ticket stub or brochure from the museum with your report. 

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