Life Science 1: Zoology

From: $80.00 / month for 5 months

Grades:  6th–8th

Class (Sec 1):  Mon 1:00–2:00 p.m. ET

Class (Sec 2):  Tue 11:00–12:00 pm ET

Dates (1st Sem):  Aug 26–Dec 20, 2024

Prepaid:  $349

Instructor:  Dr. Karen Joseph

See an example of Karen’s middle school classes

See Reviews of Instructor Dr. Karen Joseph


Course Description

See Reviews of Instructor Dr. Karen Joseph

View Syllabus

This is a one-semester life science zoology course for students in 6th-8th grades. Fifth graders will be considered with prior instructor approval. When combined with Life Science 2: Botany and Human Biology (second semester), these courses, which both include a lab component, will provide one middle school science credit. These two one-semester courses can be taken as a full-year course: Life Science 1 and 2 for a reduced rate.

Do you love animals and want to know more about them? If so, this is the course for you. Did you know that the loudest animal on earth is a shrimp? Or that the Portuguese Man-of-War is not a single animal but a colony of many animals? Or that some mammals lay eggs? Or that some kangaroos spend most of the time up in the treetops?

There is so much to learn about the animal kingdom. We’ll use an amazing book, teacher-created lessons, lots of videos, audio recordings, games, and activities to gain an understanding of how to interact with the other living things that share this planet with us. This course begins with a discussion of the characteristics all animals share, the ways animals are classified, animal behavior, and life cycles. Then we will study the classes in Kingdom Animalia, including invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The final topics include habitats and conservation.

Course Structure

A typical week contains one 1-hour live Zoom class and 4 daily lessons. The live classes may include game-based reviews of topics from the previous week, an introduction to the coming week, and/or a case study that brings the current topic to life. Although it is always best if students attend the live classes, I will post the recording of the class so that students who can’t attend can watch it later.

The daily lessons will include an online introduction as well as a section to read in the book Animal. I use many audio and video recordings to help students learn the correct pronunciation of new terms as well as to reinforce content from the book.

Since this course can be used as ½ credit of life science, a few additional writing assignments and projects may be given to students in grades 7 and 8.

Who should enroll?

Life Science 1: Zoology is for curious students in grades 6–8 (and pre-approved 5th graders) who have a strong desire to understand how and why different animals are designed and behave, and to learn how animals interact with humans, other animals, and their environments.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Headset and microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures

Evaluation and Feedback

I use “learning checks” at the end of most lessons to assure both the student and teacher that students understand the concepts presented in the lessons. Many of the learning checks are automatically graded by the computer. For the essay questions and projects, I generally grade every day, sending feedback to the students to help them understand questions they may have missed. A final grade will be based on the scores from learning checks, participation in activities and experiments, and attendance and participation in live classes. A Certificate of Completion with the final grade will be given at the end of the course.


I welcome any and all communication from parents. It is my goal to partner with you in your student’s education, so if at any time you have questions or concerns, my virtual door is open.

Required Texts


  • Animal: The Definitive Visual Guide to the World’s Wildlife, ISBN 13: 978-1465464101, ISBN 10: 9781465464101
  • Some supplies will be needed for experiments and activities. These will all be inexpensive items that are found in most kitchens or supermarkets. Estimated cost is between $10 and $30.

16 reviews for Life Science 1: Zoology

  1. Daisy R.

    I’m learning a lot in this class so far. It makes learning science really fun!

  2. Veronica I.

    I find such joy in seeing my daughter excited for her class. This class has far exceeded my expectations. It’s engaging, fun and Dr. Joseph knows how to connect with her students.

  3. Jen L.

    Dr. Joseph is a fantastic teacher. My daughter’s favorite class.

  4. Tara O.

    My expectations have been exceeded in the quality and variety of assignments.

  5. Sally Hinton

    In general, my daughter really loved this class and very much enjoyed learning about the many different types of animals. She is passionate about about animals and nature. The expectations were clear. My daughter felt having daily assignments was VERY helpful. She sometimes has difficulty with staying on track and gets distracted easily so having a daily reason to log on and complete work really helped her with
    time management. She also is in favor of having the occasional test for the same reason. She also felt the lesson time, projects, and writing assignments were just the right amount of work.
    I think the instructor did a great job and I have no negative comments or really ANY constructive criticism or suggestions. I considered this a “fun” class which is awesome as the class was informative as well as holding your attention. I highly recommend this class!

  6. Michelle

    Dr. Joseph’s Zoology class is a thorough, organized introduction to the topic. The book is a beautiful and informative text you’ll want to hang on to! Dr. Joseph is kind and encouraging, gives frequent and useful feedback and tries to get to know her students. The grade level is about right: perhaps a little on the light side for older students, but it was just what we were looking for this year. I would recommend this class!

  7. Noelani Velasco

    This class was fun and very interesting. Dr. Joseph did a great job on teaching the content and the activities she provided were helpful too. I learned a lot more info about animals and ones I didn’t know about, and how their anatomy functions. All in all, I would highly recommend this class if you are interested and want to learn more about animals.

  8. T. H.

    You teach in such a way that makes the complicated material easier to understand and FUN!

  9. T. H.

    Your class content and videos are superb – my son often calls me over to watch with him (and I love how you emphasize detailed answers and complete sentences – he told me you want him to capitalize just like I do!)

  10. A.K.

    Dr. Joseph has helped me improve as a student by making her lessons very interesting and always being open to questions. She makes science come alive she always encourages me to think. She says questions lead to learning, so I should never stop questioning. When we had a lesson where the book contradicted the popular thought about something, Dr. Joseph went way above and beyond to research this topic and explain to me all the myriad complexities of the issue. It was fascinating. I really appreciated her effort. Not many teachers would have gone so far to satisfy the curiosity of one student.

  11. K. W.

    Dr. Joseph has made learning such a fun and enjoyable experience for me this year. She uses her creativity to make the lessons more understandable and fun. I am really enjoying her class this year! She makes videos of experiments she’s performed, she uses pictures and diagrams to give us a visual of what she’s teaching, and she is always there and willing to help.

  12. A. G.

    Dr. Joseph always encourages me and tells me what I’m doing well. I started school late and had to make up a lot of work. Because of her encouraging me and always telling me to do my best, I got everything completed and was caught up with my class in less than 2 weeks. She shows us lots of videos that are found online or she will make videos for experiments. She also had us do a lot of creative activities.

  13. T.H.

    Dr. Joseph is one of the better teachers I have had this year. She was very thorough with her lessons and she knows what she’s talking about. She always tries to include humor in her lessons. She’s very responsive to what we have to say or if we have any concerns. She was just an all-around good teacher.

  14. P. S.

    Dr. Joseph is my human anatomy and physiology teacher, and I honestly have to say that it is one of my favorite classes. I have learned so much, and I continue to learn from her lessons each day. Her teaching abilities are great, and the style she uses makes me understand the lesson. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t walk around the house stating “did you know” facts that I learned in her class. She brings a completely new meaning to “you learn something new everyday.” She has made a huge difference in my life. I think the main reason I like this class is because of who she is. Anyone can teach me the exact same lessons. But she makes me want to learn those lessons and want to explore them on my own. You may not want to learn, but I guarantee that Dr. Joseph will teach you in a way that you have not seen before.

  15. S. P.

    Dr. Joseph has helped me improve as a student by asking insightful questions. She asks questions that make you apply what you have just learned to real life situations and her questions make you think through what you have learned. When she teaches she doesn’t just give lectures. Instead she has interesting projects, she explains everything thoroughly, makes connections, and even videotapes herself performing lab experiments. She has opened my eyes to the world of the human body. Through her teaching I’m realizing that the human body is very complex and intricate. This realization has brought me to an appreciation for how our bodies function.

  16. A. N.

    Dr. Joseph congratulates you when you succeed and helps you to understand when you don’t. Dr. Joseph cares about each of her students and is open to discussions about things we agree or disagree on. Dr Joseph is willing, helpful, and kind-hearted.

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Instructor Bio

Dr. Karen Joseph

Dr. Karen Joseph earned her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic. After working for several years, she began homeschooling her 3 children in 1989.  As a homeschooling mom, she has taught every subject at every grade level, but her favorite subject is science!  She taught science classes, ranging from Middle School Life Science and Earth Science to High School Biology to Honors Human Anatomy and Physiology at a Pennsylvania Public Cyber Charter School for 12 years. She was the recipient of the 2009 Pennsylvania Charter School Teacher of the Year. Contact: kjoseph[at]


All classes taught by Karen Joseph