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    AP Biology: Course Description and Information

    AP Biology 2013 – 2014

     

    Text: Biology, by Campbell

     

    Course Description

    This course follows the curriculum designated by The College Board.  It is built around a new framework that organizes biology into four big ideas:

     

    Big Idea 1: The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.

    Big Idea 2: Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.

    Big Idea 3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes.

    Big Idea 4: Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.

    These big ideas are supported by concepts called “enduring understandings” which are explained by content requirements designated “essential knowledge.” 

     

    Advanced Placement Biology is the equivalent of a two-semester college introductory biology course. Students are asked to integrate detailed information regarding biological processes into broader thematic schemes.  Students will develop analytical and laboratory skills necessary to investigate modern biology issues.  Topics include molecular and cellular biology, heredity and evolution, and biologic diversity and populations.  The range and depth covered, and the type of laboratory work required of students differs significantly from a typical high school biology course.  The course is very demanding and fast-paced, requiring the student to work independently and thoroughly during and especially, outside of class. An enormous amount of technical reading, self-guided note taking and self-assessment is required. Writing is also an essential component of the course.  Testing is rigorous and will cover large amounts of material.  Material will be delivered through online lecture, traditional lecture, small group discussions, and hands-on labs.  Ancillary materials will be given to help facilitate greater understanding of difficult topics.  Students will be evaluated with frequent short quizzes, take home essays, lab reports and major tests.  It is important that students minimize absences from class.  Students successfully completing this course should have a working knowledge of biology at a collegiate level and be prepared to take The College Board’s AP Biology Examination.

     

    All tests will reflect the format of the AP examination. Students will sit for a mock AP exam at the end of each trimester.  Although students are not required to take the AP exam, they are strongly encouraged to do so. If a student decides to not take the AP exam he/she will be required to take a final exam during the regular exam period. 

     

    Outside class time may be scheduled for completion of labs, AP preparation, and remediation.
     

     Course Objectives

    1.    To successfully complete an introductory college biology curriculum by providing the framework for students to connect supporting knowledge to explain broad based themes.

    2.    To encourage students to work independently and collectively to research and integrate new understandings of biology topics.

    3.    To foster critical thinking skills to develop questions, design experiments and interpret and draw conclusions based on data.

    4.    To engage in college level laboratory experiences and report formally on the process and results.

    5.    To prepare students to excel on the AP Biology Examination

     

    Abbreviated Course Outline:      

    Preface – An Introduction to the Four Big Ideas

    Unit I: From Molecules to Life

    Unit II: Storing, Converting, and Releasing Free Energy

    Unit III: Continuity of Life

    Unit IV: Evolution – concepts and process

    Unit V: Evolutionary Trends and Adaptations: Unity and Diversity

    Unit VI: Plant Homeostasis and Reproduction

    Unit VII: Animal Homeostasis

    Unit VIII: Ecology and Behavior

    Unit IX: Cellular Regulation, Epigenetics, and Gene Control

    Unit X: Genomics and DNA Tech

    Review

     

    GRADING:                                          Tests                                                    40%

                                                                  Quizzes                                               30%

                                                                  Labs/Projects/Daily Work*                30%

                                                                   

    Exam                                                     20%

    *Daily work includes – homework, reflections, web posts, class participation, etc.

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