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AP Biology is college-level biology. This course is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory biology course and lab usually taken in the first year of college. AP Biology is taught as preparation to take the AP exam in May. The main point of taking AP Biology is to concentrate on the mastery of the courses’ main objectives. Students are responsible for being prepared for class each day. It is important to be present in class each day due to the amount of information that is covered in 2 periods.
AP Biology is the study of living systems. This includes everything from the molecules that make up cells, to the way entire organisms and ecosystems work. There is nothing more fascinating than studying life. Throughout the course, you will become familiar with major recurring ideas that persist throughout all topics and material. The 4 big ideas are:
- 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.
The AP Biology course will also focus on seven main science practices. A practice is a way to coordinate knowledge and skills in order to accomplish a goal or task. The science practices enable students to establish lines of evidence and use them to develop and refine testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena. These science practices capture important aspects of the work that scientists engage in, at the level of competence expected of AP Biology students. The following are the 7 science practices all AP Biology students will master:
- SP One: The student can use representations and models in communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.
- SP Two: The student can use mathematics appropriately.
- SP Three: The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.
- SP Four: The student can plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.
- SP Five: The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.
- SP Six: The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.
- SP Seven: The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains.
To successfully complete the course and meet all of the required objectives, you will need to do independent work on your own at home. It will not replace classroom instruction or labs. It is to ensure all material is covered, as we do not have enough time allotted to cover every single topic in AP Biology. During the school year, you will be reading chapters in the book and taking some of your own notes to supplement notes taken in class. Students that usually do well in the course have to put in a lot of time and effort. In this class you will be assessed on your understanding of the material, not just your ability to memorize. You will have to think, read, write, and develop models to describe common sets of ideas. Many times you will not necessarily be told how to think about something. Rather, you will be empowered with the tools to construct meaning of the concepts in your own minds. While we will help you through this process as much as possible, it is possible that you take ownership of your learning. In order to succeed in AP Biology, please read the following requirements for this course:
- A desire to learn about the biological world and an open mind to scientific exploration.
- At least 1 hour of homework per night
- The ability to keep an organized notebook and be an independent learner.
- The ability to complete all lab activities and writing essays.
- The ability to keep up with your assignment schedule. This includes doing readings before the topic is lectured and turning in assignments on due dates. This also includes keeping up with the material missed during absences. Attendance is key to success in AP Biology.