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South High AP Biology 2010-11. With Mrs. Wernet Room 132. South High AP Biology 2010-11. With Mrs. Wernet Room 132. South High AP Biology 2010-11. With Mrs. Wernet Room 132. South High AP Biology 2010-11. With Mrs. Wernet Room 132. Course Overview.

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South High AP Biology 2010-11

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South High AP Biology 2010-11

With Mrs. Wernet

Room 132

South High AP Biology 2010-11

With Mrs. Wernet

Room 132

South High AP Biology 2010-11

With Mrs. Wernet

Room 132

South High AP Biology 2010-11

With Mrs. Wernet

Room 132

Course Overview

AP Biology is designed to be equivalent to a two-semester college introductory course usually taken by biology majors during their first year. Our AP Biology course conforms to the standards instituted by the College Board for all AP courses and covers all of the topics in the AP Biology Course Description. AP Biology will meet five days a week for 45-minute class periods. In addition, Tuesday, Thursday and every other Friday will be double periods.


There are two major goals of AP Biology:

(1) to enable you to develop a real understanding of the principal concepts in biology and (2) to experience science as a process of problem solving and discovery.

The primary emphasis in AP Biology is on developing an understanding of the basic concepts rather than memorizing terms and technical details. Essential to this conceptual understanding are:

  • a grasp of science as process rather than an accumulation of facts;

  • personal experience in scientific inquiry;

  • recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and

  • application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.


Themes, topics, and concepts all give structure to the AP Biology course.

  • In this course, themes are defined as overarching features of biology that apply throughout the curriculum.

  • Topics are the subject areas in biology.

  • And concepts are the most important ideas that form our current understanding of a particular topic.

The eight major THEMES that recur throughout the course are:

  • Science as Process - Science is a way of knowing. It can involve a discovery process using inductive reasoning, or it can be a process of hypothesis testing.

  • Evolution - Evolution is the biological change of organisms that occurs over time and is driven by the process of natural selection. Evolution accounts for the diversity of life on Earth.

  • Energy Transfer - Energy is the capacity to do work. All living organisms are active (living) because of their abilities to link energy reactions to the biochemical reactions that take place within their cells.

  • Continuity and Change - All species tend to maintain themselves from generation to generation using the same genetic code. However, there are genetic mechanisms that lead to change over time, or evolution.

  • Relationship of Structure to Function - The structural levels from molecules to organisms ensure successful functioning in al living organisms and living systems.

  • Regulation - Everything from cells to organisms to ecosystems is in a state of dynamic balance that must be controlled by positive and negative feedback mechanisms.

  • Interdependence in Nature - Living organisms rarely exist alone in nature. Organisms are dependent upon other organisms to meet their needs.

  • Science, Technology, and Society - Scientific research often leads to technological advances that can have positive and/or negative impacts upon society as a whole.

This list of biological themes is not absolute; some people might find a shorter or longer list more useful.

There is consensus among biologists, however, as to the core theme of biology: It is evolution.

Evolution is the common thread that links everything together, and thus evolution is emphasized in every unit.

To quote one of the founders of modern evolutionary theory, Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

The eight themes listed will help us unify the major topics we will cover in this course.

For example, the theme of energy transfer will help us connect topics as diverse as cellular respiration and ecosystem dynamics.

An outline of the major TOPICS we will cover in AP Biology.

The percentages listed are roughly equivalent to how much time we will spend during the year on these topics, as well as, the emphasis they are given on the AP Exam in May.

Please note that we will study these topics in a different sequence than listed.

(See the course planner the packet for the actual sequence our class will follow.)

Laboratory Component

Working in pairs, you will complete all 12 of the labs in the AP Biology Lab Manual for Students.

In addition, we will complete further laboratory investigations drawn from a variety of sources.

This requires a minimum of one day out of every four be devoted to lab work.

Prior to each lab, you must successfully complete a pre-lab assignment.

This will typically mean either taking a pre-lab quiz, writing up a lab abstract, developing a lab design diagram, creating a procedural flow chart, or some combination of the previous items.

You will NOT be allowed to work in the lab if you fail to complete the pre-lab assignments!

You will also be assigned to serve as a lab aide two to three times during the year.

This requires you to be involved in the set up and tear down of several of the labs for class.

Serving as a lab aid provides you the experience of preparing solutions, learning what various types of lab equipment are and how they are used, and learning how to culture various types of organisms.

Labs are generally completed in two 45-minute periods.

Thus You must be thoroughly prepared before coming to lab in order to make the most efficient use of their time.

Students will be required to keep a permanent-bound laboratory notebook.

For the typical lab, You will record in their notebooks their pre-lab assignment(s), their hypothesis, their data and observations for their investigation, graphic representations of their data, an analysis, conclusion, limitations, and recommendations.

Post lab activities may include:

(1) formal lab reports which include a title, introduction and background information, purpose, hypothesis, procedure, data and results, analysis, conclusion, limitations, and recommendations;

(2) Informal lab reports that only require certain components of the formal lab report. For example, the informal report might focus only on analysis and conclusion, while another informal report may focus only on presentation of data, charts, and graphs;

(3) Oral presentation of a You results are presented to the class in a mini symposium using charts, graphs, and other visual media;

(4) for some of the AP labs you will complete the graphs and questions from the AP Lab Manual;

(5) A lab practical or exam that tests you on their laboratory skills.

At least one of the listed activities will be used for each lab we do.

The laboratory program follows the objectives outlined by the AP Biology Lab Manual for Students. In addition to the specific objective for each lab, the labs are designed to help you learn how to: 

  • understand problems;

  • develop hypotheses;

  • design and implement controlled experiments;

  • identify independent and dependent variables;

  • record data and observations properly;

  • analyze data;

  • draw conclusions;

  • think analytically;

  • communicate results with appropriate data tables and graphs; and

  • use the correct form and content when writing a lab report.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your laboratory notebook may make the difference between receiving and not receiving lab credit at the college of your choice, regardless of your grade on the AP Exam. Thus meticulous attention should be paid to the keeping of your laboratory notebook.

Teaching Strategies

 In general, when we are not doing the labs and activities described in this syllabus, I will be lecturing or holding a class discussion.

I expect you will spend an hour a night (or 3-5 hours on the weekend) reading, taking notes on the textbook, and completing the reading guides and internet activities according to the syllabus.

Materials for Class

You will need to purchase and/or bring to class on a daily basis the following items:

  • 2” Binder

  • A set of 8 dividers with tabs

  • Laboratory Notebook (composition or theme book)

  • A Scientific Calculator (not to be used on tests)

  • Black or blue ink pens to be used for ALL laboratory notebook entries

  • A set of colored pencils may be helpful when working with and creating diagrams.

Listed below are some selected strategies I plan to use with AP Biology.

  • Lecture & Discussion

  • Reading Guides & Lecture outlines

  • Unit Syllabi & Course Schedule

  • Themes of Biology Chart

  • Supplemental Readings

  • Tutorial Sessions

  • Independent Reading Topics

Textbook & Supplemental Resources

Campbell, Neil A., Jane B. Reece, Lisa Urry, Michael L. Cain, Steven A. Wasserman, Peter V. Minorsky, and Robert b. Jackson. Biology, 8th Edition / AP Edition. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings (Pearson Education, Inc.). 2008.

Heitz, Jean, Cynthia Giffin. Practicing Biology, 3rd Edition. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings (Pearson Education, Inc.). 2008.

Holtzclaw, Fred W., Theresa Knapp Hotzclaw. Pearson Education AP Test Prep Series: AP Biology. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings (Pearson Education, Inc.). 2008.

Taylor, Marthar R. Student Study Guide for Campbell Biology, 8th Edition. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings (Pearson Education, Inc.). 2008.

The College Board, Advanced Placement Program. AP Biology Lab Manualfor Students. 2001.

Morgan, Judith G., M. Eloise Brown Carter. Investigating Biology Laboratory Manual, 6th Edition. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings (Pearson Education, Inc.) 2008.

Student Evaluation

Students are evaluated on their performance on the unit exams, quizzes, laboratory notebooks, lab reports, projects, homework, and the practice AP exams they complete.

I assign a certain number of points for each assignment you complete for credit.

Your final grade is earned by the percentage of the total points earned during the term.


The AP Biology Exam is on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM. Students who take AP Biology must take the AP Biology Exam.

A grade of 3 or higher will save many you time and money in college, depending on their desired degree field.

The AP Biology Exam is three hours in length and is designed to measure a your knowledge and understanding of modern biology.

The exam consists of an 80-minute, 100-item multiple choice section, which examines the your understanding of representative content and concepts drawn from across the entire course; a 10-minute reading period; and a 90-minute free response section, consisting of four mandatory questions that encompass broader topics.

Internet Tasks

  • Go to the Campbell Textbook site (there is a link on our AP Bio web page)

    • Register yourself

      • Use the registration code: SSNAST-FROMM-SUBIC-HONAN-STAIR-CHASE

      • You will be able to select your own log-in name and password

    • Login to the website and then you MUST register for your correct class.

      • Class code: cm621076

  • This site contains:

    • An online edition of the textbook

    • Many activities, tutorials, podcasts, videos, and animations to support our learning

    • Many of your homework assignments will be completed online and submitted online – YOU MUST HAVE CREATED AN ACCOUNT TO DO THIS!

    • If you lack home access to the internet, some assignments can be completed using the disc provided with your book. However some assignments must use internet access and you will have to plan time to use the computers in the library or Mrs. Wernet’s classroom.

  • Familiarize yourself with the LabBench website (there is a link on our AP Bio web page)

    • This site will be used as part of your pre-lab assignments for each of the 12 AP labs.

    • You will be required to complete the pre-lab quiz prior to conducting each AP lab. Unfortunately, you cannot electronically submit your results for this quiz online, thus you will need to print your results at home and bring them to class the next day. OR print as a PDF and Email to me!

The number of multiple choice questions taken from each major subject area of biology reflects the approximate percentages of the course as designated in the course description on page 2 of this syllabus.

In the free-response portion of the exam, usually one question is taken from Molecules and Cells, one is taken from Heredity and Evolution, one question is taken from Organisms and Populations, and one question focuses on the 12 AP labs.

Any of these four questions may require the you to analyze and interpret data or information drawn from the laboratory experience, as well as from lecture material, and may require you to integrate material from different subject areas of the course.

Ready or Not, here comes SCIENCE!

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