I’ve been asked if I would post my AP Biology Syllabus, so for what it’s worth, here it is. I’m rather detailed in it – it helps the students see where they’re going but more importantly keeps me to the pace I find I need to maintain in order for them to be ready for the test in May (and helps to make up for my poor memory). By the way, what I’ve attached here is what I call my teacher edition of the syllabus. It contains details I don’t include in the students’ version – like exactly which essay it is they will be writing and when I plan to order flies, etc.
AP Biology Syllabus – Teacher Edition
I start out working deeply in the concepts and use the 7th edition of Campbell’s Biology for this. However, just before the end of the semester as I’m moving into molecular genetics and biotechnology, I switch to Campbell’s Concepts and Connections. I feel lucky to have access to copies of both books for my students due to the fact that our school separates AP Biology from our dual enrollment College Biology course (AP students still have the option of dual enrollment in addition to taking the AP exam). Finally as we near the finish line (the AP exam) in late April, I switch to Cliff’s AP Biology exam prep book, which we cover in its entirety. This helps us review and fill in a few gaps.
You will note we generally do quizzes and exams on weekends via Blackboard. I do this to free class time for learning. I also usually schedule 6-8 lab sessions on weekends through the year. Anyone who wants to know more about either of these can feel free to contact me – via this blog or directly via my email listed on the syllabus.
As you all know, the challenge with AP is teaching the students enough material while at the same time doing enough labs and critical thinking activities to help them build the confidence, skills, and knowledge to be successful on the exam. I also want to do this while nurturing their love of biology. Putting them under so much pressure that they leave hating biology or science would be a huge failure in my mind. This is my ninth year teaching AP Biology and I’ve been a reader of the exams the last two years. My students have very good success on the exams (usually averaging around 4 with ALL students in the class taking the exam) but I’m always tweaking my schedule and approach, striving to maintain and improve.