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Biology with MasteringBiology™ (8th Edition)

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1 AP Biology Course Syllabus Introduction and Course Overview The Advanced Placement Biology Course at Glen A. Wilson High School is a one year in depth and challenging course developed to be equivalent to a college introductory course taken by biology majors. In that respect we try to help students develop independent, self-learning strategies, which include time management and independent lab and literature research. We want to prepare them for the demands of a college career. We also align the course with AP topics and the 8 major themes of AP Biology. The course was developed with the assistance of previous AP instructors at Wilson High School and in consultation with instructors from other schools in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. The topics covered are those recommended by the AP Development Committee, which include – I. Molecules and Cells (Chemistry of Life, Cells, Cellular Energetics); II. Heredity and Evolution (Heredity, Molecular Genetics, Evolutionary Biology); III. Organisms and Populations (Diversity of Organisms, Structure and Function of Plants and Animals, Ecology. Despite the tremendous amount of factual material, we want the students to appreciate and understand the delicate balances and interactions that allow life to exist. We emphasize the “process” of science and change. This understanding ties the facts together in a meaningful manner. The eight major themes are very helpful in exploring these relationships: Science as a Process, Evolution, Energy Transfer, Continuity and Change, Relationship of structure to function, Regulation, Interdependence in nature, Science, Technology, and society. This year we are fortunate to have replaced the 4 th edition of Neil Campbell and Jane B. Reece’s Biology with the 7 th edition. This book is designated the “AP Edition”and has been extremely helpful. We are very impressed with the authors’ dedication to provide the “facts” in a thematic framework. For that reason we have decided to teach the topics for the most part according to the sequence of the text with the help of the “AP Topic Correlation” and the “AP Biology Thematic Study Grid”. However, we do not follow the sequence exactly, altering it or skipping chapters at times. Reading this text is an important component of a student’s success in the course. A variety of activities are employed to engage the students. These activities include lectures, discussions, collaborative group activities, power point and oral presentations, laboratory investigations, internet research, independent research, essay writing assignments (released AP essays), unit questions, interactive computer activities, and practice AP exams. Students design experiments in which they have to explore and extend the topics in the class. The 12 AP labs are covered with the use of the Ward’s Natural Science kits. In addition, we have the corresponding interactive CDs for each lab. At least 25% of class time is spent on lab activities. AP classes are blocked before and after lunch, allowing the necessary time to conduct the labs.
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