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
edition of Neil Campbell and Jane
B. Reece’s Biology with the 7
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