Welcome to the 2019-20 school year at Remsen Central School. I look forward to sharing the school year with you. On this page you will find the course syllabus, which includes the content that will be covered in the course, as well as class expectations. Please continue to check the classroom calendar below for QODs and upcoming classroom assignments and exams.
Course Description: AP Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a first-year college biology course. It prepares students for their succeeding college biology requirements. Upon successful completion of the course and qualification on the AP Exam, students may be able to receive college credit for the course and bypass a full year of college introductory biology. This course differs vastly from Living Environment with respect to the range (and depth) of topics covered, the kind and complexity of laboratory activities, and the time and effort required of students.
Course Content: AP Biology is broken down into four “BIG IDEAS”:
BIG IDEA #1: The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.
(In other words: Evolution, Darwin, and similarities/differences between organisms)
BIG IDEA #2: Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic equilibrium.
(In other words: Photosynthesis, respiration, and homeostasis at a cellular and organ system level)
BIG IDEA #3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and response to information essential to life processes.
(In other words: Genetics, genetics, genetics…and some other things too)
BIG IDEA #4: Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.
(In other words: This ranges from molecules interacting to interactions in an ecosystem)
(BIG IDEA 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 100% AWESOME!)
The “Deal” with the AP Biology Exam:
Unlike Regents exams, which are taken and graded in June, the AP exam is offered in early May. This is because the exam is a nation-wide test that students from all over the country take. Since many schools in America are dismissed in mid-to-late-May, the exam has to be available while ALL students are still in session. This is unfortunate for us in New York State because, compared to other areas in the country; we begin classes later in the year and, therefore, have less time to prepare for the exam.
- Starting in 2012-2013, the AP exam has drastically changed. The exam is still a 3-hour exam that consists of a mixture of writing and multiple-choice questions. Whereas the old exam was 100 multiple-choice and 4 long essays. It is now about 70 multiple choice questions, 2 longer essays, and 6 shorter written questions.
- To stay in this course, all students must pay for and ultimately take the AP exam.
Your AP Biology grade will be calculated as follows:
Tests and Quizzes (70% of quarter grade)
The number of tests and quizzes will be different each quarter. As the length of a topic will vary, so will the number of exams per quarter. Although quizzes may vary in terms of style (multiple-choice, true/false, matching), the structure of the unit tests will be more consistent.
In this course, larger unit tests will be modeled after (but not identical to) the AP exam. My tests will blend straight forward multiple-choice questions (that are seen in college classrooms), reading-based multiple-choice questions (seen on the AP exam), and essay-like Free Response Questions (that you’ll see on the AP exam…and probably college too). At the year’s end, you will be much more comfortable with the wording and style of AP questions and you’ll still have the familiarity of a college exam.
When it comes to making up a test or a quiz, I WILL NOT chase you down. You need to approach me as to when you can do it. Make-up exams will differ from the original exam and need to be made up within one week!
In this class, homework will vary in both style and frequency of assignments given. Like other classes, you can expect the typical “teacher worksheets,” that review current material. You can also expect online assignments. However, I am a firm believer of keeping students on their toes…
On evenings in which you do not have an assignment, you should be spending at least 15-20 minutes reviewing the notes on the current chapter. You should also be reading the chapters in the textbook as well. Since I adhere strongly to this notion, you should expect class to occasionally begin with a closed-book assignment consisting of only a few questions. The questions on these “bell-ringer” assignments may be on current or recent material and a small amount of class time will be allotted to complete this assignment. These assignments can not be made up. They stress the two most important parts of any college-level course; attendance and staying current with course material. Despite the type of assignment given, a correct, neat, and completed assignment you will get 5 points.
Like most science courses you have taken, AP Biology has a lab component in which various experiments are performed. In this course, there are 13 labs that are required for the AP exam (questions about these labs appear frequently on the exam). Labs will be graded on a fluctuating point system. Labs that are longer and more detailed will be worth more than simpler labs that reinforce fewer key concepts. On occasion, there may be formal lab reports due for certain labs. Labs are always fair game on quizzes and tests. Due dates for labs will be clearly outlined for you during the course of the year. Any lab turned in late can only receive a maximum of half-credit.
“Bio-bucks” work quite simply. I will give you assignments during the week (or weekend) that will count only as extra-credit. On the day that they are due, I will award “Bio-bucks” to students who have completed the assignments. 4 bucks = 1 point added to any quiz or test (not your overall average). It is your job to keep track of these bucks and I will collect them at the end of each quarter. Bucks may not be begged for, traded, or purchased.
- 3-Ring Binder
- Loose Leaf Paper (not much)
If you ever need extra help or have any questions, I am available most days after school Monday through Thursday. Please feel free to stop by. However, showing up after school the day before an exam is a gamble to say the least. Like most teachers, I occasionally have meetings, appointments, or other events that prevent me from being available. Plan ahead and check in regularly, particularly if you feel uncertain about a topic.
- Although the AP exam is months away, purchasing a review book now would be a wise investment. You’ll need one eventually and it will make a wonderful study guide. You might as well get your money’s worth.
- Read your book. In college, the rule is to read the chapter three times. Once before it is taught, once while it is being taught, and once before the exam. Although this may not be conducive to your busy schedule, reading the chapter at least once will be beneficial.
Rewards for Inappropriate Behavior:
1.) After school detention with me/parent notified
2.) Counselor/Assistant Principal intervention
3.) Principal Intervention
WHAT I AM STRICT ON:
- Tardiness (see Student-Parent Handbook)
- Cellular Telephones and iPods (see Student-Parent Handbook)