Course Description:
This class will help you understand the integral relationships and relevance of biology in our world and prepare you to find success on the AP Biology test to receive college Biology credit. Hands-on experiences using scientific equipment and procedures will be used to help you understand some of the basic topics and theories in biology, such as biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, DNA and RNA replication, biotechnology, evolution, history of life on earth, microbiology, classification, plant and animal physiology and behavior, and ecology. The course will be structured to help you learn how apply these concepts to the four big ideas on which biology is based, the enduring understandings within the big ideas and the essential knowledge within the enduring understanding:

Big Idea #1: The process of evolution drives the diversity and unit of life;

Big Idea #2: Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis;

Big Idea #3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to the processes;

Big Idea #4: Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.

Exploring the world around us through inquiry has led to our current understanding of biology concepts. Therefore, the process of inquiry in science and developing critical thinking skills a very important part of this course. We will explore concepts utilizing the 7 science practices:

Science Practice #1: The student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.

Science Practice #2: The student can use mathematics appropriately.

Science Practice #3: The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.

Science Practice #4: The student can plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.

Science Practice #5: The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.

Science Practice #6: The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.

Science Practice #7: The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts and representations in and across domains.

These practices will be demonstrated through note taking strategies during video lectures, scientific reading and writing, demonstration analyses, interactive assignments, inquiry labs and practice problem activities.  Students will be given the opportunity to engage in student-directed laboratory investigations throughout the course for a minimum of 25% of instructional time and will conduct a minimum of eight inquiry-based investigations (two per big idea throughout the course). Short quizzes and tests will also be used to determine students' grasp of the concepts and to prepare them for the format of the AP Exam. All of these skills will help develop the students' scientific thinking to be used for the rest of their life, help prepare them to find success on the AP Biology test to receive college Biology credit, and be used for success in future college courses of Biology.

Campbell, Neil and Reece, Jane, Biology, 8th Edition, 2008, Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
We will have a set of textbooks to use in class and you will be assigned one of these textbooks which you will share with another student taking the course and that can be checked out overnight as needed throughout the school year.

Reference Materials:
Class Website
AP Biology Test Prep Book (Cliff Notes or Princeton Review highly recommended)
Bozeman Biology Videos on You Tube

Resources for Laboratory Activities and Demonstrations:
AP Biology Investigative Labs: an Inquiry Based Approach.(2012)
AP Biology Lab Manual (2001)

Other Materials needed for class:
Organization is an important part of student success in AP Biology. Students will need to bring bound lab notebook to class every day. All notes and class work will be recorded in this bound lab notebook. A second bound lab notebook will be needed for lab investigations as these will be turned in for grading. A calculator will also be needed for the computations studied in AP Biology.  Finally, a writing utensil will be needed daily, preferably a blue or black pen or a pencil.

Effective Classroom Community
I would like our classroom to become a tight community; all working together to help each other find the greatest success on the AP Biology Exam and learn the maximum amount possible during the class.  The following areas will help establish this community.

  • Lab Groups: With activities or labs being held once or twice a week for 60 minute sections, you need to chose individuals you can work with efficiently and effectively. Your lab groups will be 2-4 individuals working together to question, make hypotheses, write procedures or draw pictures to test those hypotheses, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions from the data collected. Written reports with this information will be included in your lab investigation notebook and graded.
  • Study Groups: You’ll also need to establish study groups that will exchange contact information to be able ask questions from home on an assignment or to study together before quizzes and tests. Your study group can also stay after school to work on practice tests or to do extensions of labs we do in class.
  • Individual problem discussion as a class: Finally, during each chapter, review questions from the text book and old AP Exam questions that relate to concepts being studied will be assigned and discussed as a group to increase our understanding of the concepts. These questions will not be graded but will greatly help you prepare for our quizzes, tests and eventually the AP Biology Exam in the spring.

Grading Policy:
The following grading scale will be used throughout each quarter using the total points of all your assignments. 
100-93% = A              92-90% = A-   89-87% = B+   86-83% = B        82-80% =B-  
79-77% = C+              76-73% = C     72-70% = C-   
69-67% = D+      66-60% =D

Family access is the district wide grading program where students and parents can access many important aspects of student life in the district. Current real life grades are available to view from family access during the year to determine your progress in the class. If you include an updated email address with your signature at the bottom of the questions assigned about the class website, I will send a weekly progress report to that email address.

Students will be strongly encouraged to take the AP Biology Exam in May (cost $94/exam) and success on this test will give the student college credit for the course. Students earning a 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam will receive a 1/3 grade bump that would be distributed as follows:  4 = (i.e. C+ to B-)  5 = (i.e. B to A-) Grade change requests are the responsibility of the student. Since exam results usually aren't available until summer break, student requests should be made in the form of an email to their teacher's school email account or student discussion when we return to school. The grade change will be initiated by teachers when they return to school in September. If they receive a 3 or better on the AP Biology Exam and they previously had a failing grade for the class, the student's grade for both semesters will be changed to a passing grade. If a student chooses not to take the exam, they will be required to take a practice AP Biology Exam as a final and the grade on this test will affect their final grade in a similar way as above although if they get a 1 or a 2 their grade will drop a letter grade.

Graded Assignments
Through out each unit, you will be doing assignments to help you learn the information, taking formative assessments to measure progress of that learning and then completing labs and summative assessments to determine final learning achieved. 

  • Formative Assignments will be reviewed at the beginning of the class period following the day they were assigned and a score of 1 will be entered in the grade book if they are completed correctly. A score of zero will be entered if they are not until they are completed correctly and need to be checked off on the student’s own time such as before or after school. Once a unit is completed, assignments for that unit will no longer be accepted for credit. All notes, review questions, lab reports and any other assignments for class will be recorded in our two class science notebooks.

  • Formative Quizzes will be given throughout a unit. These quizzes will be graded in class using scoring guides so students understand how they are graded with scores entered into grade book but will not count toward the students grade for the class.

  • Labs will be a very important part of your preparation for the AP test. To get the most out of each recommended lab we will be doing, students will need to come prepared for lab days with their pre-lab competed. The classroom door will be locked on lab days and only those with completed pre-labs can enter. Complete lab write ups in lab notebooks will be turned in following lab days and will be graded more extensively. All students earning less than 50% of possible points for the lab will receive and "I" (insufficient evidence) in the grade book until they re-write the lab to show they have improved their understanding of the concepts and to receive a higher grade on the lab. All students have the option to improve their scores by rewriting their original labs to show evidence of learning that was missing. 

  • Summative Unit Tests will be given after more than one chapter is completed and will include information from the multiple chapters like the AP Exam. All students wanting to improve their score on a test can come in and do test corrections with the teacher if they have completed the flash cards for the necessary chapters as well as the test review prior to taking the test. A quarter credit will then be given for missed questions that are corrected if you write out the question missed, what the actual answer should be and explain why that is the answer. These corrections must be done before the next unit test. Students who received below a 50% on a test will be given an "I" (insufficient evidence) in the grade book and will need to retake the test to receive a score. All students who get above a 50% have the option to retake the test as well. For test retakes, students must show evidence of how they have increased their learning (such as completed all formative assignments, studied review in more depth, completed additional outside studying) and then make an appointment before or after school to retake the test to improve their score.

Make up work from absences
To help students avoid getting behind, all make up work will be posted online and students need to take the responsibility for getting their own make up work from this website. Any work that can be done at home should be completed before returning to class. Work that was due on the day of an absence is due on the day you return. Appointments need to be made within one week to make up missed lab investigations, quizzes, or tests. Make ups can only be completed for excused absences. The student must make the arrangements for the make-up with the teacher as soon as they return. If a student feels they have special circumstances, write them down and have parents sign and turn them in for review to receive a due date extension.

I will be available many days before and after school for help and make up. Before school I will be available from 6:50 to 7:20am and after school I will be available until 4:00pm on Monday through Thursday each week unless I have a scheduled meeting. Please use these times efficiently!

Parent Contact
Parents should use the class website to determine what students are responsible for each day. If you have any questions please contact my school email at If students are failing at the end of a unit, a phone call home will be made to make a plan for making up the missed learning. 

Classroom Expectations:
Use POWER values daily in class J

We will be creating a social contract as a class to discuss how we each want to be treated, so that we agree on classroom standards.

The Student Handbook rules will also be enforced in our class as well as throughout the school so make sure you understand them fully.

If I see or hear food or drink, you will be asked to put them away.

Cell phone and other electronic device policy:
Now that you each have a chromebook for the school year, there should be no reason to use your cell phone in class. If you have any missing assignments, I will ask you to put your cell phone or other electronic device in the cell phone box in the front of the room as you walk in so they will not distract you from getting your missing assignments completed. If you have a valid reason to use these items in class other than stated, please ask before using them.

If any science items are broken or damaged by students, a fine will be assessed to that student to replace the items.

Discipline Procedures:
--Removal to the hallway until an appropriate time for teacher to leave to discuss behavior, if an understanding is made; student can return to class but will have to get makeup work from classmates. Prohibited items will be confiscated for the rest of the period.
--Removal from class, a phone call home to discuss situation, and letter to take responsibility for return. Prohibited items will be confiscated and turned into front office to be picked up by parents.
-- Removal from class, a phone call home to discuss situation again, and a meeting with parents, Mrs. Berwick and a counselor.
--Referral to administrator

* * * Depending on severity of violation, actions may not occur in order

I am looking forward to a great year with you and hope that we don't have to use the discipline procedures because you all we be so well behaved now that you are in high school.

Unit Course Outline:

Introduction:  Class, Text and Science Process                                                   (2 weeks)
Big Ideas: 1, 2, 3, 4

1. Introduction: Themes in the Study of Life

Topics to be discussed: Characteristics of life, Four big ideas that connect concepts of biology, Summer vocabulary photo project, Science practices that help us to explore the biological world, Statistics used in science and Various ways organisms respond to their environments.  

Science Article Topic: Importance of the Scientific Process to the Study of Life, Statistical analysis used in science

Scientific Process Critiqued Handout
AP Biology Lab 11: Animal Behavior
Analyzing Data Activity
Statistical Analysis practice problems  
Chi Square Calculations Activity


Unit 1: Energy and Chemistry of Life                                                                    (3 weeks)
Big Ideas: 1, 2, 4 

8. Introduction to Metabolism
2. Chemical Context of Life
3. Water and the Fitness of the Environment
4. Carbon and the Molecular Diversity of Life
5. Structure and Function of Large Biological Molecules

Topics to be discussed: Energy of life, Transformations of matter and energy, Free energy changes, Structure of an atom, Types of chemical bonding, Properties of water that contribute to life, Functional groups, Classification and formation of macromolecules, ATP structure and function, and Characteristics of enzymes.

Possible Science Article Topics: Water’s role in life processes, Chemicals in our body and environment, Enzymes' role in biological processes

Water Explorations  
Water Comic Strip
Preparing Solutions Lab
Build and compare functional groups and monomers  
Toothpickase Exploration  
Investigation 13: Enzyme Catalysis 


Unit 2: Cellular Structure and Function                                                                 (5 weeks)
Big Ideas: 1, 2, 3, 4 

6. A Tour of the Cell
7. Membrane Structure and Function
9. Cellular Respiration: Harvesting Chemical Energy
10. Photosynthesis
11. Cellular Communication

Topics to be discussed: The similarities and differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, Subcellular organization and compartmentalization, Fluid mosaic model of the plasma membrane, Types of cellular transport, How cells use cellular respiration to convert the chemical energy in our food to usable energy for our survival,  How plant cells use photosynthesis to convert light energy into chemical energy, and the methods cells use to communicate.

Possible Science Article Topics:  Energy drinks, Animal and Plant Interdependence, and How hormones work in our body

Comparison of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells
Make Shrinky Dink Cells of a Plant or Animal Cell
Build Fluid Mosaic Models of Membrane using various objects to symbolize parts
Cell Size Analysis
Investigation 4: Osmosis and Diffusion
Simulations of types of cellular transport various types of particles use to cross membranes.
Investigation 6: Cell Respiration
Investigation 5: Photosynthesis
Pathways with Friends: <>


Unit 3: Cellular Reproduction and DNA/RNA replication                                               (5 weeks)
Big Ideas: 1, 2, 3

12. Cell Cycle
13. Meiosis and Sexual Life Cycles
16. The Molecular Basis of Inheritance
17. From Gene to Protein

Topics to be discussed: Cell Cycle, Meiosis and Sexual Life Cycles, DNA is the genetic material (historical experiments, DNA structure and function, DNA replication), Flow of genetic information (genetic code, role of other polymers, transcription, translation) and Mutations

Possible Science Article Topics: Cancer, Human genome

Cell Cycle Chart
Mitosis and Meiosis Simulation
Investigation 7: Mitosis and Meiosis
DNA Extraction Activity
Cracking the Code of Life Video
Model DNA Structure with molecular model kits
Transcription and Translation Activity with note cards
Replication/Transcription/Translation Enzyme BINGO
Protein Synthesis Activity
Gene Mutation Table
Decode Mystery Message


Unit 4: Regulation of Genes, and Biotechnology                                                               (3 weeks)
Big Ideas: 2, 3, 4 

18. Regulation of Gene Expression
19. Viruses
20. Biotechnology

Topics to be discussed: Control of gene expression (operon systems in prokaryotes, eukaryotic gene expression, Virus structure and activity, Restriction enzymes, plasmids, transformation, DNA technology (how gel electrophoresis works and applications of this technology).

Possible Science Article Topics: Stem cell research, Cloning, Genetically modified food

Lac Operon Simulation
Read A Thing or Two About Twins, a National Geographic Article
Virus Cycles Foldable
Investigation 8: Transformation of E.coli
Read Chem Matters article for transformation application
PCR and Gel Electrophoresis Simulations
Micropipetting Activity
Separating Dye with Electrophoresis Exploration
Investigation 9: DNA Fingerprinting


Unit 5: Genetics, Mechanisms of Evolution and Evolutionary History                            (5 weeks)
Big Ideas: 1, 2, 3, 4 

14. Mendel and the Gene Idea
15. The Chromosomal Basis of Inheritance
21. Genomes and Their Evolution
22. Descent with Modification: A Darwinian View of Life
23. The Evolution of Populations
24. The Origin of Species
25. The History of Life on Earth
26. Phylogeny and the Tree of Life

Topics to be discussed: Mendel and the Gene Idea, The Chromosomal Basis of Inheritance, Genomes and Their Evolution Natural Selection and Descent with Modification: A Darwinian View of Life, The Evolution of Populations and Hardy Weinberg Equation and Equilibrium, The History of Life on Earth, Phylogeny and the creation and evaluation of cladograms, The Origin of Species,

Possible Science Article Topics: History of life on Earth, How things change over time

Read Taming the Wild Article from National Geographic...
Coin Toss Simulation
Punnet Square practice problems LO 3.14
Dragon Genetics
“What Darwin Never Knew.” NOVA; PBS video
Types of Selection Activity with Beans
Investigation 1: Artificial Selection
Hardy Weinberg Equation practice problems
Investigation 2: Mathematical Modeling: Hardy-Weinberg
Investigation 3: Comparing DNA Sequencing
Evaluating evidence from or creating a Phylogenic Tree Activity to explain evolutionary history of a species.


Unit 6: Animal Behavior and Ecology                                                                                (2 weeks)
Big Ideas: 1, 2, 3, 4 

51. Animal Behavior
52. An Introduction to Ecology and the Biosphere
53. Population Ecology
54. Community Ecology
55. Ecosystems
56. Conservation Biology and Restoration Ecology

Topics to be discussed: An Introduction to Ecology and the Biosphere, Population Ecology, Community Ecology, Ecosystems, Conservation Biology and Restoration Ecology

Possible Science Article Topics: Global Warming, Acid-Rain, Human impacts on environment, importance of climate on species in an environment

Observations of an Earthworm Exploration
Ape Genius Video
Life Videos


Unit 7: Organism Form and Function                                                                    (2 weeks)
Big Ideas: 1,2,3,4 

38. Angiosperm Reproduction and Biotechnology
39. Plant Responses to Internal and External Signals
40. Basic Principles of Animal Form and Function
43. The Immune System
45. Hormones and the Endocrine System
48. Neurons, Synapses, and Signaling
49. Nervous Systems

Topics to be discussed: Angiosperm Reproduction and Biotechnology, Plant Responses to Internal and External Signals, Basic Principles of Animal Form and Function, The Immune System, Hormones and the Endocrine System, Neurons, Synapses, and Signaling, Nervous Systems,  

Possible Science Article Topics: Genetically engineered crops, Specialized plant behavior, Specific animals, Importance of one of the many body systems in our well being, Affects of drugs on our body systems, How animals’ form leads to function

Investigation 11: Transpiration Supports


Unit 8: Review of four big ideas, how they are connected and past exams                          (1 week)