Syllabus

AP BIOLOGY COURSE SYLLABUS


Instructor: Eric Smart, eric.smart@bourbon.kyschools.us


Overview: This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college freshman biology course. The content has been set by the College Board and is organized around four “Big Ideas”. Like all college courses, this course will require a significant commitment of time and effort both in the class and outside of the class. This is NOT a typical high school course. To be successful, we will need to integrate and apply a huge amount of information on a daily basis. We have to move at a rapid pace to cover all of the required AP topics. It is absolutely essential that you do the work and do not fall behind.


This course has two major goals. 1) To understand and apply enough college level biology to pass the AP Biology test in May. 2) To develop the analytical skills and habits that will help you to be successful in college and the work place.


The best way to succeed is to put forth consistent and regular effort. Trying to “cram” the information just before the test will result in failure. All of the assignments are designed to help you understand and apply the critical concepts. I am available most days for extra help.


We will be using an on-line program called Moodle (http://icolonel.bourbon.kyschools.us) to provide expanded instruction, guided notes, homework, quizzes, etc. Moodle can be accessed from any computer or internet capable device, such as a tablet or phone. Write down and do not lose your username and password because I do not have direct access to this information and can not give them to you.


Textbook: Biology by Campbell, Reece, Urry, Cain, Wasserman, Minorsky and Jackson, 8th edition


Supplies: Notebook for lecture and lab notes, graph paper, and scientific calculator (cannot be your cell phone and cannot have a keyboard: AP College Board rules).


Grading Scale:
92-100 A
82-91 B
70-81 C
64-69 D
0-63 F


Grading Procedure:
1. Exams are 70% of term grade
2. Lab reports, quizzes, homework, etc are 30% of term grade
3. The Mid-Term Exam and Final Exam are 20% of each semester grade.


Grades will be posted regularly on the classroom door by student ID number. It is the responsibility of each student to check their grades for missing work and to report any possible errors.


Student Responsibilities:
1. Be on time for each class.
2. Have the necessary supplies, such as, note paper, pencil, calculator, graph paper, etc.
3. Stay focused on the lesson and work.
4. Do not use cell phones or other electronic devices.
5. Do not use any ear listening devices without prior permission.
6. Complete all work (homework, quizzes, lab reports, etc) on time.
7. Make up all missing work when absent. All assignments are posted on the room door.
It is your responsibility to find out what you missed and complete the assignment.
8. If absent, obtain missing notes from a friend or Moodle.
9. Do not cheat.


Extra Help/Tutoring:
I am available most days before school starts, at break, and after school to help students.


Exam Retakes/Late Work
Students can retake exams. The “retake” exam will have different questions that cover the same material as the original exam. The student will keep the highest grade, that is, their grade can NOT go down. In order to retake an exam, the student will have to demonstrate that they have made progress in learning the material, for instance, correcting previously wrong test questions, completing additional homework problems, or come in for tutoring. Once both the student and Dr. Smart are satisfied that they are prepared, the student can retake the exam.


It is important that all assignments are completed on time. However, if work is handed in late it will be graded without penalty with the following exception. Once the answer key is made available to students or lab reports are handed back the late work can no longer be accepted and the grade will become a zero. Students with excused absences will have time to make up the assignments according to school policy.


Class Rules:
1. Students will be on time. Tardy students automatically receive break detention (according to school policy).
2. Students will bring necessary materials to class (textbook, paper, pen/pencil, calculator, etc).
3. Students may NOT eat/drink in the science lab. This is OSHA policy and school policy. Food or beverage being consumed may be stored, confiscated, or thrown out at the teacher’s discretion.
5. Electronic devices are NOT permitted to be used/displayed unless permission is given by the teacher. For example, phones may be used as calculators in certain instances. Ear buds must be removed for class. It is NOT the teacher’s responsibility to know if the electronic device is/is not functioning. The teacher may ask for any electronic device not used with permission for appropriate activities (ie. texting, checking messages, playing games, pretending to text, etc). Confiscated devices may be picked up at the end of class or at the end of the day in the office according to school policy. Parents: do not expect your student to return a message during class time. They may check phones between classes, during lunch, and during break.
6. Students will conduct themselves so as not to be a distraction to their own work or to the work of others.
7. While working in the lab, all safety procedures will be followed at all times. Disregarding safety procedures, disruptive behavior, or any uncooperative behavior will result in immediate removal of the student from the lab. The safety of the student and other students always receives top priority.


Correcting student misbehavior always begins with addressing the issue and allowing the student the opportunity to correct the behavior themselves.


Topics Covered:
Big Idea 1: The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity 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 life processes.
Big Idea 4: Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.


Laboratory Notebook:
Unless otherwise state, the following format will be used when writing up all lab experiments.
I. Title, Date, Lab Partners (if applicable)
II. Introduction/Purpose
III. Methods/Procedures
IV. Data/Observations
V. Analysis of Results
VI. Conclusions


I. Title, Date, Lab Partners (if applicable)
Descriptive title of the experiment and the date or dates, if more than one day, that the experiment was performed. It is important to keep track of all lab partners.


II. Introduction/Purpose
Describe the overall goal(s) of the experiment. What are you trying to do or determine in the experiment? You hypothesis should be in this section. Briefly summarize relevant background information concerning the experiment or the theoretical principles on which the experiment is based. This section should include relevant chemical equations or mathematical equations.


III. Methods/Procedures
This section details what you did and how you did it. This section does not require extensive detail but should provide enough detail that a competent reader can understand what you did. Unusual or specialized techniques should contain more detail.


IV. Data/Observations
Neatly record all measurements and observations made during the experiment. The use of data tables can greatly facilitate the recording of the data. Make sure that detailed notes are taken, paying attention to units, significant figures, and appropriate labels. The data/observations should be understandable by any competent reader so enough detail (titles, labels, text) needs to be included to ensure this. Do not discuss or interpret your data in this section.


V. Analysis of Results
This section will include all calculations, graphs, analyses, and the discussion of your results. All calculations need to be clearly labeled as to the purpose (what are you calculating), contain significant figures, and contain the appropriate units. A sample calculation can be shown if the same calculation is done repeatedly. All graphs must have a descriptive title, labeled axis, units, and any other text that aids in understanding.
The graphs can be computer generated or done by hand (use a ruler). If questions were assigned with the lab, answer all of the questions in this section (clearly numbered). In this section you should address all of the appropriate following points:
-What conclusions can be drawn and how you arrived at these conclusions
-Support your conclusions with specific observations or calculations that you made
-Explain any inconsistencies with your predictions (mistakes, experimental error, incorrect prediction, etc)—be specific and detailed
-Discussion any major sources of error and explain how these errors impacted on the results. Identify possible sources of bias. Be specific.
-Identify any unpredicted problems that occurred during the experiment and how they can be avoided in the future
-Discuss any unexpected results
-Compare your results with your classmates
-Recommend modifications or future work that could improve or extend your results.


VI. Conclusions
Concisely state your major conclusions. Using “bullets” often helps organize this section. Conclusions should relate to the stated goals of the experiment and be supported with specific examples from the results. Always support your conclusions with specific data.

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