For Students

Welcome to Advanced Placement Biology!  I am glad you have chosen to take this course, and would like to share information with you about the journey you are about to embark upon. 


What is AP Biology?

AP Biology is a survey course of biological science equivalent to the introductory biology course for science majors taught at the university level.    AP Biology covers topics in greater depth and at a much faster pace than the Biology I course.  You should have successfully completed both Biology I and Chemistry I (preferably Pre-AP/Pre-IB) as pre-requisites for this course.

This course is extremely fast-paced and requires a great deal of self-discipline to be successful.  There is a heavy emphasis on science as inquiry and discovery; thus, a great deal of time is spent designing and performing laboratory investigations. 

Our course is framed around four "Big Ideas" in Biology, as well as a set of Science Practices*.  They are: 

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.

Science Practice 1:  You will use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.

Science Practice 2:  You will use mathematics appropriately.

Science Practice 3:  You will engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of our course.

Science Practice 4:  You will plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.

Science Practice 5:  You will perform data analysis and evaluate evidence.

Science Practice 6:  You will work with scientific explanations and theories.

Science Practice 7:  You will connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains.

*Some material modified from (2010).  AP Biology Curriculum Framework 2012-2013.  New York, NY:  College Board. 

My colleague, Paul Andersen of Bozeman High School in Bozeman, Montana, gives a wonderful summary of the course here: