Dardanelle Public Schools

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AP Biology

Melanie Burris
2017-2018 Term

Course Description

 AP Biology is designed to offer students a solid foundation in introductory college-level biology. By structuring the course around the four big ideas, enduring understandings, and science practices students develop an appreciation for the study of life which helps them identify and understand unifying principles within a diversified biological world. What we know today about biology is a result of inquiry. Science is a way of knowing. Therefore, the process of inquiry in science and developing critical thinking skills is the most important part of this course. At the end of the course, students will have an awareness of the integration of other sciences in the study of biology, understand how the species to which we belong is similar to, yet different from, other species, and be knowledgeable and responsible citizens in understanding biological issues that could potentially impact their lives.


Class Overview

AP Biology is structured around the four big ideas, 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 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

The course is also structured around inquiry in the lab. Students are given the opportunity to engage in student-directed laboratory investigations throughout the course. Investigations will be conducted to deepen students’ conceptual understanding and to reinforce the application of science practices within a hands-on, discovery based environment. All levels of inquiry will be used and all seven science practice skills will be used by students on a regular basis in formal labs as well as activities outside of the lab experience. The course will provide opportunities for students to develop, record, and communicate the results of their laboratory investigations.