Welcome to pre-AP Biology

Course Description:

pre-AP Biology is a rigorous and demanding course, which is equivalent to a Senior level Biology I & II class. Content will be covered in more depth and greater expectations will be placed on interpretation and analysis of information than previous science classes. It is not enough to just memorize information. In addition, analysis of data and modeling of concepts will be expected. Students will be exposed to a wide range of topics, some will be covered with more emphasis than others. A significant amount of studying must be completed at home to allow time for discussion, labs, and inquiry during class time. The College Board has redesigned the curriculum and the pre-AP curriculum will reflect this change.

The following Syllabus is a tentative outline of the information to be covered this year.

1st 6 weeks
  • Concepts and Methods of Biology
  • Ecosystems, Population Ecology, and the Biosphere
  • Biomolecules and the Chemistry of Life

2nd 6 weeks
  • Cellular Structure and Function
  • Cellular Homeostasis
  • Cellular Reproduction (both asexual and sexual)
  • DNA Structure and Function

3rd 6 weeks
  • Protein Production and Gene Technology
  • Mendelian Genetics
  • Cellular Metabolism (Energy acquiring pathways and Energy releasing pathways)

4th 6 weeks
  • Evolution and Natural Selection
  • Classification and Taxonomy
  • Bacteria and Viruses
  • Protists and Fungi
5th 6 weeks
  • Plants
    • Structure and Function
    • Reproduction and Adaptations
  • Animals
    • Invertebrates
    • Vertebrates
6th 6 weeks
  • Animal Structure and Function
    • Tissue, Organ Systems, and Homeostasis
    • Body Systems
      • Nervous System
      • Endocrine Control
      • Circulation
      • Immunity
      • Respiration
      • Digestion and Human Nutrition
      • Principles of Human Reproduction and Development

Class Expectations

  • Come to class prepared - in order to have meaningful class discussions, reduce the amount of time needed for lecture, increase time for labs and hands on activities; you must complete all required assignments. pre-AP assignments are not busy work, they are designed to help you learn difficult material.
  • Come to class!! The work we will be doing during class cannot be replicated at home; labs in particular. You have committed to an advanced class and that requires your presence in the classroom. You might have to turn down activities and request that interfere with your class time.
  • Study at home - the convention for this class is 1-2 hours of independent study for every hour of class. Keep in mind.. this may not apply to you if you have poor study skills, reading skills, or get distracted easily. Then you will need to study more. If you have incredible study skills, reading skills, and ability to focus you may not have to devote as much time. In order to understand the lectures you must read ahead and have an idea of the information covered. Lecture should not be the first time you are seeing the information.
  • No whining!! - This is a senior level course. It has to be so you are prepared to be successful in the AP course. It will be challenging. It will require a significant amount of time outside of class. If you don't like biology, this is not the class for you!!
  • Yes, you have to write in complete sentences. Yes, you have to show your work. Yes, you have to write out procedures, data tables, and label graphs. Yes, you are expected to show a higher level of understanding on ALL of your assignments. No, you may not write in "text-speak"

Class Policies

  1. Bags and jackets should be under your desk and not all over the floor or in the lab area.
  2. Cell phones ( unless used with permission) should be turned off and your brain turned on.
  3. Food and drink are not allowed in the class or the lab.
  4. Do not throw any classwork away. You will need it to review for test and mistakes do happen with grade recording. That does not mean your 5 missing assignments are my fault. Stay organized.
  5. Cheating is unacceptable in any form. This includes, but is not limited to: copying homework, copying lab analysis answers, plagiarizing written assignments, copying test answers, use of electronics to find test answers. If copying occurs, all people involved will receive a zero on the assignment and a referral. You are in class to learn and succeed this year and prepare yourself for next year. Cheating does not help you learn.
  6. Most classes will start with a 4 question quiz over the homework. The quiz will begin at the tardy bell so if you get to class early you will have time to study before the quiz. If you waste your time.......
  7. If I copy something, I copy it once. It is the only copy I will make you unless there is an exceptional reason for me to make another copy for you. Be responsible and keep up with your things or be resourceful and figure out another way of getting your assignment or notes in. You will still be accountable for anything that was on the paper I gave you.
  8. You are responsible for your lab station. Work clean and organized to make lab breakdown easier at the end of class. Lab groups will not be dismissed until their lab station is cleaned completely.
  9. I realize that you may not understand everything that I go over in class or agree with my teaching style. I encourage you to use your resources, (text books, creditable pod cast, lectures, you tube videos, tutors, study groups and online websites). It is your responsibility to learn the required objectives and seek out help if you need it. We will be covering a lot of information so help yourself anyway you can.
  10. Bring everything that pertains to this class with you every day. This includes but is not limited to: computer, book, binder, lab notebook, notes or note cards or study questions that you made at home, assignments, study guides, scrap paper that you practiced questions on, pens, markers, and highlighters. I can't help you and your notes, book, computer, and assignments can not help you if they are "at home."


  • I do not give A's, B's, C's, D's etc.... You earn them.
  • The grading policy adopted by the school board will apply to this class.
    • 30% Daily
      • Quizzes
      • Homework
    • 70% Test
      • Unit Test
      • Formal Lab Reports

Material Requirements:

  • Textbook - Starr and Taggarts Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life (we encourage you to purchase the textbook yourself so you have a copy you can write in at home. It cost less than most dinner meals.)
  • Lab book - composition book that will be used for labs
  • Black pens for labs
  • Blue or black pens, pencils, colored pencils, for class work and assignments
  • 3-ring binder - sections for notes and homework
  • Internet access!! This is provided by the school. If you do not have access at home you are responsible for getting all information onto your computer before you leave for the day.
  • Computer - This is provided by the school. It should be charged before class. This is your responsibility. I am not in charge of your computer so you do whatever it takes to have a properly working laptop in class when the tardy bell rings.. Check your computer every morning or at lunch. You will not have time to take it to the computer techs during class.


Labs will be written out ahead of time in the lab (composition) notebook and taken for a test grade. All lab notebooks will be done in BLACK ink only, front page only; and written in third person past tense. If you make a mistake, cross out (do not scribble out) the information and rewrite. In the scientific world, lab notebooks are considered legal documents and all information must be accessible. I will not grade anything that is not written in black ink or on the front of the page. All labs will include at least..
  • Title
  • Objective
  • Hypothesis
  • Materials/Safety Information
  • Procedures
  • Data
  • Conclusion/Analysis Questions
All labs will be posted or handed out early to allow students to get all information written in the lab notebook. After the lab is completed, students will turn in the completed lab report the next day unless more time is given. Remember that they are for a test grade. Any late labs will follow the late work policy of deducting points or not being accepted. You cannot afford to give up points on a test grade simply because you were not organized.


Homework should be completed every night. Usually it will consist of reading assignments, viewing lectures, taking notes, finishing labs. Even if a formal assignment is not given, you are expected to spend time reviewing content each night. pre-AP biology is challenging and can't be picked up during class. You need to invest time outside of class to be successful in class. All assignments are due at the beginning of the next class period unless otherwise stated. Late assignments will result in a mandatory tutorial with a reduction of 15 points the first day, 30 points the second day, and then a 0 the third day. If you do not come to the mandatory tutorial to complete the assignment you will receive a discipline referral. If your schedule is busy and you cannot afford to come to the tutorial or your parent can't get you to the tutorial, do the assignment the first time and turn it in when it is due.


Each Unit will conclude with a test. Some units may be broken down into two smaller test if they cover a lot of information. All test will be short answer or a single extensive essay formatted after the AP essay questions along with AP formatted multiple choice questions. Test are graded on 120 pt scale with a retest being offered for each administered test. After all students have taken the test it is graded and then reviewed during class. You will not get to keep the test. Retest will follow the retesting policy of no higher than a 70. These will be graded and returned to you. Times for test and retest will be announced in class and posted online.


This class is fast paced and a huge amount of information is covered. It is extremely important that you make every effort to be in class everyday; however unexpected things do happen. YOU are responsible for your absence and the information covered during it. I will not chase you down to give you an assignment or remind you to turn work in or that we did a lab which you are responsible for. Check the website, call a reliable friend, or email me. I will follow the makeup policy in regards to how many days you will be allowed for assignments that were missed. In the same regards that you may miss, I will also. I am a coach and I have small children so anything can happen. I expect great reports of behavior and productivity when I return to class from the substitute teacher. You should behave so well they leave gold stars and smiley faces on the daily report!!
If you are unsure about when something is due after you have missed, ask immediately... do not wait four or five days after returning to class because it will be too late.


I offer tutorials five days a week. The times and locations will always be posted on the website. I will sign you into tutorials and you will initial. Please remind me to log you in if I didn't and I will help remind you to initial if you didn't. Check it and refresh it daily. Come to tutorials with an idea of what questions you need answered. I cannot help you if you have not read the material, done the work, or don't even know enough to know what you don't know. Remember that you will not be the only person needing help in tutorials, and if you are expecting a 45 minute one-on-one tutoring session during that time it won't happen. Please help me help you.