AP Biology is a dynamic class that delves deeper into the wonders of Biology. Students take their previous knowledge of science and use it on a larger scale. AP Biology is more than learning about the material involved. It is about learning critical thinking, application, and collaboration skills in order to solve problems and answer questions. These skills are taken past the classroom into the “real world” as students will use them in future situations and careers.
Senior Emma Wright is taking the class because she enjoys studying topics that apply directly to her life. For Hannah Gibney, AP Biology is preparation for the rigorous academic curriculum she will face in becoming a pharmacist.
Teaching at an AP level is incredible for many reasons. One, being that I get to challenge my students in their thinking every day and they get to challenge me! Another reason being that every time I teach such multifaceted topics like cell structure or gene expression; I am in AWE of God. It truly brings me closer to him, knowing that he made this world in all its complexity for ME!
This year students have done various virtual and physical labs to aid in their learning of the curriculum. In one lab, students constructed a 3D model of an amino acid chain in order to visualize the levels of protein structure. They constructed an initial backbone, chose a number of amino acids out of the 20 available, and folded it in a way that fit with the properties of R groups of the amino acids. In another lab, they studied optimal enzyme activity by experimenting on the enzyme called catalase using potatoes. Catalase speeds up the chemical reaction that breaks down hydrogen peroxide (considered toxic) into water and oxygen. They filled 3 test tubes with raw potato, boiled potato, and potato in vinegar and added hydrogen peroxide. After recording their observations over a period of 10 minutes they concluded in which potato catalase was the most active and why. They were also able to apply their understanding of independent vs. dependent variables as well as control vs. experimental groups. These labs promote transfer of knowledge from words on a paper into tangible evidence by application of assorted principles in science. Sara Riyad agrees noting that the potato lab has been her favorite so far this year.
AP Biology differs from regular Biology classes in that it is more fast paced and builds off previous knowledge. It requires more application than memorization of concepts.