AP® Summer Institute: Biology
- Provide an overview of the AP Biology course and College Board Policies.
- Clarify the focus of the new AP Biology curriculum by: a. familiarizing teachers with the new AP Biology Framework b. reinforcing the new focus on student-centered classrooms c. explaining the focus of the new AP Biology Exam.
- Lead teachers to adopt a new role in the classroom, reinforcing project-based learning + inquiry + student independent mastery of content.
- Provide teachers with ideas and means of establishing a “learning community” conducive to mastery of AP Biology material. Ideas to achieve this goal include: a. Networking with other AP instructors b. Collaborating with pre-AP biology teachers to better prepare and inspire AP-ready students c. Using school resources and administrators to more effectively promote AP biology and improve curricular success.
- Provide suggestions for streamlining biology content and converting to thematic learning.
- Provide tips for reinforcing project based learning and inquiry through creative assessment strategies.
- Provide suggestions for increasing student “ownership” of independent mastery through activities such as: a. vertical tutoring b. student-directed learning modules c. lab investigation symposia d. student-directed selection of field trips, guest speakers, and films d. student-designed assessment.
- Perform and discuss a number of the national AP lab activities, emphasizing their multiple roles in reinforcing the Biology curriculum.
- Provide teachers with a plan to more effectively utilize “vertical teaming” to better prepare prospective AP students. This includes increased access to inquiry investigations for pre-AP classrooms, heavier emphasis on student-centered learning, and promotion of varying forms of assessment.
- Promote more effective science process by challenging teachers to: a. modify existing labs to a more inquiry format b. design a unique inquiry investigation c. correlate national and classroom lab activities with the new Curricular Framework d. implement strategies to increase student participation in extracurricular research e. increase emphasis on school-based science fairs as a means of promoting inquiry instruction.
AP Biology Course Description:
AP® Institute Schedule
Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School
This comprehensive outline allows for flexibility and attendee choices regarding activities and modules.
Introduction Morning Session – An overview of strategies for establishing and maintaining a rigorous AP Biology course. Note: This introduction will be spread over the course of the workshop in order to maintain effective participation and to allow teachers to engage in the numerous planned activities.
Thematic Teaching and the New AP Curriculum – DNA/Cancer as a powerful organizing theme.
Late-morning session - Science Process and Curricular Inquiry Infusion. Introductory unit to AP Bio or pre-AP courses: The Nature of Science (and Science Process) as an organizing theme.
(A) Discussion/lecture/demos of the use of conditional argument forms to reveal the philosophy and nature of science process. Analogy of court room process: theories cannot be proven, but can be discounted. Review classroom strategies to reinforce application of conditional arguments, including Evolution/creationism/ID debate (Nova, Judgment Day, etc. curricular application).
(B) The nature of uncertainty, the practice of science, data interpretation, and the power and utility of statistics. Demo/discussion of powerful class activities, including 1. “X-Files: Paranormal Investigation” 2. “Paper Towel Analysis” and 3. “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” homework. Review of videos serving to reinforce science investigation and the power of critical thinking.
Afternoon Session: Science Process and Curricular Inquiry Infusion (continued).
(C) Further means of infusing statistics into AP activities: 1. Osmosis and Diffusion Lab 2. Heart Rate Lab 3. Neural Reaction Time Lab 4. Genetics Lab 5. Photosynthesis Lab 6. Enzyme Lab.
Ecology/Environmental Science Unifying Theme: an overview of teaching strategies designed to reinforce science process and the powerful concept-connecting themes inherent in ecosystem analysis. Big Idea 4: Interactions.
(D) Reinforcing science process through inquiry-based labs: 1. “Paper Towel Efficiency” 2. “Pollution Assessment Lab Competition” 3. “Environmental Influence on Algal Populations” 4. “Pesticide Effects on Microbes” 5. “Fantastic Farmers” 6. “Smoke Product Effects on Yeast Survivorship” 7. “Human Life Tables and Survivorship Analysis” 8. “Survivor: Gilligan’s Island” (Energy transfer through trophic levels) 9. AP lab 10 – Energy Dynamics.
(E) The new curricular framework (4 Big Ideas) - Thematic Learning: Connecting content through student-centered activities.
(F) TEACHER OPTION: Molecular Biology lab – A PCR forensic medicine ‘whodunit’. Intro and initial DNA sampling.
Morning Session – PCR/Forensics lab (continued) – genomic purification + PCR reaction
TEACHER OPTION: BIORAD inquiry science presentation - Using Biorad kits to enhance inquiry, thematic learning, and molecular biology phenomena.
Afternoon session – Gel Electrophoresis of PCR products – forensic analysis review
Ecology/Environmental Science Unifying Theme: an overview of teaching strategies designed to reinforce science process and the powerful concept-connecting themes inherent in ecosystem analysis.
Big Idea 4: Interactions.
(A) Yeast/bacteria experimental models and inquiry: 1. Environmental Toxicity Analysis 2. Discussion of Yeast Mutagenesis
(B) Teaching assessment – 1. Authentic assessment of teacher investigative techniques, measurement, and analysis: Pollution Analysis Lab Competition. 2. Gilligan’s Island Survivor competition: energy flow unifying themes. 3. Old AP Lab 12: designing challenge and thematic questions.
(C) The Inquiry Matrix – a preview of future AP curricula. Modifying traditional labs + incorporating the new AP labs. Modeling an Inquiry Classroom.
(D) Equity in AP: Inclusion strategies, alternative assessments, and unifying the learning community
(E) Molecules Made Easy!- Activities, lessons, demonstrations, and films serving to de-mystify biochemistry/molecular biology and reinforce underlying conceptual themes permeating the entirety of life science.
Big Idea 2: Cellular Processes: Energy and Communication
(F) Charts: an under-appreciated teaching tool! Biochemistry and physiological principles connections and themes are powerfully revealed in a number of common wall charts. Mouse Trap signal transduction demonstration: Games biology students can play.
(G) Beyond Bead Biology: inexpensive, powerful molecular model activities designed to captivate student interest and promote increased comprehension of biochemistry.
1. ‘Prime Time Enzyme’ – enzymology made simple.
2. ‘Environmental Influence on Salivary Amylase Activity’: a low-tech approach to enzymology.
3. AP Lab 4: Diffusion and Osmosis
Morning session –
Teaching Assessment: Design a Thematic Question Challenge. Assessing student mastery through labs, projects, symposia, etc. The New AP Test: Overview and course integration.
TEACHER OPTION: PASCO probeware analysis of Energetics life phenomena. 1. Intro to PASCO probes 2. Probeware and AP inquiry 3. Enzyme lab 4. Photsynthesis Lab 5. Cell respiration lab 6. Additional Probeware applications.
Afternoon session – Insights into the molecular basis of life continue to expand our understanding of every field in life science. Teachers should be encouraged to reveal the history of these major discoveries and their application to various fields of science and society at large.
Big Idea 3: Genetics and Information Transfer.
(A) A brief history of the elucidation of DNA as the molecule of heredity: an enlightening and inspiring mystery story of the 20th century.
(B) TEACHER OPTION: Molecular Biology: a revolution revealed.
1. Central Dogma: new insights/new technologies- gene expression, recombinant DNA (pGLO lab), PCR, antisense, RNAi, DNA microchip arrays, etc.
2. Supplementary reading reviews: Scientific American, Discover, etc.
3. Films: Howard Hughes lecture series, Nova, Wired Science, etc.
4. ‘James Bond Cellular Spy’: a transcription/translation challenge competition.
5. DNA Science: modeling recombinant DNA, DNA fingerprinting, antisense technology, DNA sequencing, and PCR.
6. Reinforcing the Central Dogma through biomedicine: (a)’ Immunogenetics of Autoimmune Disease’: Searching for causes of Lupus (b) Cystic Fibrosis: using a film to reveal the role of the central dogma. (c) Proteomics and Metabolomics: beyond the human genome project.
7. Advanced Labs/Activities: ‘Turning Genes Off and On in Bacteria’, ‘Biotechnology Team Challenge.’
8. Evo/Devo: evolutionary/molecular connections to development, including further evidence for evolution.
Teaching Assessment : James Bond Cellular Spy Challenge, Lupus Genetic Risk Challenge, Genetics Project Based Learning, Modeling Molecular Biology.
TEACHER OPTION: Physiology Phun! The anatomy and physiology of organisms can serve as a natural model for systems analysis, a relevant ‘hook’ for any student, and a powerful means of reinforcing evolutionary and biochemical themes.
(A) Plants – Slow Motion Creatures!
1. The Plant Game: growth strategies in response to the environment.
2. Fantastic Farmers: Team competition.
3. FF: Form and Function Challenge Slides.
4. Environmental/Evolution Influence on Plant Form and Function.
5. AP Transpiration lab 9.
Morning Session – Physiology Phun (continued)
(B) Animalia – Comparative Anatomy and Physiology
1. Planaria behavior.
2. Star Trek dissection discovery!
3. AP lab12 - Fruit Fly, Sow bugs, brine shrimp, termites, etc. taxis/habitat selection.
4. Animal embryology/development.
(C) Human Physiology
1. Heart rate influence.
2. Human respiratory capacities.
3. Homunculus Man/sensory mapping.
4. Neural response time.
5. Muscle madness! Chicken Little.
6. Human center of gravity.
7. Meat Adulteration Kit: Immunology techniques (Carolina).
8. Medical Rounds: House presents!
(D) Teaching assessment – 1. authentic assessment of teacher investigative techniques, measurement, and analysis. 2. Lupus PCR analysis 3. Plant Form + Function Challenge. 4. Statistical analysis of physiology labs.
(E) Preparing your AP course: Transitioning to thematic learning. Teacher module development/modification.
Big Idea 1: Evolution.
(F) Evolution as the course unifying theme.
Teacher Option: EVOLUTION: Smithsonian Human Evolution Curriculum Activity Project (Student Activities).
Discussion of AP Lab 2: Hardy Weinberg Lab
Discussion of AP Lab 1: Artificial Selection
Perform/discuss AP Lab 3: BLAST analysis of genomes
Afternoon Session – Teacher module/lab presentations + curricular sharing.
TEACHER OPTION: Tissue Engineering/regenerative medicine (TERM) as a powerful unifying theme.
(A) TERM: Developmental biology and the application to biomedicine.
(B) Tissue Engineering: the revolution unfolds, connections to a life science curriculum.
(C) The TE triangle: the basics of regenerative medicine.
(D) Stem cells: the hype and hope.
(E) Stem cell seeding efficiency challenge data collection + analysis.
(F) Bone Engineering competition.
(G) Cardiovascular engineering: scaffold synthesis and characterization.
TERM wrap-up: life science connections and new frontiers. 2. STS: Bioethics and societal implications. 3. Engaging students in exciting/rewarding AP assessment
(A) From egg to adult: lessons learned and the future of biomedicine.
(B) The Review Game: assessment can be fun!
(C) Further games: GLAND, NEURO, and HEART. Biology Trivial Pursuit.
(D) Testing strategies.
(E) Unifying themes recognition.
(F) Teaching assessment: Development Challenge, TERM strategies, Final Project: Design a unit.
(G) Teacher Course Development: The AP Audit and Beyond
(H) Evaluation/final thoughts, networking and classroom resources.
APSI Attendee Items to Bring: Computer, iPAD or camera, pocket folder, notebook, favorite activity copy, sample lab report, any resource items to share with colleagues.
Instructor Mark Krotec
Instructor Biography: Mark KrotecMark Krotec has been teaching Biology and related sciences at Pittsburgh Central Catholic since 1981. His primary work involves the instruction of Honors Biology, Honors Biology II, Biotechnology/Bioengineering, Environmental Science, and AP Biology students. In addition, he has served as the director of extracurricular science (Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science, Science Bowl, Pittsburgh Regional Science Fair, and the Envirothon) for over a decade. Outside of his school, Mark has been actively involved in the promotion of teacher education and curricular development. He has served as president and executive board member of the Western PA Biology Teachers Association, in addition to serving as a frequent workshop presenter at local, statewide, and national conventions, including the NSTA, NABT, and College Board. Mark has also created a Diocesan Teacher Scholarship program, resulting in the full funding of over 70 teachers to NSTA conventions. In addition, Mark has developed a Diocesan in-service program, directing yearly workshops with these funded teachers.
Mark has served as a consultant for the College Board for over 15 years, directing various workshops and summer institutes. He has continued to focus much of his efforts on promoting science process, especially inquiry science, within the AP curriculum.
Mark continues to update his science knowledge and skills through research internships at local universities, further inspiring him to translate those experiences into secondary science curricular supplements. He has been awarded research fellowships from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), and the Professional Enhancement Program (PEP). In addition, he has participated in numerous educator enrichment programs such as the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Biology Initiative and Howard Hughes Science Teacher Workshops. From June of 2000 to August of 2001, Mark immersed himself in the revolutionary field of tissue engineering, performing sabbatical research and educational outreach for the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI). With the development of the first tissue engineering educational outreach manual, he continues to serve as a liaison between the biomedical research community and science educators. Within the past decade, Mark has presented to classes in over 30 schools, in addition to directing over 40 tissue engineering workshops for science educators, as well as leading Middle School and High School Tissue Engineering summer camps. He continues to serve as a “master” teacher for the Tissue Engineering community, performing educational outreach and contributing to the further development of outreach manual. Mark also continues to serve as an outreach coordinator for Carnegie Mellon-based laboratory exercises, three of which he personally developed. Over fifteen other curricular supplements have been shared locally and nationally, including the activity manuals Beyond Bead Biology and An Education Outreach Manual in Tissue Engineering.
For these contributions to science education, Mark has been honored with a variety of awards including: Outstanding Biology Teacher of PA, NSTA Distinguished Teaching Award, NABT Molecular Biology Teaching Award, Presidential Teaching Award (PAEMST), Radio Shack National Teaching Award Recognition, Diocesan Golden Apple Award, Carnegie Award for Excellence, and the Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Society Teaching Award.
Outside of academics, Mark continues to serve as a table tennis coach for the school. In addition, he serves as the president of a USATT-affiliated table tennis club. AP Biology APSI 2015