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*Exciting Update*

MiniOne has generously agreed to provide the following materials for each Fordham APSI Biology participant, to help provide hands-on lab instruction free of charge:

  • MiniOne Electrophoresis equipment on loan and a customized single-use MiniLab. Each MiniOne kit consists of the electrophoresis unit, a 2-20 uL pipette, gel casting system, photohood, and 42V power supply. The customized single-use MiniLabs include aliquoted DNA samples, buffer concentrate, GelCup and backup refill gel pouch, and pipette tips. Participating teachers will need to access a microwave, distilled or bottled drinking water, and measuring cups. The latter will be used to measure 0.5 cup of water to dilute the buffer concentrate.
  • We will conduct two labs: 1) Foodborne Outbreak with pipette practicing and 2) Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration with Algae Beads. MiniOne will ship the loaner equipment and materials to each participant with a prepaid return label.

July 13 - 17
Cheryl Gray Mitchell

Register for AP Biology Institute

Over the course of this five-day workshop, new and experienced teachers alike will become familiar with the newly updated Course and Exam Description (CED) in AP® Biology for the 2019-2020 school year. The updated CED organizes the course into eight commonly taught units:

  1. Chemistry of Life
  2. Cell Structure and Function
  3. Cellular Energetics
  4. Cell Cycle
  5. Heredity
  6. Gene Expression and Regulation
  7. Natural Selection
  8. Ecology

The updated course framework clearly connects each learning objective to specific essential knowledge and includes biology - specific science practices that build skills to help students learn to think and act like biologists. Particularly important will be the time and skill set necessary to support teachers in implementing more inquiry-based investigations and participants will be given tools and strategies for modifying traditional experiments into inquiry-based models. Participants will gain experience with 8 - 10 core investigations in the updated lab manual AP® Biology Lab Investigations: An Inquiry-Based Approach (2019) as well as explore creative alternatives to these investigations. We will also examine the AP® Biology exam design and essay grading approaches and teachers will participate in a mock "reading" of the 2019 exam free response questions. Those seeking graduate credit will develop an AP® Biology syllabus specific to their school's daily schedule and calendar and submit it as part of the AP® Course Audit process. Participants will need to bring a calculator, camera (phone or digital), laptop computer, and a favorite Investigation activity to share on our Dropbox folder (invitations emailed first day of workshop).

AP Central AP Biology Updates

Five-Day Workshop Agenda

Day 1


Welcome, introductions, K-W-L chart

Key Takeaway 1: Understanding the Course and Exam Description (CED)

  • Building conceptual understandings by linking Learning Objectives (testable) and Essential Knowledge (content) in each Big Idea.
  • Applying content in new, relevant, and unfamiliar contexts using and Science Practices (Skills) and Essential Knowledge.

Activity: Teaching for Transfer by Applying the Science Practices

Investigation 7: Mitosis & Lectin - Engage with part 1 and identify the science practices on the lab template

Activity: Teaching for Understanding of Content and Skills

Activity: Understanding the Course Framework and Big Ideas


Investigation 3: Analyzing Evolution via DNA sequence comparisons using BLAST

Investigation 2: Mathematical Modeling with Spreadsheets - Hardy-Weinberg OR

Alternative to Investigation 2: Rock Pocket Mouse

Jump-Start on Investigation 10: Energy Flow - Set up & mass caterpillars with food source.

HW: Thinking Ahead - Instructional Strategies for Specific Topics, selected 2019 FRQ's

Day 2


Key Takeaway 2: Planning the Course

  • Sequencing, Pacing, Scaffolding

Activity: Exploring the Unit Guides (and treasure hunt map)

Activity: Scaffolding and Spiraling the Science Practices

Alternative to Investigations 5 and 6: Cell Respiration and Photosynthesis in Algal Beads


Investigation 4: Diffusion and Osmosis in Vegetables (day 1)

Activity: Planning Your Course (plan the first quarter of your course with teachers who have similar schedules).

Activity: Reviewing Instructional Approaches

Reminders: Check on caterpillars and provide additional (MASSED!) food if needed.

HW: Thinking Ahead - Instructional Strategies for Science Practices, selected 2019 FRQ's

Day 3


Key Takeaway 3: Teaching the Course

  • Teachers need a deep understanding of content and applications
  • Using effective instructional strategies to help develop course skills and content knowledge
  • Practice makes perfect
  • Creating community within a classroom

Activity SP 2: Visual Representations

Activity SP 4: Representing and Describing Data

Activity SP 5: Statistics and Data Analysis

Investigation 7: Mitosis & Lectin (Chi Square Analysis)


Investigation 9: DNA Gel Electrophoresis - Foodborne Illness

Wrap Up Investigation 10: Finish Energy Flow Investigation by massing caterpillars & food. Calculate % efficiency.

Wrap up Investigation 4 by massing veggies and determining water potential of plant cells.

HW: Connecting the Exam to the Curriculum

Day 4


Key Takeaway 4: Assessing Student Progress and Understanding

  • Aligning assessments and instruction to learning goals and performance standards
  • Challenging students to apply their knowledge and skills in different contexts for deeper understanding
  • Time, practice and feedback
  • Understanding is earned over time

Activity: AP Biology Exam Structure

Activity: Using PPC's as Formative Assessments

Investigation 13: Enzyme Catalysis


Investigation 12: Drosophila behavior Investigation - choice chamber construction & chi-square analysis

Mini-Posters as Investigation reports: Create a "report" for the enzyme or behavior Investigation

HW: Thinking Ahead - Curricular Requirements

Day 5


Key Takeaway: Becoming a Member of the AP® Community

  • Course Audit and Curricular Requirements
  • AP® Teacher Community and Additional Resources

Test Design: Creating AP® Biology quizzes and tests

Activity: Scoring Free Response Questions


Happy Teaching!

About the Instructor

Cheryl Gray Mitchell graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.A. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and she has spent 20 years in the classroom sharing her love of the natural world and inspiring students to reach the high expectations inherent in every science program.

Cheryl's teaching experience encompasses all levels of biology and chemistry (AP®, honors, grade level) and, after spending 12 years as the science chair at The Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach, Florida, she moved to the Philadelphia area in 2010. Cheryl currently teaches AP® Biology and honors chemistry at The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

Cheryl has been a faculty consultant for The College Board® since 2003, serving as a reader for the AP® Biology exam and a presenter for College Board's online events. She also leads workshops and summer institutes in AP® Biology, Pre-AP® Science Vertical Teams, and Transitioning to Inquiry Based Labs.

Most recently, she was invited to present the AP® Biology workshop for experienced teachers at the 2013 and 2016 AP® Annual Conferences. Cheryl's publishing work as a freelance author for McGraw - Hill Higher Education includes revising the test bank that accompanies Peter Raven's Biology textbook (2014) and the creation of an updated, standards-correlated AP® Biology practice exam for Sylvia Mader's Biology textbook (11th ed, 2013).

In 2015, Cheryl became a content author for the online STEM platform (formerly Learnerator) and she began working as a consultant for the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in 2016, providing Student Study Sessions and mentoring new AP® Biology teachers in different regions of the country. Most recently, Cheryl became a contracted writer for Educational Testing Service, writing test items for the official AP® Biology exam.

*College Board®, AP®, Advanced Placement Program® and Pre-AP® are registered trademarks of the College Board. Used with permission.