Instructor: Cheryl Gray Mitchell
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
6: Gene Expression and Regulation
7: Natural Selection
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
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
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 & 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
Check on caterpillars and provide additional (MASSED!) food if needed.
HW: Thinking Ahead - Instructional Strategies for Science Practices, selected 2019 FRQ's
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
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
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
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 Albert.io (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.
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