2009-2010 AP Biology Syllabus

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2009-2010 AP Biology Syllabus Powered By Docstoc
					                              AP BIOLOGY SYLLABUS (as of 8/09)
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment.
      (Planning periods 4A & 2B)
E-MAIL: Aklau@okcps.org
WEBSITE: http://Lau-z.wikispaces.com

      University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
      University of Oklahoma: Bachelor of Science in Zoology, summa cum laude
      Phi Beta Kappa, National Honor Society: University of Oklahoma
      Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM)


       Science is often considered a difficult, dry, and daunting subject, but this instructor’s goal is to make
science exciting and intellectually stimulating. Even though many students may not pursue a career in
science, hopefully they will appreciate its daily applications. Additionally, with their understanding of
science, as good, educated citizens they might make significant decisions and contributions to better serve
the community. Most importantly, I wish to teach students how to think critically, yearn to learn, and never
cease asking questions, even when answers have yet to come. It is an honor and privilege to be your
teacher, and I look forward to a wonderful school year with you!

A: 90-100% B: 80-89% C: 70-79% D: 60-69% F: 0-59%

Total grade percentage determined as follows:
    Examinations = 35%
      Homework, Laboratories, and Lab write-ups 30%
      Quizzes = 25%
      Daily In-Class Activities = 10%
           o Daily “ICA”s may include but are not limited notebook checks, in-class assignments, and
               class participation.
Normally 90% is an A, 80% is a B, and so forth. However, I reserve the option to lower these breakpoints
(curving the distribution in your favor) to reward exceptional improvement and/or efforts during the

Students will be awarded grades based on their levels of achievement. Students have one opportunity to take
each test. If missed, an opportunity for a “make-up exams” is NOT guaranteed. If a test is taken late, a
different test may be provided. In any case, the student who takes the test late relinquishes any points from a
curve and any points from bonus questions. A student must take a test no more than 2 days after it is given
(assuming the student has returned to school and would have taken the test if present the day it was
administered) or receive a score reduced by 10% for every day it is late thereafter.
                                                                                               AP Biology Syllabus
                                                                                                          AKL 1/6

       In order to receive AP designation on their high school transcript, students are required to take the AP
Biology Examination administered on Monday, May 11th at 8:00am.


Additional Required Text: You MUST purchase ONE of the following study guides. There will be
frequent required readings and assignments from these books. Carefully go through all of these before
buying one. You’ll use this extensively the entire year, so make sure you like it.

   CliffNotes AP Biology, 3rd Edition. Wiley Publishing Inc. 2009. (List price $29.99)
       o   This has a CD with more practice tests. Excellent bulleted outline review study format, but not designed with the
           visual learner who appreciates pictures and charts. Questions at the end of each chapter.
 Cliffs AP Biology, 3rd Edition. Wiley Publishing Inc. 2007. (List price $16.99)
       o   No CD, but the same format as the excellent CliffNotes (see above).
 5 Steps to a 5, AP Biology 2nd Edition. 2007 McGraw Hill. (List price $18.95)
       o   Incredible book in prose, picture and chart form. The format of the long prose paragraphs may be tough to get
           through, however.
       o   Rapid Reviews at the end of each chapter help solidify what you read in the chapter
       o   Questions at end of the chapter.
       o   Humor and analogies. Visual learners really love 5 steps.
       o   Excellent Glossary but NO index
     o     2 full-length practice tests.
 The Princeton Review Cracking the AP Biology Exam. 2008 Edition. (List price $18.00)
       o   Well organized material presented in small paragraphed prose, pictures and charts with humor and analogies.
       o   with many short quizzes after the tutorials. Practice exam questions are representative of the actual AP exam.
       o   Index, but NO glossary
       o   2 full-length practice tests.
 Kaplan AP Biology 2008 Edition (List price $18.00)
     o Like The Princeton Review, well organized material. It’s presented in detailed but large
        paragraphed prose, pictures and charts.
     o However, it gives you the facts without the humor or analogies.
     o At end of each chapter it has “If you learned only five things in this chapter” reviews.
     o Nice Glossary, but NO index
     o 2 full-length practice tests.
 Barrons AP Biology. Debrorah Goldberg, 2007. (List price 16.99)
     o Very detailed prose and outline form with some diagrams and occasional charts.
     o Large number of review questions at the end of each chapter.
     o No review at the end of each chapter however.
     o Glossary AND Index
     o 3 full-length practice exams.
 Spark notes stuff: LAU does NOT recommend this brand.
     o There are nice flashcards and accessories in some of the packages, but there are no questions at
        the end of each chapter making it difficult to assess if you understand the material you just read.
        If you decide to get this resource, you must also one of the other recommended books above.

                                                                                                            AP Biology Syllabus
                                                                                                                       AKL 2/6

 1”, 3-ring binder (This shall serve as your class notebook)
 AP Study Guide (see above)
 Notebook Filler Paper, College-Ruled, 8 ½” x 11”, 3-Hole Punched Sheets (your “class notebook”)
 Insertable Section Dividers with tabs (for 3-ring binders). If you’d prefer to save $$, you can get
  creative and make your own dividers with a little tape, notebook paper, and pieces of paper.
 Pens and Pencils (for normal, daily note-taking, examinations, etc.)
 Colored Pencils, Assorted Colors, Set of 12 (for coloring, diagramming, etc.)
 Highlighter Pens, Assorted Colors


        Each student is expected to bring their 3-ring binder (“Notebook”) and textbook(s) every day class is
held. Lack of a notebook or textbook will result in deducted points or a zero grade for that class period. It is
the responsibility of the student to have both before class begins.
        This notebook may be reviewed at any time during class for a grade. It should neatly and always
contain at least all of the following, but not be limited to the:

 Title of the notebook – designating the school name, course name, instructor, school year, and student’s
 Table of Contents – detailed and kept up to date, subject to review at any time.
      i. Table of Contents
       ii. Syllabus (what you are reading right now)
       iii. AP Biology Topic Outline
       Section Dividers
       o 1st section divider: Class notes– Complete and thorough notes taken by the student, including
          handouts, schematic diagrams and pictures.
       o 2nd section divider: Homework
       o 3rd section divider: Labs
       o 4th section divider: Quizzes
       o 5th section divider: Examinations


        I have certain expectations of the quality of notes that should be taken in class. First of all, anything
mentioned in class is fair and testable material. Anything presented for students to copy is testable material
unless specifically mentioned otherwise. I often create exam questions from photocopied notes taken by
students in that specific class, so it is strongly suggested that the best possible notes are taken by all. At the
end of any class, I reserve the right to check the notes that should have been taken that day for a grade.
Failure to take adequate notes will result in certain consequences, such as failing grade for that day’s work.

                                                                                               AP Biology Syllabus
                                                                                                          AKL 3/6

      Late work will be accepted only if a student is failing the class and only to the point that the student
makes a passing grade. Tests or labs missed due to class will be awarded zeros.


        The school district has set guidelines for timely completion of make-up work. (5 days starting the day
of return to school) The student is responsible for handing in all graded materials and learning all material
that was missed during the absence. IMPORTANT: Once the time allowed by the district is up, the
opportunity to take missed tests, complete missed labs, take missed quizzes, and hand in missed homework is
over except when making last ditch attempts to pass the class. Responsible students will take care of these
obligations in the time allowed. No excuses!


       This instructor will give at least one if not two weeks notice for examination dates. He reserves the
right to not administer “make-up” examinations. If in certain circumstances there are legitimate,
documented excuses by a parent and/or a certified health professional, this instructor will consider
administering a different examination. This instructor realizes that in certain cases such as tardies and
attendance, there are unexpected and unavoidable circumstances. He will take each situation into
consideration on a case-by-case basis.


        Cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Integrity, academic and non-academic, is a character that
this teacher holds in the highest regard. At all levels of achievement, cheating is unacceptable. This teacher
urges his students to avoid even contemplating the notion of cheating – not only is it unnecessary for this
course, but it devalues the integrity of the course.
        Every effort will be made to reduce cheating among student. When cheating is discovered, zeros will
be awarded in the place of a grade. There will be no make-up examinations provided in these circumstances.
This instructor does not expect cheating to be a problem; however, in the event that it is, parents and/or
guardians will be informed, the school administration will be notified, and possible disciplinary action up to
expulsion may be taken.


        Each student is to arrive to class in a timely fashion. That means that students are considered and
counted tardy when class officially begins: exactly 5 minutes after the bell rings. Students must be seated in
their assigned seats with all of their required class materials by the time class begins or risk being counted
tardy. If missing classroom materials, they may be permitted to go retrieve them while receiving a tardy.
Once students are counted tardy for the fourth instance from this date, one percentage point will be deducted
from the student’s cumulative grade at the end of the semester. Merely having one percentage point
deducted one time does not mean that more may not be. The fifth tardy will result in 2 percentage point
deductions. The sixth tardy of the semester will result in 4 percentage point deductions. Any further tardies
and the student will be referred to the school administration for disciplinary action and considerations.
Understandably, there are instances for unexpected emergencies, car troubles, and other various problems.
Hopefully, since there are three acceptable tardies for each 9 weeks, this should not be problem. Therefore,
a tardy will be considered a tardy, excused or otherwise. This instructor is not attempting to take such a hard
                                                                                              AP Biology Syllabus
                                                                                                         AKL 4/6
stance to be cruel, difficult, or mean, but instead attempt to foster appropriate adult behavior expected of
young adults in college and the workplace.             Additionally, it demonstrates certain respect and
professionalism. If there are any worries or concerns, this instructor will be glad to hold conference with the
respective parties.


        Although all appropriate consideration will be taken for excused absences, this instructor feels that it
is important for each student to be present as much as possible to have the best learning experience. There is
no substitute for actual class presence, as no notes taken by even the best note-taker can replace an actual
didactic lecture. Therefore, to qualify as an excused absence, a student must have legitimate reason
documented by parents and/or certified health care officials. Finally, any unexcused absence will result in a
zero for that day’s classwork, daily grade, and/or material due. In the cases of all absences, excused and
unexcused, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the instructor either by email, writing to the
school, or in person upon their return so that the appropriate materials and information given can be
appropriately distributed. Students are responsible for making sure that any notes taken in class are gathered
from their peers.


         Unauthorized talking and discussions will not be permitted in class. In general, a good rule to follow
is: when Mr. Lau is talking, you should not. Continual interruptions to maintain quiet during lectures makes
it difficult for the teacher to teach and the student to learn. There are a number of ways in which he may
enforce certain rules, but after one explicit spoken warning, disciplinary action of some form will occur
following a second indiscretion. Continual problems will be referred to school administration.


        Of course, if a student has a physiological need to use the restroom, they will be permitted to go.
However, unless it is a dire emergency, students go one at a time, and they must wait for the return of the
student currently on his/her mission. There have been requests by students in the past to go to their cars to
retrieve something. This will not be permitted as this is a closed campus, so please do not ask. If a student
needs to go to their locker, the vending machine, another classroom to work on an assignment with another
teacher, Mr. Lau will consider each request on a case-by-case basis.


        Use of cell phones is prohibited. Your cell phone should be silent and out of sight at all times. You
may not use your cell phone at any time during a test or quiz. During class, use of cell phones without
permission will result in immediate confiscation until the end of the day. If cell phone use becomes a
continual problem, students will be asked to write essays: “How NOT to get caught texting in Mr. Lau’s
class” which they will then have to read out loud to their classmates. If the essay is not funny or amusing
enough to make the class laugh, then the perpetrator will be required to keep writing essays until Mr. Lau
and the class is satisfied. The essays will then be posted up in the classroom for all to read. Continual
violations will result in contact with parents.

                                                                                             AP Biology Syllabus
                                                                                                        AKL 5/6

By signing this, I acknowledge that I have read and understood all of the information provided in this course
syllabus, and that I accept these policies for the duration of the semester.

Student name (please print): ______________________________________________

Student signature: _____________________________________ Date: __________

Parent/Guardian: (please print): ____________________________________________

Parent/Guardian signature: _______________________________Date: __________

                                                                                            AP Biology Syllabus
                                                                                                       AKL 6/6

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