The Importance of the AP Biology Learning Objectives

The Importance of the AP Biology Learning Objectives

The importance of the AP Biology learning objectives has been firmly established. Teachers of AP Biology need tools to aid them as they continue to organize and assimilate the objectives into their courses. I’m a visual learner, but I also like to manipulate information in a tangible way; I made lots of flashcards in college. And so—driven by my love for manipulatives—I formatted the 149 AP Biology learning objectives into sheets of equally sized boxes, perfect for cutting into cards.

AP Biology Grid-In Questions | Practice Worksheet

AP Biology Grid-In Questions | Practice Worksheet

With the new AP Biology Exam just over two months away, I’ve started thinking more about the new question formats. According to the College Board, the first half of the exam will have 69 questions; 6 of these will be grid-in questions. These questions require numerical responses and the answers must be entered into a grid on the answer sheet. Here’s a resource I created in order to prepare my students for this unique question style.

See the AP Biology Curriculum Framework Like Never Before

See the AP Biology Curriculum Framework Like Never Before

I thought I’d seen the AP Biology Curriculum Framework from as many viewpoints as possible, and then I came across something amazing!  Several years ago, IBM released an experimental web application to create data visualizations. The software is called Many Eyes and does a decent job of creating charts and graphs from numerical data.  But what really got me excited is the way it can process text. With the Many Eyes application, I was able to create a word tree from the text of the AP Biology Concept Outline and Science Practices.  To be specific, the text comes from pages 8-102 of the AP Biology Course and Exam Description.  The text was kept verbatim except for the omission of headers, footers, and page numbers.  In addition, the “X” symbol that precedes exclusion statements was replaced with the letters “XX” in order to process correctly. I have to confess, I’ve been a little pre-occupied lately with studying the AP Biology Framework. I’m curious about syntax and term repetition, and my mind whirls about with word clouds, frequency tables, and Learning Objective verbs; I can’t help myself.  It’s O.K., though—it’s just the way I process text.  It’s how I learn.  My intent is to become an expert and a scholar of the text.  I’m trying to cover all the angles. Hopefully all this analysis will make me better at what I do for a living, teach biology.  I enjoy sharing with educators what I learn and hope they find ways to make use of it.  Certainly, I have benefited from the perspectives of fellow teachers. If you’re not familiar with the...