Pre-AP Biology

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking for a high school biology course for your high school student?

I have years of experience teaching biology to homeschoolers, both first year and advanced courses. Look over the info for my class and please let me know if you have any questions.

Pre-AP Biology

Section A – High School Credit Only

Section B – CLEP or SAT II subject test Focus

Instructor: Vicki Dincher

WebEx Time Slot: Tuesday’s 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST

Cost: $599 (does not include text or lab supplies)

Grades: 9-11 grade

Prerequisites: none

Course Length: 34 weeks

Course Begins:  Thursday, August 25, 2016 (first live discussion Tuesday, August 30, 2016)

Course Ends: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 (last live discussion Tuesday, May 9, 2017)

Test Readiness: Following this course, the motivated student will be well prepared for the SAT II Biology subject test, Biology CLEP test, and/or a future AP Biology course. Success on these exams is dependent on student aptitude and desire/willingness to prepare for the exam. Students are not required to take a standardized test at the conclusion of the course but should desire a strong biology foundation.

Required Texts Sections A & B: Biology: Exploring Life by Campbell, Williamson & Heyden; published by Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN: 0132509253 or 0132508826

Additional Required Text Section B: Sterling CLEP Biology Practice Questions, ISBN-13: 978-1500309404 or ISBN-10: 1500309400 and Princeton Review’s Cracking the SAT II Biology E/M Subject Test, ISBN-13: 978-0804125628 or ISBN-10: 0804125627 both available through Amazon

Course Goal: Following this course, the motivated student will be well prepared to succeed in a future AP biology course and will have covered all concepts necessary to succeed on an SAT II Biology (M or E) or CLEP exam. Success on these exams is dependent on student aptitude and desire/willingness to prepare for the exam.

Web-ex Lectures/Discussions: All course lectures are pre-recorded and available for students to playback at their convenience. Two to four times a month, live problem solving and discussion sessions will be held (recorded lecture should be watched prior to problem solving session). These sessions will be designed to provide students assistance with concepts and math problems assigned for homework   Students are not required to “meet” at the scheduled discussion time, but it is encouraged. Scheduled discussion times will be recorded for those unable to attend the live discussion times. Regular WebEx “office hours” will be listed once class begins (student time zones will determine office hours) for individual or group homework help.

Course Description: Science is a way of knowing, a process for gaining knowledge and understanding of the natural world. This class places emphasis on concept understanding and analysis, discovering biology’s connections to other scientific disciplines, and using scientific and laboratory skills. The science of biology focuses on the study of living things by examining the five fundamental concepts of cellular biology, genetics, ecology, evolution, and organism physiology. Students will learn scientific writing skills and also examine current biological issues in preparation for CLEP or SAT subject testing and future AP Biology coursework.

Lab Activities: The exciting study of living organisms will be enhanced with approximately twelve hands-on experiments designed to complement the core concepts being studied and fulfilling the lab requirement for a high school science credit. These experiments are designed to be effectively completed at home using household materials when possible, but will also include online investigations which use the internet to engage in the modern world of scientific research, several specimen dissections, and detailed microscopic studies (microscopes strongly recommended, but not required). Suppliers for materials required for experiments not using common household materials will be provided with the course syllabus. A vital skill required for success in college science courses is effective scientific writing. To that end, instruction in the process of writing, revising, and completing a formal lab report will be included. Collaborative research will allow students to work together on the development of a Wiki presentation or some other creative media as way of demonstrating and sharing knowledge gained in a topic of their choice during the second semester of the course.

Student Evaluation and Feedback: Students will be graded on homework, labs, discussions, and exams. The homework will be a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions done on the course website and handouts to be completed, scanned, and uploaded. All student work will be graded and returned within one week of submission (although usual turn-around is 48 hours). All homework is due on the Canvas course website by Friday evenings, midnight EST, unless otherwise noted.

Communications: Course communication occurs through the message system on the course website. I am also available to students through WebEx by appointment.

Technical needs: To access course materials students will need broadband, high speed Internet and their own e-mail account. This course will be run on the learning platform called Canvas. Canvas is a user-friendly, powerful platform where parents can be linked to their students and access student material, see grades, and contact the instructor at any time. Weekly assignments are downloaded as PDF files from the website. A scanner is required so that students can scan their completed work and upload it to the website for grading.

Time Commitment: The qualified student will spend 5-7 hours per week on this class. This accounts for reading the assigned texts, answering multiple-choice questions, writing short essays and discussing class work and reading assignments with others in the forums.

Course Priorities: The number one priority of this course for students in section B is to prepare them to successfully complete the CLEP and/or SAT Biology (M/E) exams and to prepare them to take a future AP Biology course. This will be done through complete presentation of testable content, providing review materials during the second half of the course, explaining testing strategies, and providing scored practice exams. The number two priority for all students is to expand their appreciation for the amazing complexity, wonder, and diversity of the living organisms that share our planet.

Major Projects: Three projects will be required in this course. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the living cell by choosing from several different project ideas. Students will demonstrate their understanding of genetics by creating a genetics story. And students will work in groups to build a Wiki online demonstrating their understanding of evolution and intelligent design by researching both viewpoints and presenting the evidence on the class wiki.

Who should apply: Students should be in 9th, 10th or 11th grade. The well-prepared applicant also has completed a physical science and life science course in the middle school years or at the very least has had some prior instruction in high school prep chemistry – specifically basic atomic structure, bonding, chemistry of water, and acids/bases (although these concepts will be taught). Also, online learning requires a great degree of organizational and time management skills on the part of the student. So students who are ready to improve in this area and are capable of taking responsibility for initiating interaction with the instructor if confused or discouraged should ask for an application.

To ask a question regarding this class, email Vicki at

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