A. NAME: ________________________                                                                                      TEACHER: Mr. Mancuso


B. Requisites

Pre-requisites: General Biology and Chemistry are required. Chemistry Honors and Physics are recommended.

Co-requisite: SC411AP (Advanced Placement Biology Laboratory).


C. Introduction

This course aims to provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of biology. The course, taken with the laboratory course, is designed to mirror a full year (two-semester) sequence in college biology. Because of the level of work expected of you, the course will be conducted assuming a high level of academic and emotional maturity. You will be held to a higher standard than a regular honors course, and be expected to effectively manage your time. The challenge an easier transition to college academics should prove very rewarding. Please remember that I am not the course. My role is to facilitate your learning the material prescribed by the College Board. It is your responsibility to learn, mine to facilitate that process.

 This course is designed to be the equivalent of an introductory biology lecture course usually taken by biology majors during their first year. Some AP students, as college freshmen, are permitted to undertake upper-level courses in biology or to register for courses for which biology is a prerequisite. Other students may have fulfilled a basic requirement for a laboratory science course and will be able to undertake other courses to pursue their majors.


D. Course goals

The two main goals of AP Biology are to help students develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and to help students gain an appreciation of science as a process. The ongoing information explosion in biology makes these goals even more challenging. Primary emphasis in an Advanced Placement Biology course is on developing an understanding of concepts rather than on memorizing terms and technical details.

Essential to this conceptual understanding are the following:

a grasp of science as a process rather than as an accumulation of facts;

personal experience in scientific inquiry;

recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and

application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.

Other subordinate goals include (After successfully completing this course you will…)

Possess organizational skills, self-discipline, and effective group communication.

Be able to adjust more easily college level academic demands.

Be aware of, be able to and establish connections between the humanities and the sciences.

Be prepared to undertake biology major coursework at the university level.


E. Major Themes

The AP Biology Examination continues to emphasize the concepts and themes of biology. Less weight is placed on specific facts than on the "big ideas" that tie them together. AP Biology defines a theme as an overarching feature of biology that applies throughout the curriculum. For example, the theme of energy transfer helps students connect topics as diverse as cellular respiration and ecosystem dynamics. Concepts are the key ideas, restricted in scope to a certain topic. Themes cut across the topics. There are eight major themes that recur throughout the course. AP Biology teachers should emphasize the pervasiveness of these themes to assist students in organizing concepts and topics into a coherent conceptual framework:

Science as a Process


Energy Transfer

Continuity and Change

Relationship of Structure to Function


Interdependence in Nature

Science, Technology, and Society

These themes, and the content they reinforce, are aligned with all relevant National Science Education Standards (A, B, D, F, G, & H) ( ).


F. Teaching Methods

Lecture, discussion, field trips, and inquiry, will be employed. Effort will be made to integrate current technologies such as multimedia presentation and Internet research using the World Wide Web. Students may seek remediation using several computer based multimedia tutorial programs and videos that will be made available on weekly basis. Computer practice exams are also available. I will be providing Internet links throughout the course to assist students. These methods are aligned with all relevant National Science Education Teaching Standards (A, B, C, D, & E).


G. Textbook

The Department of Education has no mechanism for adopting a textbook until the next science adoption (likely in 2000), so each student will have to purchase a textbook. I recommend Starr and Taggart’s "The Unity and Diversity of Life", although Helena Curtis "Biology" will suffice. Curtis can be bought at the UOG bookstore, but Starr and Taggart is available only by off-island order. I will coordinate off island purchases if you wish. Cost of a textbook will be approximately 75 - 95 US$. Details will be given later. Starr and Taggart includes an interactive CD ROM and Internet support (


H. Records

All records of this course and the lab course will be kept in a three ring binder with five divided sections:

        1) Handouts - (your grade sheet is the first hand out, includes colorings)

        2) Notes - (all class notes)

        3) Assignments - (including questions)

        4) Labs - (notes, raw data)

        5) Projects

This syllabus is to be placed in front of all material in the notebook.


I. Rules

There are three basic rules of class:

 Be On Time and Prepared

Bring your binder, assignment, and a pen and pencil everyday. Come to lecture having completed the required readings.

Take Responsibility

Accept that you are the only one who can be credited for your successes or failures. Be proactive and take initiative. Be in charge of your learning

Respect Others

We all have problems, don't take out bad feelings on others in class, instead deal with them in a mature manner. Respect others opinions and feelings.



J. Grade Computation

1) Grades are not given in this class - they are only recorded. If you would like a higher grade, earned more points.

2) Grading is done on a point system. As a result, you may determine your grade at any time by dividing the number of points you have earned by the number of points possible.

                            For example:

                            You have earned 225 points out of a possible 275

                            225/275 = 82

                            This is an 82 % or a "B" Grade

3) The "grade you will receive on your grade reports will be recorded as a percentage the same percentage you have calculated for that grading period.

4) You may earn extra points for answering difficult questions in class. These questions are called "Day's A's".

5) You will record your progress on a grade sheet. Parents, it is imperative that you monitor your child's grade sheet weekly as a progress report.


K. Attendance

                    1) Please read board policy 411 on attendance.

                    2) Please remember parents may only excuse their child six days per semester.

3) Please leave all forms (attendance monitors, field trip forms, admit slips…) on my desk at the beginning of the period.

                    4) … If you forget a form, do not return for it during a class, You will be turned away.


L. Make up work

                    1) Work missed because of an unexcused absence cannot be made up.

2) Make up work must be completed and turned in the same amount of time the student was absent upon the student's return.

3) It is the students responsibility to find out what work has been missed. Make up work will be discussed before school, between classes, during break, and appointment after school. This policy also applies to extra credit.


M. Hall Passes

1) Hall passes will be written only for emergencies. There is at least fifteen minutes of break every two hours of class, please don't use all of this time just talking to friends.


N. Discipline

1) Our class will work on a three warning system for minor discipline problems. On the third warning a consequence will be give. These consequences may include; home assignments to make up for lost instructional time, Science Department detention. Warnings will be given on the class level, group level and individual level. Major discipline problems will receive immediate consequence, no warnings.

                    2) If a student insists on interfering with learning in our classroom, they will go on my                          discipline record.

3) Please remember that field trip privileges will be taken away for the quarter at level two and for the year at level three.

                    4) All school rules apply at all times.


O. Responsibilities to Your Seating Area

You are fully responsible for any mess, graffiti, and vandalism, etc… to your seating area. "It was here when I got here" is never an excuse unless you tell me at the beginning of class as soon as you take your seat. This applies to your assigned lecture seat and assigned lab table area. Any mess left in your assigned lab area will be deducted from your lab grade. This includes the multimedia lab areas. You are responsible for any computer activity at your station at your time. The multimedia lab can be made available for use during lunch.

Permanent markers are not permitted in class for any reason.

P. Graded Course Requirements

Your lecture grade will be based on, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

                1) Read and Study all chapters of Starr and Taggart's The Unity and Diversity of Life, or Curtis Biology.

                2) Nine regular exams, two semester exams.

                3) Weekly quizzes.

                4) Homework essay questions.

                5) Participation in class (this is not an individual prerogative)

These assessment methods are aligned with all National Science Education Assessment Standards (A, B, C, D, &E).


Q. The Advanced Placement Biology Exam

The nationally standardized exam will be given on the morning of May 19, 1998, the site will be decided sometime in the spring. The exam covers both lecture and laboratory and consists of two sections.

Section 1: 90 minutes, 120 multiple-choice questions, taken from the entire curriculum.

Section 2: 90 minutes, 4 free response questions (essay), one question from each quarter.

The final score is expressed as a whole number from 1 to 5. A score of 3 or better is considered passing for thousands of schools throughout the world and entitles the student to as many as 15 semester hours of college credit. Some schools require only a 2 for credit while others require a 4. I can provide a list of those post-secondary institutions that receive AP scores, but cannot verify their policies currently in force as to what type of, and how many hours of credit a student may receive. Credit granted for passing the AP Biology Exam is given based on the course being two college semesters of Introductory Biology (for biology majors) lecture and laboratory. This often translates into 8 to 10 semester hours of college credit.

Exam assistance can be found at .


Q.  Sequence of Topics

I. Molecules and Cells (25%)

A. Chemistry of Life (7%)
1. Water
2. Organic molecules in organisms
3. Free energy changes
4. Enzymes
B. Cells (10%)
1.Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
2. Membranes
3. Subcellular organization
4. Cell cycle and its regulation
C. Cellular Energetics (8%)
1. Coupled reactions
2. Fermentation and cellular respiration
3. Photosynthesis

II. Heredity and Evolution (25%)

A. Heredity (8%)
1. Meiosis and gametogenesis
2. Eukaryotic chromosomes
3. Inheritance patterns
B. Molecular Genetics (9%)
1.RNA and DNA structure & function
2. Gene regulation.
3. Mutation
4. Viral structure and replication.

5. Nucleic acid tech & applications

C. Evolutionary Biology (8%)
1. Early evolution of life
2. Evidence for evolution

3. Mechanisms of evolution

III. Organisms and Populations (50%)

A. Diversity of Organisms (8%)
1. Evolutionary patterns
2. Survey of the diversity of life
3. Phylogenetic classification
4. Evolutionary relationships
B. Structure and Function of Plants
and Animals (32%)
1.  Reproduction, growth, and development
2. Structural, physiological, and behavioral
3. Response to the environment
C. Ecology (10%)
1. Population dynamics
2. Communities and ecosystems
3. Global issues



 R. Student, Parent & Instructor Contract (…Your Copy)

Each student must set his or her own goal for the course. Some students may want only academic enrichment and challenge. Others may want to achieve a certain percentage grade. Most will wish to pass the AP Biology Exam, while some may be determined enough to strive for an exam score of a 4 or 5. Two Guam students have earned a 5 in the three years that we have offered the course, and many have scored a 4.

The most important idea to keep in mind for setting your goal is to take responsibility for your achievement. Many otherwise successful students find AP Biology very challenging and can become discouraged from time to time. This is all part of the academic growth that college level academic work cultivates. I will do whatever I can to help a student and the class (within reason), but I cannot do any more than facilitate the learning process. Parents can only support.

The ultimate responsibility lies with the student.


Please discuss your goal(s) and write them out below. Also indicate contact information (including email addresses) as well as any other information you may want to share with me. Please also initial to initials to confirm that you have seen this syllabus, and let me know what initials to accept on the students grade sheet(s) that you should be seeing weekly. If you have any suggestions for the class, or myself, please also include them.