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ATTENTION AP BIOLOGY TEACHERS

If you have taught AP (Advanced Placement) Biology, then you know that the amount of material that must be covered before the exam is daunting.  I have had great success with my AP exam scores.  I normally have between 60 to 80 students take the exam each year.  Currently, I am averaging 76% of my students earning a 4 or 5.  That is way above the national average!

We have to convince our students that they must review, review, review before the exam.  I have written a set of powerpoints that I use for review.  They are not teaching powerpoints.  These are just slide after slide of question and answer.  The students are not going to remember every little detail, so I try to make sure that they are solid on the basic facts.

I am in the process of listing all of these review powerpoints in my store on TeachersPayTeachers.com.  I have listed one for free.  I hope that you will check it out.

AP Review: Carbon and Organic Compounds ---- It's FREE!!

The results are in!

My biology I students have completed their lab on "The Effects of Antiseptics and Disinfectants on Bacteria Growth".  The results turned out great and the students had a great time growing the bacteria.  Many were very surprised by the results of the lab!

Soil samples were used as a source of bacteria.  The bacteria living in the soil are less likely to be human pathogens.  Nonetheless, if you do this lab, be sure to have the students securely tape up each dish after the dish has been inoculated with the soil sample.  After the bacteria have begun to grow, I do not allow the students to open the Petri dish.

These photos show the results of the lab.  Dishes were incubated for just 24 hours at a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius.  An amazing amount of growth will occur in just 24 hours.  Descriptions of each dish are found below the photograph.



 
I used a hole punch to make filter paper disks.  The disks were then dipped into different solutions of antiseptics and disinfectants.  You can see the filter paper disk on each side of the Petri dish in the above photo.  In this dish, two disinfectants were tested.  The disinfectant on the right did an excellent job in inhibiting the growth of the bacteria.  Notice the large zone of inhibition around the filter paper disk.  This disinfectant was Palmolive Antibacterial dishwashing detergent.  The disinfectant used on the left was Lysol.  There is only a small zone of inhibition around the Lysol disk.





In this Petri dish two antiseptics were tested.  The filter paper disk on the right had the larger zone of inhibition.  This antiseptic was Bactine.  The antiseptic tested on the right was Triple Antibiotic Ointment.



This was the control dish.  The filter paper disks were dipped into distilled water only.  Notice that there is no zone of inhibition around either disk.


I hope that you will give this lab a try.  It is so much fun for students to grow bacteria.  Here is the link to this lab in my store on TeachersPayTeachers.com:


This teacher got "schooled"!

In my 28 years of teaching high school students, I have spent the last twenty years teaching only the "cream of the crop".  Only students who take Honors Chemistry or Advanced Placement (AP) Biology walk through my doors.  Or so I thought until this school year.

Roll back to last summer.  It is two weeks before school is to begin.  The "letter" arrives from my school to let us know what we will be teaching and what day/time to report for teacher inservice.  I open my letter with the usual "I already know what this is going to say" attitude.  BAM!  In addition to the honors courses I always teach, I'll be teaching a........standard Biology I class!

Our school went to a new schedule this year, requiring most every teacher to pick up an additional class.  After a time of pouting and griping, I started planning fast and furiously.  I had no lesson plans, no materials already prepared and waiting in a filing cabinet;  I had nothing.  I spent the next two weeks preparing the first unit.  I prepared a powerpoint, notes, labs, quizzes, tests, worksheets, and homework assignments.  The first day arrived and I was ready.

The Biology I students walked into my room with great trepidation.  They knew my reputation around school.  I was the teacher that teaches all the smart kids.  They were scared as they walked into my room, and little did they know, I was just as scared to have them walk into my room.  I called roll, passed out textbooks, and started teaching.  My powerpoint "Introduction to Biology" was an immediate hit.  It was packed with cool pictures and the students got so excited!  They started firing questions at me and before I knew it, the class was over.  As the students filed out, a young lady came up to me and said, "Ain't nobody ever taught us like that before.", and she gave me a bear hug.  I cried.

I don't know how much the students learned that first day, but I learned the biggest lesson of my life.  All students deserve the very best we can give them.  All students have the capacity to learn.  All students need a teacher who is willing to work double time and triple time to teach them.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten this.  This has been the best teaching year of my life.  I have absolutely loved teaching my standard Biology I class, and have already asked my principal to let me teach it again next year.  I have re-discovered the joy of teaching.  This teacher got "schooled" !

Here is a link to that very first powerpoint:  Introduction to Biology Powerpoint and Notes

The Ramblings of a Veteran Teacher

Just recently I learned what a "blog" is.  I had heard the word bounced around from time to time, but just pretty much ignored it because it didn't seem like something that was worth my time.  I am a newcomer to facebook as well.  My teenage daughter, mustering all the patience she possibly could, showed me how to set up my facebook page.  She can't imagine life without facebook;  I can't imagine life with facebook.  She doesn't have a blog, but it only took her about 5 minutes to teach me how to set up my blog.  You gotta love the way kids jump right in to any new technology and completely master it in minutes.  If only it were so easy to teach them biology and chemistry!!

So what does this veteran teacher have to blog about?    LOTS!


I have a wealth of wonderful, fun and exciting ways to teach biology and chemistry.  I can look at a potential lab and immediately know which parts of it will work and which parts are best re-written.  I have labs, worksheets, powerpoints, videos, projects, a deep knowledge of my subject.....but most of all, I have a love for kids, and I am a science nerd.  I want my students to learn a lot of biology, but more important than that, I want my students to learn to LOVE biology.  It is just the neatest subject in the world!!  I want to instill in my students the same excitement for biology and chemistry that I have.

What will be the purpose of this blog?  I have things to share.  I have great ideas.  I have wonderful teaching strategies.  I have failures.  I have stress.  I have students who love biology so much they become scientists.  I have students who hate it so much they never take another science class.  My plan is to use this space to share the good times and the bad.  So let's begin.....

Here is a link to a worksheet that I just put together for my standard level Biology I class.  The worksheet provides practice on working simple monohybrid genetics problems.  I have just learned that even my high school students love clip art!  They found this worksheet fun.  I found that it did a great job reinforcing simple genetics concepts.  You can download the worksheet for free by clicking on this link:   Monohybrid Mice!

Enjoy!