Pre-AP Biology sparks student motivation and critical thinking about our living world as they engage in real-world data analysis and problem solving. Students engage deeply with science practices to construct and refine their biological knowledge and strengthen their cross-disciplinary reading, writing, and data-analysis skills. Pre-AP Biology fosters student growth as they make meaningful connections among the structures, processes, and interactions that exist within and across living systems – from cells to ecological communities. Pre-AP Biology motivates students to be active participants in analyzing real-world phenomena and to collaborate productively with their peers in dialogue, investigations, and problem solving.
Areas of Focus
Each Pre-AP course focuses on a small set of discipline-specific instructional priorities that support both teacher practice and student learning within the discipline. These areas of focus reflect research-supported reasoning practices that should receive greater emphasis in instructional materials and assessments than they often do. Pre-AP recognizes that many teachers and schools already embrace these disciplinary practices, and now we are offering resources that specifically emphasize these areas of focus
Pre-AP Biology Areas of Focus:
- Emphasis on analytical reading and writing: Students engage in analytical reading and writing to gain, retain, and apply scientific knowledge.
- Focus on applying mathematics: Students use mathematics to understand and express the quantitative aspects of biology, to record and interpret experimental data, and to solve problems as they arise.
- Attention to modeling: Students go beyond labeling diagrams to modeling biological processes to demonstrate and revise understanding of key patterns, interactions, and relationships.
Underlying Unit Foundations
These big ideas are addressed across units:
- Biological evolution
- Genetic inheritance
- Biological systems
Course at a Glance
The table below shows the four main units in Pre-AP Biology, the recommended length of each unit, and the key topics in each.
|Unit 1: Ecological Systems|
|Timeframe: 4-5 weeks|
|Unit 2: Evolution|
|Timeframe: 3-4 weeks|
|Unit 3: Cellular Systems|
|Timeframe: 9-10 weeks|
|Unit 4: Genetics|
|Timeframe: 8-9 weeks|
Schools that officially implement a Pre-AP course will receive access to instructional resources for each unit. These resources don’t constitute a full day-by-day curriculum. Instead, they provide support and model lessons as teachers design instruction for each unit.
Pre-AP Biology instructional resources include:
- A course framework and model lessons for key concepts within each unit that provide guidance and support for teaching the course.
- 1–2 laboratory investigations and 1 practice performance assessment for each unit.
Each unit includes:
- 2 short online quizzes featuring multiple-choice questions modeled closely after the types of questions students encounter on SAT tests and AP exams. Unit quizzes require students to examine data, models, diagrams, and short texts—all set in authentic contexts—to respond to a targeted set of questions that measure concepts and skills from the unit.
- 1 performance task that evaluates the depth of student understanding of key concepts and skills that are not easily assessed in a multiple-choice format. Performance tasks in the Ecological Systems and Cellular Systems units are modeled after the AP free-response question style. Performance tasks in the Evolution and Genetics units will engage students in hands-on data analysis and modeling skills.