Welcome to AP Biology

Get ready for an awesome learning adventure!


You have elected to take AP Biology. No matter the reason, you have made a wise choice in taking this class. You will learn Biology as a series of interconnected concepts that explains how life in the world exists, persists, adapts, and gets along. You will also learn how you learn, and how to make different learning styles work for you. Finally, you'll develop critical thinking and analysis skills that will serve you well, no matter what career or field of study you pursue after high school.

What kind of stuff goes on in AP Biology?

Concept Mapping
Reflective Writing
Model Making
Mathematical Modeling
Inquiry Lab Experiences
Data Collection and Analysis
Long term experimentation
Experimental Design

What AP Biology at Allen High School is Like

Meet The Teacher

Some of the topics we'll cover

We are a Flipped/Blended Classroom

Our class operates on the flipped (or inverted) classroom model of teaching. You may have had other teachers that have used this model of teaching, and you may have heard that this particular AP Biology class is taught using this method. We are also blended in that we take the lessons you have watched at home and "play" with the material the next class period by doing different activities that use the information you collected from the lesson to help you learn it better.

A flipped classroom is one in which students are assigned a 10-20 minute video lesson or podcast to watch outside of class. This work is completed prior to the next period. Students may be asked to take notes in an interactive notebook, or other space to take notes.

So what does this look like for us?
  • designing lab experiments
  • completing pre-lab activities in Canvas, our learning management system
  • practicing free response questions as a part of exam prep
  • answering short answer questions about content learned the night before in our interactive notebooks
  • solving problem sets in our interactive notebooks
  • working with models of biological processes, whether we are constructing them or examining them
  • creating graphic organizers in our interactive notebooks to cement learning
We use an interactive notebook to facilitate the learning we will do in class. You will create this notebook on the second day of class, so be sure you have the quad ruled notebooks by then!

Below is a video that gives you an idea of what flipped learning is, and how it works.
Flipped Classroom - Improved!

Guaranteed to be intellectually stimulating and fun.

Materials You Will Need

  • 2 graph paper composition notebooks to be used as an interactive learning log. Do not buy a spiral notebook for this purpose. Do not buy "wireless neatbooks" with perforated pages as they fall apart. I will demonstrate how you will assemble the two composition books into an interactive notebook on the second day of class, so be sure you have them on that day. You can buy these at Staples.
  • A supply of highlighters, black or blue pens, and pencils.
  • A copy of Hillis' Principles of Life, 1st edition, to be issued during the first week of school and to be used all year long.
  • A good attitude, strong work ethic, and willingness to try new things.
  • Access to the internet via computer, tablet or smartphone. If this is a problem, please see Mrs. Ferguson.
  • Solid time management skills. This is critical, as this course can and will place great demand on your time.
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Canvas for Allen ISD Students

We will be using the Canvas learning management system this year in AP Biology. You will need to be sure to bookmark the link, and use Google Chrome any time you use Canvas for class (which will be every day).

About Your Teacher

Mrs. Ferguson has been teaching biology for 19 years, 13 of them as the AP Biology teacher at Allen High School. She holds a BA in Biology from Southwestern University, and an MAT in Science Education from The University of Texas at Dallas. Mrs. Ferguson has been an AP Reader since 2006. She presents professional development workshops to teachers around the DFW area on flipped learning and interactive notebooking. She founded the DFW AP Bio Professional Learning Community for Dallas area AP Biology teachers in 2012.

Mrs. Ferguson has also reviewed curriculum materials for College Board, Wilson Digital, and is a contributing author to the teacher's edition of the 2nd edition of Hillis' Principles of Life textbook. She was also an instructor for the Rice-EdX Advanced Biology prep course that launched in 2014.

Mrs. Ferguson and her husband Jim make their home in Plano, TX. She is also an active Rotarian and serves on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Area Southwestern University Alumni Association.

AP Exam 2016

Monday, May 9th 2016 at 7:30am-12pm

300 Rivercrest Boulevard

Allen, TX

If you are enrolled in AP Biology, it is the expectation that you sit for the exam. The cost of the exam is $92 and includes the convenience fee charged by TotalRegistration.com for online exam registration. You will receive more information about AP exam registration in the spring of 2016.