Here We Go!

This time last year, I think I remember sitting down and writing something about how the summer had passed terribly quickly, it feeling like the school year had just ended, and not believing where the time went. So, I guess to reiterate all of that would be a bit redundant. For the sake of brevity, I shall just say "ditto". Nonetheless, here we are. A new year, a new class, and new hopes. If you've seen the post I wrote after receiving last year's AP scores, you already know that this year is going to be a bit different. Yes, this year students will be taking daily comprehension quizzes and completing practice questions at the end of each day. And yes I will be keeping detailed data reports so that I can respond to problems before they arise, but I think that this year's differences will go beyond mere procedure.

AP Biology, 2013-2014 edition, is the second smallest AP class I've had (11) and is composed of many students that I've seen in previous classes. Thus far I've appreciated the way that the students have tackled the tasks placed before them with eagerness and resolve, and thankfully complaining hasn't tickled my ears once. In addition, because the class is small I am enjoying the opportunity to work with the students on a more individual basis and having more time to review work in class. Furthermore, my summer has been spent stalking the AP Bio listserv from which I've picked up some fantastic ideas for classroom activities that can be used to help AP Bio build the skills that they will need to succeed on their exam. All of that aside, they're a fun group. I'm looking forward to an interesting year with them.

Ok, I think I'm done rambling. What I had intended to do was introduce the first of many installments of the week in review. If you are a regular reader, you know how this goes. Each week we choose a student who will be in charge of reporting on all that transpires in Lab207 during the given week. This time around Winta Daniel get's the honors of starting us off.

Winta Writes:

Seeing as though this was our first full week of class, things went pretty smoothly and in a steady and manageable pace. We started of the week by learning about water, which is a polar molecule, and how it is able to form hydrogen bonds with 4 other bonds. Also, we talked about each of its properties; cohesion, adhesion, surface tension, and moderation of temperature, but interestingly enough Mr. Kite also mentioned how water is able to have hydrophobic or hydrophilic relations with other compounds or substances. Next we learned about the acid and bases and how buffer systems are used to stabilize the ph of a solution. We even learned about Carbon and how isomers are molecules with the same chemical make-up but they vary in architecture; along with the types of isomers; structural, geometric, and enantionmers. Lastly, we talked about each of the macromolecules and the similarities and differences between all of them. Polymers are building blocks that are used repeatedly to make up a molecule. Storage polysaccharides are found in plants, while glycogen is found in animals, and cellulose is indigestible by humans but it is the major component of plant cell walls. Nucleotides are made up of phosphates, sugars, and a nitrogenous base; and when the phosphates connect to Deoxyribose, 5 prime sugars can link to 3 prime sugars to give DNA a sense of direction (therefore helping with making the DNA strands antiparallel). Lastly, we discussed fats (lipids, steroids, and phospholipids), which aren’t considered true polymers because they don’t have a repeating subunit monomer, however they are able to grouped together by a specific quality (non-polar and extremely hydrophobic).

If you are an AP teacher out there reading my rantings, what are you looking forward to this year?