The Wall

It's happened in every one of my AP Bio classes, that point at which the students smack up against some topic or idea that is completely foreign. At this point I generally say, "Welcome to AP!" and we see what the students are made of. This class's "wall" appears to have been cellular respiration and photosynthesis. To be fair, these two topics are totally abstract and absolutely foreign. I might as well be teaching them about string theory or an archeological dig. Our previous two units were simply deeper versions of material the students had seen in basic biology. When it comes to energy, however, basic biology only teaches students that there is a magical molecule called ATP made in the mitochondria and used to power the cell. The AP student ... they have to know all the ins and outs of how our magical molecule is made. It certainly is not the easiest or most enjoyable task, but this group were good sports and put forth a solid effort.

I've focused my introduction on this sense of struggle because it is the overarching theme that I detected as I read through Peter Addo's Week in Review submission. After reading his account, I would be curious to hear your thoughts. Also, I would recommend clicking the link to the photosynthesis lab, it's a good one!

Peter Writes:

Last week class was very unstable. There were many mistakes from videos to arguably the toughest free response set of questions ever. On Monday we talked about the Krebs and Glycolysis video from Friday. To my relief the videos were so long and complicated that Mr. Kite refused to test us on the topic. We still had the option of taking the quiz for credit. On Tuesday we talked about the Electron transport chain and Fermentation. On Wednesday we has a discussion on the light reactions. We also did an online visual lab on photosynthesis. The visual lab made it easier to translate the complicated explanation into simple steps. This came of high value in the test that we took on Friday. On Thursday we discussed the Calvin cycle check and proceeded on to do the Jeopardy. I always enjoy Jeopardy, because it gives me the chance to evaluate myself on the knowledge that I know. This Jeopardy was the most competitive Jeopardy of all time. All the groups went head to head against each other. This brought the best and competitive side out of each of the group. When the atmosphere was cleared, there was a tie result. Many groups argued that they had lost some points in the shuffle. The final Jeopardy still couldn’t eliminate any groups. Everybody was rewarded five extra points for the quiz. I must say that, those five points were much needed in the problematic dominated free response test.