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Sunday, September 21, 2014

AP Biology Resources

I expect my students to be utilizing all resources available to them in this amazing technological age.  Here are my top resources that I want my students to use this year, and in college.

Mastering Biology 

Mastering Biology is a textbook-linked site that allows teacher to assign online assignments.  All assignments are shown on a calendar, and depending on settings, students can rework the assignment for less points or the first time through is for a grade and they can retry for added practice and understanding.  I use mastering biology as some flipped assignments, review questions (from the test bank), and as bonus for completing the activities and tutorials.

I like to randomize assignments when possible, so that students are tempted to work together.  It doesn't take long to set up assignments, and no time to grade - just pull up the grade book.  I do also change point values for questions depending on the time it takes and the assignment.  If I am offering bonus, I usually assign a lot of questions or activities for 1/10 of a point each.  Some items are not phone-friendly which is problematic for my students so I try to assign these as early as possible.  My past students say that they use this in college also.


Quizlet it a site and app that would work for any subject matter.  Quizlet is a great way to work with vocabulary.  I use it for prefix quizzes, and I encourage students to make flashcards on it for all their classes.  It's free (unlike paper notecards) and  it has more for the students to do than just flip cards.

They can actually play games.  I like Scatter best.  Not all options are available on the phone, but this does work on computers, tablets and phones.  The  students can make their own cards, share them, or search for cards someone else made.  They can even join your class and get notifications when you upload new sets.

HHMI BioInteractive

There are amazing animations from HHMI BioInteractive.  And they often have two levels of detail.  You could use the less detailed version for a regular Biology class, and more detailed for an AP class.  Or you could use the less detailed as an intro then more detailed as a close to your lesson


I know.  They are already there ... watching things that are probably not very educational.  But there are a lot of educational videos out there.  I have several channels I recommend.

  • MrsJacobsAPBio 
    • My videos are far from perfect, but I think kids want to learn from you, so I try.  You will hear my kid in the background or my phone rings.  Sometimes the videos are too long, or I sound boring, or depressed or like I am hiding in my closet (maybe I am), and sometimes I mess up.  But my videos are done.   
  • My You Tube "Guest Speakers" include:
    • Bozeman Science
      • Mr. Anderson's videos are much more entertaining and professional than mine.  I know many teachers who flip their classrooms just using his videos.  I do like assigning a few to let the students know that they can use any resources they can find for other explanations for the material.
    • Crash Course
      • Crash course has fast paced, funny videos.  I think they are a nice change of pace, and I think everyone needs something a little difference.  And there is more than just science.
    • Khan Academy
      • Khan Academy has so many topics, it is a great place to start if you need a little more explanation for any subject at any time.  The videos are a little longer than I use for flipped classroom, but if you are trying to increase understanding or you miss class it is a great resource.
    • TED
      • I love TED Talks.  These videos can be found on YouTube or at the TED site or app.  And sometimes videos are available only in one of these two places.  If you know of a great appropriate talk for high school biology, AP biology, forensics, science (in general), or just to be a more aware 18 year old entering the world, send it to me!  These are my go to resource if there is 10 minutes at the end of that one class that works faster than every other class.
I am sure there are more and I may update this post as the year goes on.  What resources do you expect your students to use?

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