We have all been waiting, and the day has finally arrived – access to the new AP Biology Course and Exam Description! What does this new curriculum mean for AP Biology teachers next year? Will we be spending summer break re-making our entire course?
Now Available! New AP Biology Unit Review Guides and Resource List from Science of Curiosity!
I have to admit, I was a bit frustrated when I first heard that the AP Biology curriculum would be changing for 2019. It feels like I am just getting comfortable with the current (now-old?) course framework!
I have my units planned out, I have all my tests, activities, review packets and Labs scheduled for the year…. And then I find out it may all change? It called for weeping (which I actually did..for real…more like sobbing).
But after getting some of those emotions out, I decided to wait and see what College Board had for us.
I took a look at the preview and explanation of the changes, and they actually seemed to make sense. I began to think this may be okay.
So when I got the email that the new AP Biology Curriculum framework was available, I couldn’t wait to dive in and see what it was all about.
My overall opinion of the new AP Biology Curriculum?
It is awesome.
Maybe it was just me, but I found the organization of the now-old curriculum to be….cumbersome? Overwhelming? Disjointed and impossible to teach as presented in the Curriculum Framework organized by Big Ideas.
I spent hours (hours…days…weeks…months) my first year teaching tearing apart the 4 Big Ideas to find similar Essential Knowledge chunks to put into actual cohesive units.
Imagine the relief when I discovered that the new AP Biology curriculum is already organized in Units! Streamlined by SUBJECT! And, as it turns out, they are just about the same units that I was already teaching, and in just about the same order!
College Board did not abandon the 4 Big Ideas, they are still there and referenced in each Learning Objective, but they are not the central way of organizing content as they were before.
New AP Biology Units
Now there are eight units. Each one follows a single idea, with multiple sub topics, Learning Objectives, and Essential Knowledge statements nested into them.
If you are very familiar with the now-old curriculum framework, you will recognize similar wording of the Essential Knowledge statements. Some are almost exactly the same, while others seem to have been merged together or adjusted a bit for clarity.
This is great news! It means that all of our resources, power points, activities, tests, and quizzes are still useful! We DON’T have to completely reinvent everything for next year! I cried all of those tears for no reason!
And even more good news – there are a few topics that were eliminated in this new AP Biology Curriculum. Along with a handful of other things, the human body (nervous system, endocrine system, etc) was removed so that more time can be spent on other subjects.
Speaking of time, the new framework document even gives teachers an idea of how much time each unit should take. It is perfect for brand new teachers just getting started with AP Biology – I wish this had been available my first year! The new curriculum will make planning so much easier for new teachers!
Of course, teachers do not have to follow the prescribed unit plans that College Board organized in the new AP Biology curriculum. Buy why reinvent the wheel when its rolling along so nicely?
I will still have a bit of tweaking and rearranging to do, but I think this new framework will make teaching all of the required course content much more straight forward.
New AP Biology Review Guides
Over the past year, I began offering all of my AP Biology review guides on Teachers Pay Teachers. I designed the review guides to have the Curriculum Framework for each Essential Knowledge on the same page as review questions specifically aligned to that standard.
While the topics of the new AP Biology Curriculum are very similar, subjects are now in totally different order than the previous Big Idea centered curriculum!
The study guides have been re-made to align with the new AP Biology Curriculum. Each unit is available individually, or together in an eight-unit bundle.
Review questions are open ended, and incorporate graphs, drawings, diagrams and models of key concepts. The review guides also include (in total) over 250 additional links to free resources and ideas for teaching, all 100% aligned to specific Essential Knowledge statements.
Other Changes You Will Love
College Board has given us a few more goodies. They have promised access to formative assessment questions aligned to these new units, and free response questions, to help students prepare for the AP Exam!
How great is that?
There have also been adjustments to the AP Exam. Starting next year, the test will not include grid in math questions, and only four short-answer free response questions.
All of these changes will take a considerable amount of stress off of both teacher and student!
Here is a link to the new AP Biology Curriculum Course and Exam Description. Take a look for yourself! I think you will like what you see.
What do you think about the new curriculum framework? Tell us below in the comments!