Course Syllabus

Welcome to AP Biology!

My name is Mrs. Hammersmith and I am excited to be teaching this class. I have been teaching AP Biology for many years and it is always one of my favorite things to teach. I have attended Ohio Northern University for my undergraduate degree and attended Seton Hill and Western Governors University for my Masters Degrees. You can reach my easiest via email at

Together the Advanced Biology Topics first semester and the AP Biology course second semester are designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester college introductory biology. AP Biology concentrates on three general areas: molecules and cells; heredity and evolution; and organisms and populations.  There are prerequisites for this course. You should have taken Honors Biology and Honors Chemistry for this class. APES is also helpful and you should have already completed Honors Math 3.  Even though at the beginning of the year we will be doing the majority of the learning virtually you will still be expected to meet all deadlines for work. Late work will not receive a grade higher than a 50%. 

This Biology course will allow students to understand, master, and apply biological principles through the exploration of the following biological big ideas during the academic year (from the AP Biology Course Description):

Big Idea 1: The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.

Big Idea 2: Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.

Big Idea 3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes.

Big Idea 4: Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.


In addition to the 4 main big ideas, the students are focusing on 6 science practices in the evolving world of science.


Science Practice 1: Concept Explanation

Science Practice 2: Visual Representation

Science Practice 3: Questions and Methods

Science Practice 4: Representing and Describing Data


I organize my class into 8 large units. This class aims to provide students with the conceptual framework, factual knowledge, and the analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the rapidly changing science of Biology. Primary emphasis is on developing an understanding of concepts. Essential to this conceptual understanding are the following: a grasp of science as a process rather than an accumulation of facts; personal experience in scientific inquiry; recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.  We will not necessarily complete the units in this order.


Unit 1- The Chemistry of Life (Chapters 1-5)

Unit 2: Cell Biology (Chapters 6-7) 

Unit 3: Cellular Energetics(Chapters 8-10) But I also will teach some plant information here from Chapters 29, 30, 35-39)

Unit 4- Cell Communication, Cell Cycle and Anatomy (Chapters 11, 12 and parts of Chapters 40-50) Also including Bacteria and Viruses (Chapters 19 and 27)

Unit 5- Meiosis and Heredity (Chapter 13-15)

Unit 6- Gene Expression and Regulation (Chapters 16-21) ** this may be split up into 2 units

Unit 7- Natural Selection (Chapters 22-26)

Unit 8- Ecology (Chapters 52-56)

AP Exam Review

                        **Other lab activities and projects will be included at instructor’s discretion.

AP Exam is Friday May 14th at 8am!


If you are a parent and want to become an observer in the canvas course so you can see what is going on daily please follow these directions. Canvas_Parent_Account_Creation_10_8.pdf

Course Summary:

Date Details Due