AP Bio at Southern Alamance High School

Posted by William Benson on 3/15/2019

I spent the morning in Ms. Moore’s AP Biology class at Southern Alamance High School today. After a warm-up exercise where students reviewed the six Kingdoms (I remember when there were only five.) and how organisms are placed in a phylogenetic trees, students worked on sample open-ended questions from the AP Biology exam – Free Response Friday.  (Coincidentally, I discussed the importance of good open-ended questions with principals at our last leadership meeting.) One of the questions required students to review data collected by observing subcellular structures of three different types of eukaryotic cells, including endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria, cilia, and golgi bodies. Students were asked to use the data to identify a likely primary function of each cell type and explain how the data supports the identification.


After a couple of pre-lab exercises,  students then moved on investigative work using BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool), an on-line bioinformatic tool used to seek out gene sequences. BLAST allows students (and scientists for that matter) to search gene sequences of interest across entire genomic libraries, producing matches in seconds (Imagine writing a three-word sequence on a post-it note and searching every text in a public library for matches.). The point? Looking for relatedness at the genetic level. If you would like to check it out, you will find the link on Ms. Moore’s AP Bio Helpful Link page (https://www.abss.k12.nc.us/Page/19946).


Ms. Moore is an exceptional teacher. Her passion for biology is contagious and her positive rapport with students is palpable!