Domain #0-1: Intro the AP Biology and the Science Practices


Watch the video above. It is the introduction to the course and discusses the Science Practices. Future videos will have questions with them but I will spare you the work…for now.  Instead if you watched this video, subscribe to the channel.


I hope summer is going well. Days are winding down. Enjoy the time you have left. We are about to hit the ground running.

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Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Reading Update

I hope you all are enjoying the summer reading Immortal Life of Hentrietta Lacks. If you haven’t started reading it yet, I highly suggest you do so. The reading and poster project are due 8-13-18 and at the time of this writing, that is nearly a month away.

I’ve begun my own re-read of the book to be up to date on the material. A discussion is being tentatively planned for around the week of the 13th (lesson plans are fluid at this point in time). I’ll share my thoughts then.

Now for something that may help most of you out. I stumbled upon this article that lists The Five Contributions HeLa Cells Have Made To Science. This is a nice starting point for multiple research poster projects and something I highly recommend checking into as you work on your respective projects.

“Science and literature are not two things, but two sides of one thing.”
-Thomas Huxley


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AP Bio Scores 2017-18 are in! plus other updates


I must say, I am proud of the crew of students that took the AP Exam last spring. That exam turned out to be one of the more challenging exams of the last few years based on score distribution. It was harder to make a 3 in years past and somewhat easier to make a 4 or 5, but also easier to make a 1 or 2.

I am proud to say all of my students that took the AP Bio Exam earned a 3 or higher! This translates to all of them have earned potential college credit!

I will not be able to see the subject breakdown for another few days. I am curious to see how my students fared on the different aspects of the course so I can better plan the material.

In a case of small sample theater, my students have had a 100% “Pass” rate on the AP Bio Exam. Of course, there have been only  11 total students overt the past 2 years to take the AP Bio exam. Like I said, small sample theater. The credit goes to the students  that take the exam. They are the ones that put forth all the work. I just provide the tools to help them reach their potential.


In other news, I wasn’t active throughout June due to vacations and general unwind time. I tend to approach teaching with all of my energy for 10-11 months of the year. June is typically the month I step away from the books and planners to unwind. That said, it is July. It is officially Prep Season (#Prepszn). I am excited to see every and one of my students in class this coming August 6th.  A lot of work remains to be done. A functional rearrangement of the scope and sequence in AP Bio. An updated curriculum for the new Bio Standards. Then finish developing the comparative anatomy curriculum. A lot of work but easily doable in the weeks ahead.

AP Bio students now is the time to start reading Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and work on your summer assignments, if you haven’t already. It is crunch time.

Hope you have enjoyed your summer, so far.

27 days and counting

-Mr. Jennings

“Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.”

-Stephen Hawking


1st Annual AP Bio Boonies

To crib from a little TV show called  The Office, we ended the year in AP Biology with the award ceremony, the Boonies (named after our school, Daniel Boone).

Prizes included serious titles (most likely to succeed) and humorous inside jokes (Most likely to be the Grimace). This year was a blast and I wanted to let everyone know how much fun it was and to reward them for their hard work. Thanks go out to the group of students (the self-proclaimed Coven) for help decorate and get this tradition rolling. 

This officially concludes the 2017-2018 school year. Things are changing fast. The new school year will be here before you know it. New standards in general biology and I will be teaching Comparative Anatomy next year, as well.

Keep an eye on the site over the summer as I will be sharing my thoughts on my re-read of Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and my quest to complete my own scavenger hunt. Additionally, changes will be happening to the layout.

“When you make a choice, you change the future.”
― Deepak Chopra


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Reflections on 2017-2018

May is the month of reflection for me as a teacher. It isn’t that I don’t reflect throughout the year, I do. Instead during the slew of testing and grading, I take moment to look back on the year that was.

AP Biology is the class I reflect on the most this time of the year. It is year long and I don’t get to do many revisions mid-stream, or at least major overhauls that come from a new batch of students every semester in the traditional block class format. This stability has lead to one benefit in that I have got to know everyone in those two classes. Each block is their own family and it is fantastic to be a part of that.

I feel I gave my all to AP Bio 2017-18 and I feel that the students did the same. I look back on these two classes fondly. There were a lot of laughs, inside-jokes, and (most importantly) learning this past school year. I learned a lot about myself as a teacher from this group. I learned to be more considerate of my students. I learned that I am not the only teacher in their world. I learned that students will persevere and rise to any challenge, yet do not overwhelm them.

I hope my students learned how to be a scientific and critical thinker. I hope they learned more about biology (Their final exams have shown me that this is a reality). Still, I hope they learned more about themselves. I remember the challenge of AP Bio in High School, and I learned a lot about myself as a person and a student from that. I have applied that to my life. I implore my students to do the same. To borrow a nugget of wisdom from my colleague Mr. Dishner, productive struggling is key to success. You learn more about yourself that way.

Productive struggle is not meant to punish but to encourage learning. Research shows that struggling activates learning centers in the brain and helps commit new skills to long term memory. It is like struggling when playing a video game. At first, it is frustration as you struggle to complete the objective. Yet, overtime you learn the skills and tricks necessary to complete the game. You can step away from that game for years, but you will be able to pick it back up and never miss a beat.

These thirty-three students were some of the finest students to ever grace my classroom in my 6 years of teaching. I thank you all for this experience.

There is still room for improvement. I am already planning on the future of the course with some major overhauls coming next year in terms of scope and sequence. AP Bio 2018-19 will be the best version yet and it will constantly get better.

Biology I was a fun experience this year with familiar faces from the past. It was my first time teaching the course in 4 years, but I think this year was the best yet. AP Bio has sharpened my skills and honed my craft. I wish I could have done more with you all, but time did not permit it. Next year, Biology I is being revamped with the advent of the new Tennessee Science Standards. I have been practicing and preparing for this roll out since January. I am excited for future students and for my current students as they move on to Chemistry, Physics, and hopefully the AP Sciences. I am partial to AP Biology, but you cannot go wrong with any of them.

I know we still have a few days ahead, but farewell classes of 2017-2018.

“Why should we look to the past in order to prepare for the future? Because there is nowhere else to look.”

-James Burke

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AP Biology Summer 2018 Assignment


This is a fun course, but it is a challenge. To help best prepare you for the class, I have developed a summer assignment. The due dates are included in the document.

The point of summer assignment is not to overwork you but instead prepare you. I encourage you to take your time with the reading and don’t rush things. Take time and reflect on the book.

As Summer approaches remember, spending time with your family is important. That is why I included the scavenger hunt. It is optional, but something that my students enjoyed doing last year. I even participated and had a blast.

I will be updating the site throughout the summer and I would encourage every student to check in at least once a week. I will be re-reading Henrietta Lacks along with you all and I will include my thoughts in weekly posts. I will likely set up a discussion board once I get the kinks worked out so we can discuss the details of the book.

This is a new website and I have never hosted on this platform before.  A lot of new programs to figure out.  Like I said, check out the website once a week for updates regarding the book and course preparations.

If you have any concerns or questions contact me at 

Summer Assignment Found Here


“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” 

-Marie Curie



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