AP biology is undoubtedly one of the toughest curriculums on the high school syllabus. Though it is second only to AP chemistry in how challenging the syllabus is, it’s still one of the top-opted subjects by students.
Ap Biology focuses specifically on practical learning of how things grow, transform, and develop certain traits depending on variable conditions. Remember the germination experiment we all had as 3rd graders where we put beans on a wet tissue? Yea, it’s more or less the same concept but on a much advanced level.
Organizing AP Biology Experiments & Lessons For Teaching
Organizing experiments for high school AP biology is a little more complicated than it looks. On one side, you have limited and/or outdated equipment. And to the other, you have a class of kids who want immediate and flashy reactions at the lab. Both are very contradicting!
However, we’ve listed below some of the most recommended and feasible AP Biology experiments at a High School level.
1. Growth Of Organisms
Organism growth has long been the center of Biologists’ interests. Watching a certain organism evolve, mutate, and undergo mitosis is the heart of any biological experiment.
But to conduct such an experiment at a high school level, you must carefully select the organism to be observed. The organism chosen should grow rapidly enough for students to take notes from. Also, it should be reactive to the changes in the environment to develop a hypothesis at the end.
One top contender for such experiments is mold. It is easily created, proliferates, and is extremely sensitive to external environmental conditions.
An experiment should be organized in such a way that mold is allowed to grow over stale food. The patches where mold develops first should be marked and taken note of. Later on, you can try changing the environmental conditions such as light intensity, humidity levels, and the surrounding temperatures.
Making the students observe changes in the rate of growth of the organism is an excellent idea to excite your high school students. You can try different mold samples when conducting the test in a class and differentiate between the various types based on certain traits.
2. Observing Plant Growth
Plants, too, should be an important part of high school AP biology experiments. They play an important role as the subject evolves into treatment and medication.
On the contrary, plants are also inexpensive and easy to observe for a high school laboratory.
You can schedule different experiments educating your students about how plants grow, changes in the color of their leaves, height and density, and oxygen output levels.
For the leaves’ color change experiment, growing the same plant species under different conditions will extract ideal results. Grow a sample in a darker area while you plant the other in ample sunlight. Similarly, grow a plant without ample water while you grow the other with ample moisture. And the same going for any nutrients that go in the soil and other care measures.
Moreover, you can organize a test for oxygen using seaweed, such as Elodea. Grow the plant in an upside-down tube filled with water. Any oxygen produced by the plant will rise up in the tube and create airspace.
This can be depicted to analyze how much oxygen a plant produces under different conditions.
Giving the young students a touch of chemistry is important for Ap biology. Since AP biology involves many crucial functions of basic chemistry concepts, it’s always good to give the kids an early start on things.
You can conduct a high school AP biology experiment by allowing the children to analyze how different organisms have various chemical properties. These experiments can be carried out with the most basic chemical tools such as beakers, litmus paper, etc.
A simple example can be drawn from testing different fruits and vegetables for acidity. Grow the fruits and vegetables under different conditions to amplify specific traits of the plant. And then test them for acidity via litmus paper.
Some suggestions for such an experiment are onions, lemons, and other citrus fruits. These foods are naturally acidic, and varying aspects during the growth and evolution will definitely bring variable differences in the reading at the end.
Biochemistry is without a doubt the most attractive part of AP biology to high school students. And incorporating such experiments will leave their taste buds satisfied while inculcating good learning.