Issuu on Google+

VOL. XLVIII, NO. 2 MISSION SAN JOSE HIGH SCHOOL October 26, 2012 41717 PALM AVENUE, FREMONT, CA 94539 AP Biology first to change Students in space By Anna Zeng Staff Writer By Peter Qiu Staff Writer For the 2012-13 school year, the College Board has implemented a revised Advanced Placement (AP) Biology program focused on conceptual understanding and inquiry-based learning. The AP revision program, Advances in AP, aims to bring focus on concepts and analysis to other AP science programs in the future as well. “I’m jazzed about the changes,” says AP Biology Teacher Karrie Ware, “[In previous years,] AP Biology had become a class of memorization. Students were [just] not well-versed on how to talk about science. [But now,] labs are the core of the course. I see students taking ownership of what they do in class. I think this is the way to go.” The modifications of the AP Biology curriculum reflect the promotion of inquiry-based, conceptual learning and scientific practices. The scope of the course has been narrowed to allow for conceptual understanding and discourage rote memorization, which the conceptual guidelines clearly stated to be “beyond the score of the course and the AP exam.” The AP Biology revision committee places a strong emphasis on scientific methodology, as the critical thinking skills demanded by the use of such methodology are great indicators of mastery over the material and readiness to study more advanced topics. The old lab manual, with its twelve recommended experiments, has been replaced with a new lab manual aimed at enabling students to self-design their labs. The course also includes quantitative analysis in the form of statistical tests, yet another push towards scientific practices. The new AP Biology exam format has also been tweaked to better fit the curriculum’s new approach. To promote critical thinking rather than memorization, the exam now offers grid-in questions and fewer, longer multiple choice problems. Exam questions are now more scenario-based and will consequently take more time to solve; in response to this, the AP Biology revision committee decided to reduce the number of possible mul- The Student Spaceflights Experiments Program (SSEP), known as Students in Space at MSJ, is a national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) initiative aimed towards children and young adults from fifth grade through college, with a focus on students in middle school and high school. SSEP is a research competition founded by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) partnered with Nanoracks LLC. in 2010, and is designed to spark students’ interest in science by immersing them into the realm of micro-gravity. Only 24 schools across the nation were chosen to participate in this competition, and MSJ was lucky enough to have been among this group. Chosen schools form “communities” comprising of usually anywhere between 300 to 3200 students; communities are broken down by grade level, which are further broken down into individual student teams of roughly five members who first compete in a community-wide competition, with the finalists progressing to a national competition judged by a board of professional engineers and scientists. At MSJ, Math Teacher Charlie Brucker currently heads the program. SSEP is focused towards contrasting experimental results on Earth to those in a low-earth orbit, micro-gravitational, or near weightless environment. The competition is much more complex than it seems. In a microgravity environment, there is no convection, sedimentation, buoyancy, or stratification, so this will provide a truly unique set of challenges for the students. Competitors will design an experiment which can be conducted using an experimental Fluids Mixing Enclosure (FME), which is made of a large Teflon tube enclosure that holds two smaller glass ampoules, capsules similar to test tubes. Anywhere from one to three fluids can be placed in the ampoules or in the tube. There are very few limitations on what these substances can be, just as long as they aren’t harmful or hazardous. Students begin by working on a five page proposal describing See BIO NEWS Page 2 See NASA NEWS Page 2 graphics editor angie wang MSJHS Fall Play: Bull in a China Shop November 9, 10, 16, 17 at 7:00 PM Doors open at 6:30 PM Tickets: $10 General; $8 Child/UP. A handsome detective moves in next door to four elderly woman, who try desperately and comically to catch his attention. Tickets are available online at You may also call (510) 668-6077 or email world series The highly anticipated World Series is quickly approaching. Which team will claim the title? Sports surf forum Find out what happened at a student-teacher forum discussing upcoming school board elections. News casual vacancy J.K. Rowling’s new adult book Casual Vacancy recently debuted. Was it a huge hit or a miss? A&E

Vol. XLVIII, No. 2

Related publications