Course Descriptions

Classes may require participant computers to access Instructor curriculum on USB. Check the WHAT TO BRING in the course descriptions below.  NOTE: If you wish to have hard copies, you have the option of downloading and printing USB-delivered curriculum prior to Institute.

PreAP courses provide teachers with strategies and tools to engage students in learning that encourages critical thinking for success in AP® courses.

NEW TEACHER courses are designed for teachers with three or less years of experience teaching the AP® or PreAP® course or those newly assigned to teach the course.

EXPERIENCED TEACHER courses are for those secondary teachers who have taught the AP® or PreAP® course for more than three years.

COMBINED courses  are open to teachers of all experience levels

Week 1
July 23 – July 26
Week 2
July 30 – August 2
AP® Biology (new teachers) AP® Calculus AB (new teachers)
AP® Calculus AB (experienced teachers) AP® Chemistry (experienced teachers)
AP® Chemistry (new teachers) AP® Computer Science A (new teachers)
AP® English Language & Composition (new teachers)
AP® Physics 1 (combined) AP® English Language & Composition (experienced teachers)
AP® Spanish Literature & Culture (combined) AP® English Literature & Composition (experienced teachers)
AP® U.S. History (combined teachers) AP® English Literature & Composition (new teachers)

AP® Human Geography (combined)

AP® Physics 2 (combined)

AP® Spanish Language & Culture (combined)
AP® World History (new teachers) AP® Studio Art (combined)
AP® US Government & Politics
Pre AP® English MS (combined)  

AP® World History (experienced teachers)

Pre AP® Chemistry (combined)
Pre AP® Math HS (combined)
Pre AP® Math MS (combined)


AP® Biology (new teachers) – Mark Adame
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Over the course of the Summer Institute, new and experienced teachers alike will become familiar with the new and revised AP Biology course syllabus, as described in College Boards course description publication. This will include various strategies and hands-on activities that may help both students and teachers alike to become more comfortable with the new AP Biology curriculum. In addition to these strategies, teachers will become familiar with the inquiry-based approach to laboratory investigations.

APSI AP Biology Course Objectives: To introduce teachers to (and become familiar with):
• An AP Biology course and the exam
• Writing an AP Biology Course Syllabus
• The more difficult concepts in AP Biology
• How to write a Free Response, response
• Inquiry-Based Laboratories and laboratory write-ups
• The concepts of AP Vertical Teams and Pre-AP Biology
• AP Biology textbooks and multimedia resources
• Teaching strategies for under-prepared and prepared AP Biology students

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop

NOTE: Biology teachers must follow the University’s lab safety rules by wearing closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants or skirts, and goggles during all lab activities.  Please bring goggles.

AP® Calculus AB (experienced teachers) – Stacey McMullen
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AB Calculus is a course designed for teachers who would like teaching strategies, methods and materials on how to prepare students for success in Advanced Placement Calculus. During this week, participants will learn how to introduce challenging concepts utilizing a variety of activities, incorporate the new pedagogy and topics of the Advanced Placement program into their curriculum, and integrate technology and the internet for a more interactive classroom. In addition, teachers will collaborate together on discovery lessons, learn techniques to assist those students who are underprepared, and play teacher-made games to emphasize retention of the calculus. Two major themes, rigor in the classroom and student thinking, will be stressed and modeled all week.

What To Bring:
• Jump drive
• Note taking materials
• Laptop
• Most importantly, your energy and enthusiasm to participate in this fun-filled learning experience!

AP® Chemistry (new teachers) – Janice Willingham:
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This workshop is designed for teachers who are beginning their careers as AP Chemistry teachers.  Time will be spent during the sessions on the nature of the AP program and on structuring an AP Chemistry course.  Many labs are discussed and teachers are given an opportunity to do a number of typical labs appropriate for AP Chemistry. Topics that are often covered are teaching and testing techniques, periodicity, bonding, states of matter, kinetics, equilibrium, instrumentation, equations and product prediction, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry.  The workshop makes considerable use of the graphing calculator and the CBL as a data collection device. Typical AP problems and essays are discussed, and strategies for enabling students to perform well on the AP exam will be shared.

What To Bring:
•  30 copies of your  favorite demo and/or experiment to share with fellow participants
• Goggles and appropriate shoe attire for lab experiments
• Note taking materials

NOTE: Chemistry teachers must follow the University’s lab safety rules by wearing closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants or skirts, and goggles during all lab activities. 

AP® English Language & Composition  – Patricia Cain
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USB curriculum can be downloadedWhat To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop for electronic curriculum

AP® Physics 1 (combined) – Barbara Watson



AP® Spanish Literature & Culture (combined) – Marisa Perez-Bernardo
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USB curriculum can be downloaded

This summer institute will familiarize participants with the AP Spanish Literature and Culture course and examination. This AP Spanish literature and Culture workshop will provide you with strategies, resources, and activities for teaching an effective AP course.

In this APSI you will:

  • Explore Spanish, Latin-American, and U.S. Latino authors and their works from the medieval period to present day.
  • Make thematic connections between texts of various genres and historical periods.
  • Make interdisciplinary connections to the literature of the Spanish-Speaking world through art, film, history, and other academic disciplines.
  • Examine Spanish literature within the contexts of its time and place.
  • Analyze different AP Spanish Literature and Culture exams.
  • Create a syllabus for the AP Spanish Literature and Culture course.
  • Create a lesson plan for the next academic year.

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop for electronic curriculum

AP® U.S. History (combined teachers) – Matt Cone
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This course is designed to help teachers build a successful AP US history program.  The course will begin with “nuts and bolts” considerations like tackling the exam, understanding the curriculum framework, and pacing the course.  From there, the course will address building skills for AP US History, including writing skills, critical thinking skills, and document analysis skills.  Teachers are encouraged to bring a laptop computer or web-enabled device for use during collaborative activities.

What to Bring
•  Note taking materials
•  Computer


AP® World History (new teachers) – Paul Philp
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USB curriculum

4Day AP World History Workshop Agenda:

Day 1
 1 hour Introduction: Changes in World History 2017 – 2018
Understanding the Course
.30 minutes Introduction:  Roll Playing – Enrolling in AP World History
2 hours Lesson 3:  Understanding the Thematic Learning Objectives & Key Concepts
1 hour Lesson 2:  Developing and Mastering Student Understanding
1.5 hours Lesson 1:  Historical Thinking Skills and the AP World History course
Planning Your Course
2 hours Lesson 4:  Analyzing Historical Sources and Evidence – Primary Sources
DAY 2 

Historical Thinking Skills

1.5 hours Lesson 5: Analyzing Historical Sources and Evidence – Secondary Sources
1.5 hours Lesson 6:  Chronological Reasoning, Causation, Change and Continuity over Time
2.5 hours Lesson 7:  Making Historical Connections – Comparison and Contextualization
2 hours Lesson 8:  Argument Development
2 hours Lesson 10:  Selecting Resources to Support Teaching AP World History
2 hours Lesson 11:  Strategies for Teaching AP World History
1.5 hours Lesson 9: Sequencing Your Course
Teaching the AP World History Course
2 hours Lesson 12:  Planning Your Course
4 hours Lesson 13:  Assessing Student Understanding
Curricular Requirements and Syllabus Development
2 hours Lesson 15:  Unit Development (Graduate Credit or Makeup Hours)
1.5 hours Lesson 14:  Curricular Requirements and Syllabus Development

All exercises will focus of a specific geographic region which will change each summer. In the summer of 2017, the focus will be Sub-Saharan Africa.

Additionally, time permitting and based on the needs of participants, the last hour of each day the consultant will present historical content not limited to but including a short lecture and teaching materials.

Learning Goals:
Teachers will be able to…
1.  Explain how the historical thinking skills tie the course together.
2.  Explain how the parts of the curriculum framework fit together and complement one another.
3.  Explain the scope of the course.
4.  Explain the themes of AP World History and explain how the thematic learning objectives define what students should know and be able to do by the end of the AP World History course
5.  Explain how student understanding will be assessed on the exam.
6.  Explain the rubrics for the free-response questions and applying them to students’ responses.
7.  Describe the Instructional Planning Report and evaluate the information in order to improve instruction.
8.  Explain and apply the historical thinking skills.
9.  Utilize effective instructional strategies to develop historical thinking skills and content knowledge.
10. Apply their knowledge of content and pedagogy to build a unit of instruction.
11. Align instruction and assessment, as well as instruction and the learning objectives.
12. Assess student understanding and providing feedback.
13. Implement the curricular requirements and include them in their syllabi.
14.  Describe available resources and how to use them in class.
15.  Explain how students demonstrate understanding.
16.  Sequence their courses to scaffold concepts and historical thinking skills.
17. Explain the value of including all students in AP.
18. Describe the equity and access policy and how they can implement it in their classrooms.
19. Identify the supports available to teach the AP World History course.
What to bring:
•  Post-it notes or flags
•  highlighters
•  Computer for electronic curriculum


Pre AP® English M.S. – Kristina Janeway
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Course members will participate in Pre-AP and AP strategies through hands-on activities for all aspects of English/Language Arts through a variety of mini-lessons that include analysis, grammar, writing, research, technology, and projects. Teachers will discover techniques to implement varied sentence structures into student writing by understanding the basic concepts of syntactical and diction analysis. Teachers will uncover methods for students in mastery of writing and analysis techniques in addition to integrating different technology applications into their courses. The APSI is designed to assist teachers through interactive applications of concepts as well as sample lessons to assist in implementation. Teachers will have the opportunity during training to adapt and integrate of these strategies into existing scopes and sequences as well as individual lesson plans.

What to bring:
• Computer for electronic curriculum
• List of all reading selections taught
• Copy of your school/department scope and sequence as well as standards
• Note taking supplies
• 8G flash drive for digital files
• Lesson plan book or lesson plan


AP® Calculus AB (new teachers) – Scott Pass
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The goal of this seminar is to prepare teachers to teach AP Calculus AB so their students can be successful on the AP Calculus Exam. This course will introduce various aspects of the AP Calculus Framework by showing how a reformed curriculum emphasizing the graphical, numerical, verbal and symbolic representations of calculus can enhance the learning of calculus. Participants will explore connections between topics in Calculus by looking at broad themes related to AP Calculus. For instance the idea of “straightening curves” by investigating the theme of Local Linearity, the idea of “area functions” by exploring the theme of the integral as an accumulation function and the ideas associated with motion of a particle with the theme of the definite integral as a net change of a quantity. In addition to specific topics participants will discuss issues related to the AP® Calculus Exam including; the use of technology on the exam, the scoring of the exam, and use of exam questions in an AP Calculus course.

What to bring:
• graphing calculators,
• Note taking materials
• laptops and be prepared to share ideas and/or lessons that have effectively prepared students for the AP Calculus Exam.

AP® Chemistry (experienced teachers) – Thomas Dortch
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This summer institute will focus on developing a strong, successful AP Chemistry program based on the new AP Chemistry Curriculum.  This course will provide differentiated classroom strategies, best practices, emphasis on guided inquiry labs, and focus on improving our assessments to align with the new curriculum framework.  

Tentative Institute Schedule

  • Introductions
  • Course and AP Exam Overview
  • Coulomb’s Law
  • PES
  • Mass Spectroscopy
  • Spectroscopy and Beer’s Law
  • Recommended Inquiry Lab 1 and Lab 2


  • Kinetics
  • Equilibrium
  • Crystal Violet Lab
  • Equilibrium Constant Lab
  • Summative Assessments


  • Thermochemistry
  • Electrochemistry
  • Hot Hands Lab
  • Dissolution of Urea Lab
  • Electrolysis Lab


  • Acids/Bases
  • Molar Mass of an Unknown Acid Lab
  • AP Chemistry Exam
  • Assessment
  • Wrap-Up

What to Bring
A scientific calculator
•  Laboratory attire (closed-toe shoes, goggles)
•  Pen and Paper
•  Copies of your Unit Exams!!!
•  Computer

NOTE: Chemistry teachers must follow the University’s lab safety rules by wearing closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants or skirts, and goggles during all lab activities.

AP® Computer Science A (new teachers) – Travis Burton
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What To Bring:
• Note taking materials

AP® English Language & Composition (experienced teachers) – Brook Bullock
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Designed for the English instructor seeking to learn or improve teaching strategies pertinent to AP English Language, this course will focus on preparing students for the national exam but have an emphasis on application to the rhetorical situations present in communications “of the real world” so that students may also become critical thinkers “beyond the classroom” as well. Participants will leave the institute with lessons and strategies they can immediately incorporate into their curriculum.

Topics will utilize examples from fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama with an overall emphasis on improving students’ close reading/analysis skills and improving the syntactical maturity of students’ writing. Possible APSI discussion topics include:

  • Developing an AP English Language course as part of an effective Vertical Team
  • Improving close/ reading, critical thinking, and rhetorical/language analysis
  • Improving students’ writing through their ability to read and analyze complex text
  • Introducing/Improving Argumentative Writing (for the Eng Lang & Comp Exam)
  • Classroom Discussion methods and Student Annotation methods
  • Utilizing multiple genres in the AP English Lang & Comp classroom
  • Utilizing high-interest non-fiction (including images and video as rhetorical text)
  • Computer lab time for lesson planning, enrichment pieces, and application
  • Practical methods for preparing students for the Multiple Choice and Free Response sections of the AP English Lang & Comp exam
  • A study of 2015 AP English Language free response questions with sample student responses for each participant and discussion of using those samples for instructional purposes

What to Bring
•  Writing tools, writing supplies, and note-taking resources (pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky-notes, etc, plus notebook paper, legal pad, or a writing journal).
•  A paper or electronic copy of the AP English Course Description available as .pdf download at the AP Central website.
• A list of required curricular pieces (novels, short stories, poetry, etc) for the AP or PreAP course(s) taught, as well as those of your vertical team, if possible.
• Two copies of a short, non-fiction selection (letter, article, brief essay, graphic, etc) that you would like to use in your class

AP® English Literature & Comp. (experienced teachers) – Joyce Herr
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This week long APSI is designed for experienced AP® English Literature and Composition teachers. During our summer conversation, we will spend time discussing what students must know to succeed on the national exam as well as proven techniques which will help them apply critical thinking to the tasks of the course. The course requires students to be able to read and think critically and then write clearly about specific passages. We will review the 2017 national exam, past exams and discuss what makes a “qualifying” essay.  A specific focus will be moving those “2” scores to “3” and “fixing the 4 essay”.

We will work with each of the principal areas of the Literature exam—the multiple-choice questions, poetry essay, prose essay, and “open” essay—and discuss different ways to prepare our students with the skills they will need on the AP test. We will collaborate on strategies, practice test-taking, analyze readings and share best practices. We will also discuss the scoring process for the test and review the current resources available. You will have the chance to tweak your syllabus and lesson plans, and learn new strategies for teaching students at beginning and intermediate levels. This is a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas and information with your peers, and to become a member of an engaged and diverse learning community. Teachers are encouraged to bring their own best practices to discuss as well as their concerns about teaching this course.

OBJECTIVES. APSI English Literature and Composition Participants Will:

  • Review the AP English Literature & Composition exam in order to understand its structure and content
  • Analyze exam structure and content to delineate broader learning objectives and key ELA skills; identify tasks and materials for which students may need greater preparation
  • Expand their knowledge of print and electronic resources for the AP English Literature and Composition Course
  • Expand their repertoires of successful teaching methods and activities
  • Learn how to assess student performance more effectively
  • Explore the relationship between curriculum and exam to facilitate closer alignment of instruction with the goals of the AP Course
  • Understand the College Board mission of Access and Equity; consider how to make equitable access a guiding principle when designing instruction
  • Develop a deeper understanding of instructional design by exploring factors that influence design
  • Enhance their AP English Literature syllabi and instruction (depending on experience) to meet the curricular requirements of the course

What to Bring
•  Post-it notes or flags
•  3 different colored highlighters
• Current syllabus or the one you will be using
•  Computer

AP® English Literature & Comp. (new teachers) – Judith Nevil
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USB curriculum

This four-day workshop will provide an overview of an AP Literature and Composition class based on College Board guidelines and objectives with an emphasis on strategies for reading and analyzing fictional texts through oral discussions and written responses. Using contemporary and classic texts, participants will explore a variety of instructional strategies for reading and analyzing poetry and prose passages. They will examine course and syllabi design, the AP exam, works of literary merit, novel openings, and effective writing strategies. Participants will explore literary theories and archetypes as an approach to reading literature, develop a thematic unit, and participate in engaging activities. They will compare various genres, literary themes, and author techniques with an emphasis on ways to help students effectively incorporate such strategies in their approach to interpreting and evaluating literature. Throughout the institute, the focus will be less about what to teach and more about how to teach students to read, analyze, and write effectively, confidently, and independently. Laptops are required for electronic curriculum.

Daily Agenda:

Day 1—AP Central/Syllabus/AP Literature and Composition Exam/Teacher Resources

Day 2 – A Thematic Approach to the Study of Novels/Plays of Literary Merit

Day 3 – Poetry and Prose Analysis and Explication

Day 4—Writing and Scoring AP Essays

What to Bring
•  Post-it notes or flags, or any other note-taking materials
•  highlighters
•  computer for electronic curriculum

AP®Human Geography (combined) – Susan Hollier



AP® Physics 2 (combined) – Barbara Watson



AP® Spanish Language & Culture (combined) – Amalia Gensman
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USB curriculum

This institute is especially designed for both new and experienced AP Spanish Language teachers and those who are interested in teaching the AP Spanish Language & Culture course at their schools. A broad range of topics is included so that the teacher will be prepared to offer the course with confidence. During these four days, participants will look at how to create an AP Spanish Language and Culture Program or expand on an existing one. Teachers will receive information and strategies to help students be successful when taking the Advanced Placement Examination.

Institute Goals

  • To discuss and examine curriculum and strategies for developing advanced proficiency in the language skills of speaking, listening, reading, writing and cultural knowledge
  • To familiarize participants with the format, administration and scoring of the AP Spanish Language & Culture Exam
  • To provide practice in taking the various sections of the AP Spanish Language & Culture Exam and in evaluating the free-response sections using actual rubrics and student samples from this year’s Exam (or last year’s Exam whatever the case)
  • To discuss, demonstrate and use technology to enhance instruction
  • To discuss and examine appropriate instruction materials (texts, video, audio, websites, etc.) with an emphasis on authentic materials and integration of language skills
  • To improve the participant’s language proficiency by communicating in Spanish as much as possible during the Institute
  • To discuss ideas for integration of vertical teaming (when applicable)

Institute Objectives
During the course, the participant will:

  • Become thoroughly familiar with the Course’s Curricular Thematic Units as reflected in the   various sections of the Exam
  • Become thoroughly familiar with the various sections of the Exam
  • Reflect on and discuss teaching methodology appropriate to an AP Spanish Language & Culture Course
  • Familiarize him/herself with a wide range of strategies, activities and materials appropriate to teaching AP Spanish Language & Culture
  • Design or Refine detailed AP Spanish Language & Culture activities to be used the following year
  • Examine and evaluate a variety of print, audiovisual and electronic resources available for use in class and for reference and independent study
  • Learn how the Exam is scored and experience scoring student samples from the most recent AP Reading using actual rubrics

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop for electronic curriculum

AP® Studio Art – Charlotte Chambliss
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This four-day institute will provide an overview of the AP Studio Art program and the three Studio Art exams – 2-D Design; 3-D Design; and, Drawing. Participants will be guided through comprehensive discussions of the three components comprising each portfolio and examine the distinctions that exist between the Drawing and 2-D Design courses. Other topics of discussion will include:  a review of the scoring process and scoring guidelines (rubrics); strategies for developing work for both the Breadth and Concentration sections of the three portfolios; Pre-AP strategies and the development of a vertically aligned curriculum to strengthen the AP classes; and strategies for individual and class critiques.  Throughout the workshop participants will be given the opportunity to view sample portfolios that illustrate the multiple approaches that might be taken in developing the classes or in strengthening existing courses.

Participants will be encouraged to share best practices and lessons they have developed for their students and unique teaching situations.

Some time will be spent on hands-on studio activities that may be adapted for use in both Pre-AP and AP classes.

What to Bring
• While it is not necessary to bring laptops to this course, if you are a digital artist, you may like to have it for studio purposes.
• Additionally, while basic supplies will be provided, if you have preferred tools and media you like to work with, you may want to bring those.

AP® U.S. Government & Politics (combined) – Lori Dumerer
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USB curriculum

AP® US Government and Politics participants will focus on the content and pedagogy necessary for developing an academically rigorous course. Discussions will include strategies for improving student success in critical reading, writing, and performance on the exam, as well as, the content necessary to create an engaging and successful course. This institute will be an active learning environment. A number of the strategies will engage the attendees in the demonstrations. With the mixed session, some differentiation will be provided to meet the needs of both new and experienced teachers to the course. Participants will examine political science models used to explain government. Samples of some student work will be available to review including samples of case studies, article experts, and seminar formats with rubrics.  Topics will include the following as set forth in the AP Course guide: Constitutional underpinnings, political behavior, political parties, elections, three branches of government, civil rights and civil liberties, development of critical thinking skills, document and data analysis, and writing skills.  During the week, the group will examine classroom resources, textbooks, and online multi-media resources. The group will develop one original lesson for each unit that they will share.  Since UTD will provide a USB with curricular materials loaded, please bring a laptop with which to view and use materials. Additionally, a package of Post-it Flags and Post-it note pads would help process the variety of materials.Interested parties may contact Mrs. Dumerer at [email protected] for additional information.

What to Bring
•  Post-it notes or flags
•  highlighters
•  computer for electronic curriculum

AP® World History ( experienced teachers) – Christine Bond
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What to Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop or 16 gig flashdrive for materials

Pre AP® Chemistry (combined) – Todd Abronowitz
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The focus will be on developing teaching strategies to create a learning environment for student success on concepts needed for rigorous science courses. Emphasis will be on the rigor needed to learn what is necessary to be successful on the AP Chemistry exam. Time will be allowed for sharing best practices, for discussion of concepts in the course, and for laboratory experiments. The latter will include methods for determination of molar masses, titrations, ionic reactions, etc. The material covered (and the sequence) will be determined by the needs of the group as a whole, based on the results of a survey emailed before the conference.

Topics may include the following:

  • An overview of the AP program and the AP Chemistry exam
  • Appropriate scope and sequence
  • Differentiation between AP and Pre-AP courses
  • Recruitment of students into Pre-AP Chemistry
  • Multiple-choice strategies
  • Reaction predictions
  • Atomic structure and periodicity
  • Bonding and VSEPR
  • Gas laws
  • Nuclear chemistry (and relationship to kinetics)
  • Stoichiometry

What to bring:
• Apron or lab coat
• Closed-toe shoes
• Calculator
• Device with a USB port

What participants will take with them?
• Access to everything developed for Pre-AP Chemistry by the lead consultant

NOTE: Chemistry teachers must follow the University’s lab safety rules by wearing closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants or skirts, and goggles during all lab activities.

Pre AP® Math HS (combined)- Donna Speer
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This course is designed to help teachers incorporate AP/Pre-AP strategies and concepts into their math curriculum. It will emphasize math topics such as: accumulation, area, coordinate geometry, functions, limits, optimization, sequences and series, rate of change, probability and statistics and how these topics can be appropriately included in different math courses. There will be a variety of teaching strategies including activities, projects, alternative assessments, graphing calculators, CBLs, and internet. Participants will discuss Pre-AP philosophy, resources, vertical teaming, AP exams and grading and how to get support from parents, and administrators.

What to Bring:
• Participants are encouraged to bring their graphing calculator if they have one
• Note taking materials
• Laptop, and
• A best lesson or activity to share

Pre AP® Math MS (combined) – Kathy Heller
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This course is designed to help middle school teachers strengthen their existing Pre-AP teaching strategies as well as introduce new methodologies and activities into the curriculum.  Participants will explore a variety of topics appropriate for the PreAP student at the middle school level.  These topics will range from Pre-Algebra concepts up through and including Geometry. Activities will be hands-on and the use of various forms of technology will be encouraged.  Assessment methods and classroom management strategies will also be examined.

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Computer