This course is designed for students with an interest in the nature and structure of biological systems. Students study major vertebrate types by performing dissections on representative organisms including the lamprey, dogfish shark, perch, pigeon and rat. Evolutionary trends are emphasized throughout. Students are expected to recognize the anatomical structures of representative vertebrates with an eye towards identifying traits used to classify groups in a taxon.
This course consists of a series of lectures, demonstrations and video presentations. The main body of the course consists of self-directed, hands-on dissections using study manuals and dissecting instruments. There are several required dissections students must perform. Following the comprehensive study of each organism, a practicum is administered to evaluate the student's working knowledge of the anatomy of that organism. There is a written final examination at the end of the course.
Students are required to supply themselves with protective gloves and clothing and to tolerate odors associated with preserved materials. There is a small cost for replacement materials.
This course is one of several possible prerequisites for AP Biology. This one-term course is offered during both the fall and spring terms. During the fall term, preference is given to seniors and juniors; sophomores may take the class if space allows. During the spring term, juniors are given preference, and sophomores may take the class if space allows.