Advanced Placement Psychology


Instructor: Heath Kaplan

Course Objectives: 

There are two objectives for this course.    

  • The first  is to develop a deeper understanding of the human mind.  My goal is to take the material beyond theory and illustrate to you how you can use scientific research to make positive changes in your own everyday lives.  The intellectual art of taking theory and research and using it to effect our own realities is a sign of thorough comprehension (and its pretty cool).  This simple concept is often missed even at the graduate level, but should be a focal goal in academia.  Too often teachers become sidetracked and students do not know any better to ask how the material that you learn in class everyday can be used to make your life better.  When you skin away all of the layers, that is the whole point of school.

  • The second is to pass the Advanced Placement examination given in May.  The material learned in this course is equivalent (some would say surpasses) an introductory psychology course at the university level.  The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major sub fields within psychology. They also learn about the methods psychologists use in their science and practice.  In other words, you will be learning a lot of stuff, you will sound smart, and hopefully will pass a college level examination.

Required Texts:

The only required text is the "Trippy Text" found on the AP Psychology Commune (  The online text, along with the "Fight the Power" Points and other interactive activities will provide more than enough information for you to absorb this year.  For those of you who may lack internet access at home, or feel more comfortable with a text, I will provide a hard copy of the "Trippy Text" or some of the following available materials (don’t feel like you cannot ask for them).

  • Myers, D., "Psychology, Myers in Modules" sixth edition, Worth Publishers, 2001.

  • Online readings and PowerPoint presentations.

  • Hock, R., "Forty Studies That Changed Psychology" fourth edition, Prentice Hall, 2002.

My Expectations (Class Rules):

Pay attention because this is very important.  We will be discussing sensitive and controversial topics throughout the year and I am sure we will hear a wide array of opinions.  YOU WILL BE RESPECTFUL OF OTHER’S OPINIONS!!!  Your emotional safety and well being is my primary concern as a teacher and I will take drastic steps if I think someone’s is at risk!!!  

Beyond that you should:

  • understand that if you laugh at bad behavior in class, you are just as guilty as the person exhibiting the behavior, so you will be treated accordingly.

  • come to class regularly and on time.  Coming in late disrupts the class and will NOT be permitted.

  • not hold side conversations in class.  Class in only 40 minutes long, what you have to say can wait.

  • NO NO NO food in class (unless it is organic fruit and you bring some for me)

  • have an open mind.


  • Homework– You will be assigned approximately one homework assignment a week that corresponds directly with the reading.  Most likely, the assignment will be to answer several questions challenging you to apply the content in various scenarios.  I am looking for you go beyond basic factually regurgitation and think!!!  Do not copy- it is not worth it (trust me).  I only give about 15 HWs a year- thus I expect them to 1. be your own 2. be well done 3. be on time- you will have the homework assignment at least 10 days before it is due- plan accordingly.  (20%).

  • Quizzes- There will be comprehensive multiple choice quizzes on the material both from class and the text.  This year I am going to make the quizzes cumulative (lucky you) (40%).

  • Participation- After you finish your schooling, you will probably try to get a job.  Ask your parents whether your behavior and showing up for work effects your annual performance review (your raise).  We are going to start preparing for the real world now.  Your participation and behavior in class will play a part in your quarterly assessment (20%).  

  • Projects- You will be assigned several projects throughout the year.  Some will take thirty minutes while others may take eight weeks.  They are designed to enhance your understanding of the course material through activities and practical applications of theory (20%).

  • Midterm Exam– There will be a cumulative midterm exam giving during midterm week.  The exam will consist of 100 multiple choice questions and 1 free response question.

  • Final Project- As long as you take the AP Exam, there will be no final exam in this course.  There will however be a final research project that you will start when we come back from vacation in January.  You will be conducting original research project that will be presented to the community of Harrison and perhaps submitted to a journal.  You will be given more detailed explanations as the year progresses.