Biology Tutor

Biology, or The Way Life Works


DNAUnderstanding is the goal, not rote memorization of vocabulary!


Biology is the study of how life works, from simple single celled organisms to the incredibly complex human body.  It covers a bewildering array of seemingly unconnected subjects, from photosynthesis to genetics, cell respiration to mitosis.  Nearly all modern biology textbooks reinforce this disconnectedness, teaching biology as a series of discrete topics, from the bottom up, without explicitly showing how those topics relate to one another and to the whole of biology.  This approach often leaves the beginning student confused.


My approach to tutoring biology stresses these connections.  Underlying the diversity of life on earth is a unity of form and function.  All of life is made up of cells.  All cells need to gather fuel and building materials, have a reliable energy source, and grow and duplicate to ensure continued survival.  The key to success in biology is understanding how the seemingly separate topics in a typical course relate to one another.


Typically students take biology in the ninth or tenth grade, a point in high school where they have not fully mastered the study and organizational skills they need to efficiently and effectively prepare for tests and exams.   During our sessions, I try to assess where a student’s approach is breaking down – is it in their note taking during class or at home, in how they do or do not use their textbook, or in some other area?  I provide the organizational support many students need to get started and maintain momentum for the long term.


When I taught biology at The Rivers School, the students and I drew a diagram, or graphic organizer, which evolved as the year progressed, visually linking all of the topics we studied.  It was an eye opening experience for students to see the finished diagram at the end of the year.  It also gave them a real sense of ownership of what we had been studying – it made sense to them!  Their uniformly strong grades on the final exam underscored their having truly learned basic biology.


I apply the same approach to higher-level biology courses at a more sophisticated level.  Surviving accelerated or AP biology hinges upon seeing the inter-relatedness of each subject, in addition to being well versed in the individual topics.   I provide the support these more advanced students need to stay on top of biology while often juggling many other academic demands.


As a biology tutor I offer individual and small group instruction at all levels, from remedial to accelerated. Tutoring biology and other life sciences (including earth science and anatomy & physiology) and study skills in Sudbury, Wayland, Weston, Lincoln, Concord, Framingham, Natick and surrounding areas since 2002.