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Advanced Placement Biology is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester college biology lab
course in its quality and sophistication. This course will contribute to the development of the
students’ abilities to think clearly and to express their ideas, orally and in writing, with an emphasis
on integrating inquiry, reasoning, and quantitative skills. Students will design and master plans for
data collection and analysis, apply mathematical routines, and connect concepts in and across
primary domains of science (biology, chemistry, physics). Curricular content is framed around
“Four Big Ideas” which encompass core scientific principles, theories and processes governing living
organisms and biological systems.
Big Idea 1 – EVOLUTION (20%): The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.
Big Idea 2 – CELLULAR PROCESSES (30%): Biological systems utilize energy and molecular
building blocks to grow, reproduce, and maintain homeostasis.
Big Idea 3 – GENETICS & INFORMATION TRANSFER (30%): Living systems retrieve, transmit, and
respond to information essential to life processes.
Big Idea 4 – ECOLOGY (20%): Biological systems interact, and these interactions possess complex
Primary emphasis will be on developing an understanding of concepts rather than on memorizing
terms and technical details. Essential to this conceptual understanding are the following: a grasp of
science as a process rather than as an accumulation of facts; personal experience in scientific
inquiry; recognition of unifying themes that integrate the major topics of biology; and application of
biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns.
Text Book - Students must read assigned text portions carefully outside of class, using
instructor handouts, end-of-chapter reviews, PowerPoint lectures our course website, and
objectives outlined in each lab and pre-lab handout for study material.
Class Activities – Students will undertake a variety of investigations throughout the course,
which will serve to widen the range of topics covered in a hands-on, discovery mode.
Lab Investigations – Students will be engaged in investigative laboratory work for a
minimum of 25% of instructional time. These labs will be inquiry based, student-directed
investigations. Students will be expected to:
• Generate questions for investigation
• Choose which variables to investigate
• Design and conduct experiments
• Design their own experimental procedures
• Collect, analyze, interpret, and display data
 Determine how to present their conclusion
Students will maintain a written record (lab notebook) of investigations conducted. In addition,
they will be asked for the following throughout the course:
 Formal lab reports that emphasizes the development and testing of a hypothesis, the ability to
organize collected data, and the ability to analyze and clearly discuss the results.
 Poster presentations (create poster with main investigation components; present to small
groups or whole class; field questions).
 Self-assessments of their ability to work in group investigations that will often be conducted in
teams of 2 or 3 in order for students to develop group skills and learn the importance of
collaboration among scientists.
4. Visual Prompts/Storyboards – Students will create graphic organizers such as a series of
illustrations/animations displayed in sequence to help them better understand and visualize certain
processes such as photosynthesis, cell membrane transport, gene expression, etc.
Quizzes - Weekly quizzes will be given in class without use of text or notes to check for
understanding and to help pinpoint individual problem areas that need more work.
6. Tests - (4 tests per semester) are cumulative and will include multiple choice, grid-in, short
response, and free response essay questions (parallel format to new AP exam).
7. Computer Assignments – the companion website to our textbook includes many useful selfquizzes, pre-tests, videos, activities, virtual labs, and other student media resources. Additional
virtual lab activities, internet webquests, video clips, and other animations will help students
visualize core content.
8. Current Events/Twitter Science Feed – to help students apply knowledge and connect biology
to their everyday lives, they will read and report on a variety of readings from scientific journals.
Students will follow Episcopal’s AP Biology Twitter Feed for daily updates on scientific
Campbell Biology in Focus Plus MODIFIED Masteringbiology with eText and Access Card Package
(hardcover) by Urry, et. al. ISBN-13: 9780321932839
Lab Manual (online at AP Central): AP Biology Investigative Lab Manual: An inquiry-based approach
(revised 2014).
Canvas Instructure ( – PowerPoint lectures, assignments, labs,
and grades will be posted daily.
Websites used frequently in class:
• (embedded in Canvas)
 The Biology Project - University of Arizona
• Prentice Hall - The Biology Place
• Lab Bench
• BioCoach
• Nova/
• Cells Alive
• AP Central
Online tutorials
 Masteringbiology mp3 chapter podcasts
 Bozeman Biology Video Tutorials
 Kahn Academy Video Tutorials (limited in biology topics)
9/9 –
10/5 –
11/2 –
12/1 –
12/19 –
1/4 –
1/19 –
2015 - 2016
Foundations, Inquiry, Animal
Behavior, Molecular Diversity &
Ch. 1: Foundations of Bio 1
Ch. 39.3 – 39.6: Animal Behavior
Ch. 2.4 – 2.5: Bonding & Water
Ch. 3.1 – 3.5: Carbon and Molecular
Diversity of Life
Chapter 6.4 – 6.5: Enzymes
Labs & Activities
Experimental Design, Measurements, Data
Termite Trails Activity
Classical vs. Operant Conditioning
Investigation 12**: Animal Behavior
Properties of Water Activity
Molecular Modeling – Molecules App
Thalidomide Case Study
Investigation 13**: Enzyme Catalysis
M&M chi-square activity
Cells & Cell Processes
Investigation 4**, Procedure 1: Surface Area &
Ch. 4.2 – 4.5: A Tour of the Cell
Cell Size, Procedures 2 - 4: Osmosis & Diffusion
Ch. 5.1 – 5.5: Membrane Transport
Photosystems Storyboard
Ch. 6.1 – 6.3: Metabolic Pathways & ATP Investigation 6**: Cell Respiration Lab
Ch. 7: Cellular Respiration
Investigation 5**: Photosynthesis
Ch. 8: Photosynthesis
Cell Division & Genetics
Investigation 7**: Cell Division
Chapter 9: The Cell Cycle
Dihybrid Crosses w/ Corn
Ch. 10: Meiosis and Sexual Life Cycles
Genetics Practice Problems
Ch. 11: Mendelian Genetics
“Blue People” Case Study/Pedigree
Ch. 12: Gene Linkage, Chromosomal
Epigenetics Activity
Chi Square Practice Problems
DNA Modeling
Natural Selection in a Candy Dish
Ch. 3.6: Nucleic Acids & Proteins - tape
Investigation 1**: Natural Selection Lab w
measures of evolution
Brine Shrimp
Ch. 18.2 & 18.5: Bioinformatics,
Modeling Natural Selection – Bird Beaks
Chromosomal Alterations & Evolution
Cladogram Construction
Ch. 19.2 – 19.3: Darwinian Evolution
Investigation 2**: Hardy – Weinberg Lab
Ch. 20: Phylogeny & The Tree of Life
Ch. 21: The Evolution of Populations
Investigation 3**: Using BLAST to determine
Ch. 22: The Origin of Species
evolutionary relationships
Ch. 23.1 – 23.3: Patterns of Evolution
Ch. 24.1: Early Life
End of Fall Semester – Christmas Break
Information Transfer
Chapter 13: DNA as Genetic Material
Ch. 14: From Gene to Protein
Ch. 15: Regulation of Gene Expression
Ch. 16.3: Abnormal Gene Regulation &
Protein Synthesis Activity
Case Study: Lactase Persistence
Paper Plasmid Mapping Activity
Operon Modeling Activity (cardboard roll)
Investigation 8**: Biotechnology Lab 1 Bacterial Transformation
Ch. 24.2 – 24.4: Prokaryote Diversity
Ch. 13.4: Biotechnology
Ch. 30.3: Crop Biotechnology
5 weeks*
3 weeks*
Organisms I: Hormones, Immunity,
Nervous System
Ch. 5.6: Cell Signaling
Ch. 32: Homeostasis and Endocrine
Ch. 17: Viruses
Ch. 35: The Immune System
TEST Week 3/1
Chapter 37: Neurons, Synapses, and
Chapter 38.2: Emotions, Reward
Ch. 38.4 – 38.6, 39.1 – 39.2: Sensory
Reception & Motor Mechanisms
Organisms II: Plant Survey
Ch. 30.1: Reproductive Adaptations in
Flowering Plants
Ch. 31: Plant Responses
TEST Week 3/18
Ch. 40: Population Ecology
Ch. 41: Species Interactions &
Ch. 42: Ecosystems & Energy
Ch. 43.1 & 43.4: Survey Conservation
Review for Formal AP Exam
Diagnostic and Mock Exams
Investigation 9**: Biotechnology Lab II Restriction Enzyme Analysis of BRCA1 and
BRCA 2 mutations
Recovering the Romanovs Internet Activity
Immune Response Poster and Play
HIV Replication & Transmission Activity
Homeostasis & Feedback Activity
Sensory Systems Activity
Action Potential Modeling
Neurotransmitters & Drugs Activity
Investigation 11**: Transpiration
Leaf Stomata Lab
Cell Signaling as summative activity for
systems bio:
Case Study: “My Dog is Broken”
Terrarium Construction
Investigation 10**: Energy Flow - Consumers
& Producers (Butterflies) & Net Primary
Productivity in Brassica Plants
Bottle Ecosystems
Human Population Growth
4/18 Monday, May 9, 2016 A.M.
2 weeks
*Denotes Test week **AP Biology Investigative Labs, The College Board
We will conduct all investigations in the AP Biology Investigative Lab Manual: An inquiry-based
approach (revised 2014).
Big Idea 1 – EVOLUTION
1 - Artificial Selection: Students investigate how various environmental factors influence the hatch
rate in Brine Shrimp.
2 - Hardy-Weinberg: Spreadsheet development to investigate factors affecting Hardy-Weinberg
3 - BLAST Activity: Students use NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) to compare
genes from different organisms to test student-generated hypotheses on their relatedness and
construct cladograms.
4 - Diffusion/Osmosis: Students investigate diffusion and osmosis in model systems and in plant
5 - Photosynthesis: Students investigate photosynthetic rate under a variety of student – selected
6 - Cellular Respiration: Students investigate some aspect of cellular respiration in organisms.
7 - Cell Division: Mitosis and Meiosis. Students compare mitotic rate after exposure to caffeine,
lectin or other substances presumed to affect mitotic rate.
8 - Bacterial Transformation: Students investigate bacterial transformation and manipulate
variables that effect transformation efficiency.
9 - Restriction Enzyme Analysis: Students investigate restriction enzyme analysis from a
hypothetical crime scene.
Big Idea 4 – ECOLOGY
10 - Energy Dynamics: Students develop and analyze model systems that describe energy flow
using plant producers and butterfly consumers.
11 - Fruit Fly Behavior: Students investigate chemotaxis in fruit flies.
12 - Transpiration: Students investigate the movement of water through plants in a model system.
13 - Enzyme Investigation: In an open inquiry lab, students will investigate and quantify factors
that affect peroxidase enzyme action in turnips.
The AP Biology Exam consists of two sections: multiple choice and free response. Both sections
include questions that assess students’ understanding of the big ideas, enduring understandings,
and essential knowledge and the ways in which this understanding can be applied through the
science practices. These may include questions on the following:
the use of modeling to explain biological principles;
the use of mathematical processes to explain concepts;
the making of predictions and the justification of phenomena;
the implementation of experimental design; and
the manipulation and interpretation of data
The exam is 3 hours long and includes both a 90 - minute multiple-choice section and a 90 - minute
free-response section that begins with a mandatory 10 - minute reading period. The multiple-choice
section accounts for half of the student’s exam grade, and the free-response section accounts for the
other half.
Section Question Type
Number of
Part A: Multiple Choice
Part B: Grid-In
Long Free Response
Short Free Response
90 minutes
80 minutes
+ 10-minute
Due to the increased emphasis on quantitative skills and application of mathematical methods in
the questions on both sections, students will be allowed to use simple four-function calculators
(with square root) on the entire exam. Students will also be supplied with a formula list as part of
their testing materials.
Revised: September 1, 2015