• AP Biology
    North Allegheny Senior High School

    TEXTBOOK:New* Campbell Biology in Focus (AP edition- 2014)

    On-line resources also accompany this book at http://www.masteringbiology.com

    (e-text, animated tutorials, lab tutorials,chapter quizzes, and cumulative tests)

    LABMANUAL: AP Biology Investigative Labs: AnInquiry-Based Approach (The College Board, 2012 edition)

    NewAP Biology Curriculum Framework:




    APBiology is the equivalent of a one-year college or university course in

    biology,taught within the parameters of high school. Students explore fundamentalconcepts in the life sciences that are structured around the four bigideas, enduring understandings, and science practices that are defined by the APBiology Curriculum Framework.  Students will also develop advanced reasoningskills, such as designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applyingmathematical routines, and connecting concepts in and across all domains oflife.  As students develop anappreciation for the study of life, they will be able to identify andunderstand unifying principles within a diversified biological world.  Because our understanding of biology today isa result of inquiry, the process of inquiry in science and developing criticalthinking skills is one of the most important parts of this course.



    Students will learn to utilize advanced inquiry andreasoning skills as they:

    • Develop a thorough understanding of important biological concepts while being encouraged to think about the relevance of this information to their everyday lives. 
    • Demonstrate an understanding of how modern biological principles have been postulated, tested, and modified throughout history.
    • Examine the role of evolution as a unifying theme for the tremendous diversity of life. 
    • Explore and appreciate the complex interactions of life on the planet.
    • Recognize and contemplate bioethical dilemmas associated with the use of biotechnology today.


    AP Biology is a 1.5 credit course. Class periodsare 40 minutes long and according to our alternating A day/ B day schedulesystem an additional 40 minute lab period will be scheduled every other day inaddition to the 40 minute lecture period. Course content will be presented via a combination of teacher lectureusing powerpoint, animated tutorials and video segments, independent reading,homework problems, internet investigation, online textbook software, and groupprojects.  Hands-on and inquiry-based laboratoryinvestigation in small groups will take up approximately 25% of instructionaltime.

    *****Studentsmust have successfully completed honors chemistry prior to enrolling in APBiology!!

    APBiology Big Ideas

    BigIdea 1: The process of evolution drives the diversity andunity of life.

    BigIdea 2: Biological systems utilize free energy andmolecular building blocks

    togrow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.

    BigIdea 3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit, andrespond to information

    essentialto life processes.

    BigIdea 4: Biological systems interact, and these systemsand their

    interactionspossess complex properties.


    Investigative LaboratoryComponent

    Thecourse is also structured around inquiry in the lab and the use of the sevenscience practices throughout the course.


    Studentsare given the opportunity to engage in student-directed laboratoryinvestigations throughout the course for a minimum of 25% of instructionaltime.  Students will conduct a minimum ofeight inquiry-based investigations (two per big idea throughout thecourse).  Additional labs will beconducted to deepen students’ conceptual understanding and to reinforce theapplication of science practices within a hands-on, discovery basedenvironment.  All levels of inquiry willbe used and all seven science practice skills will be used by students on aregular basis in formal labs as well as activities outside of the labexperience.  The course will provideopportunities for students to develop, record, and communicate the results oftheir laboratory investigations.


    SciencePractices (SP)

    1. The student can userepresentations and models to communicate scientific phenomena            and solve scientific problems.

    2. The student can usemathematics appropriately.

    3. The student can engage inscientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within thecontext of the AP course.

    4. The student can plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.


    5. The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.


    6. The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.


    7. The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales,


    concepts and representations in and across domains.


    Course Planning and Pacing by Unit

    Unit 1: Introduction to Biology and the Chemistry of Life(1 week)

    Chapters 1-2

    • Inherent properties of life
    • Darwin and the Theory of Natural Selection
    • Inquiry as a way to learn science
    • Structure of atoms
    • Emergent properties of water


    Unit 2: Biochemistry and Introduction to the Cell (2 ½  weeks)

    Chapters 3-5

    • The impact of carbon as the “backbone of life”
    • How monomers build polymers, including roles of nucleic acids
    • Examples of organelles that are membrane bound to compartmentalize their functions
    • Membrane structure and function

    Unit 3: Cellular Energy and Related Processes (3 ½ weeks)

    Chapter 6-8

    • Metabolic pathways

    • Laws of energy transformation
    • How ATP powers cellular work
    • Enzyme structure and function
    • Harvesting chemical energy: glycolysis, citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation
    • Light reactions and the Calvin cycle
    • Evolution of alternative mechanism of carbon fixation

    Unit 4: Cell Communication and the Cell Cycle (2 weeks)

    Chapters 5, 9

    • Evolution of cell signaling
    • Reception, transduction, response
    • Apoptosis
    • How mitosis produces genetically identical daughter cells
    • Evolution of mitosis
    • How the eukaryotic cell is regulated by a molecular control system
    • Origin of cell communication

    Unit 5: Genetic Basis of Life (2 weeks)

    Chapters 10-12

    • Genes are passed from parents to offspring by the inheritance of chromosomes
    • Meiosis reduces the number of chromosomes (diploid to haploid)
    • Evolutionary significance of genetic variation that results from sexual life cycles
    • Concepts of Mendelian genetics (laws of probability, inheritance patterns)
    • Genes are located along chromosomes (concepts of gene linkage, mapping distance between genes, causes of genetic disorders)

    Unit 6: Gene Activity andBiotechnology (3 weeks)

    Chapters 13-18

    • DNA is the genetic material (historical experiments, DNA structure and function, DNA replication
    • Flow of genetic information (genetic code, role of other polymers, transcription, translation)
    • Mutations
    • Gene expression (operon system in prokaryotes, eukaryotic gene expression)
    • Virus structure and activity
    • Restriction enyzmes, plasmids, transformation
    • DNA technology (how gel electrophoresis works and applications of this technology)



    Unit 7: Evolution and Phylogeny (5weeks)

    Chapters 19-23

    • How natural selection serves as a mechanism for evolution
    • Scientific evidence supporting evolution
    • Hardy-Weinberg concept
    • How allele frequencies can be altered in a population
    • Concepts of speciation
    • Origin of Life; Fossil Records
    • Events in the “history of life” (origin of single-celled and multicellular organisms; mass extinctions, adaptive radiations)

    Unit 8: Diversity in the BiologicalWorld: Organism Form and Function (5 ½ weeks)

    Chapters 24-27
    Chapters 28-39 will be used toprovide students with enduring understandings in this unit

    ·        Evolutionary trends (endosymbiosis, adaptationsthat allowed plants to move from water to land, reproductive adaptations ofangiosperms, environmental roles of fungi, animal body plans, progressivelycomplex derived characters in animal groups)

    ·        Unique features of the angiosperm life cycle

    ·        Signal transduction pathways (plant and animalhormones)

    ·        Photoperiodism in plants

    ·        Feedback control loops in animals

    ·        Thermoregulation in animals

    ·        Energy allocation and use in animals

    ·        Examples of functioning units in mammal systems(alveoli in lungs, villi of small intestines, nephrons in kidneys)

    ·        Structure and function in immune systems

    ·        Structure and function in nervous systems (neurons,resting potential, action potential, synapses)

    ·        Structure and function of the human brain

    Unit 9: Ecology (4 weeks)

    Chapters 40-43

    ·        Aspects of animal behavior

    ·        Aspects of biomes

    ·        Models of describing population growth

    ·        Regulation of population growth

    ·        Community interactions

    ·        Species diversity and composition

    ·        Community biodiversity

    ·        Energy flow and chemical cycling in ecosystems

    ·        Primary productivity

    ·        Energy transfer between trophic levels

    ·        Human activities that threaten biodiversity


    EVALUATION:The following work will be used to measure student performance in classthroughout the year: TESTS, INQUIRYBASED LABS, MINI-LABS, LAB NOTEBOOK, HOMEWORK


    TESTS: Tests will alwaysbe announced in advance.  The content ofeach exam will be discussed in detail before it is administered. Tests will bemodeled after the new AP Test format. Questions will be primarily in multiple choice format and short answer andrequire students to exhibit analytical and critical thinking skills whensolving as opposed to just factual recall. Free-response questions will also be included on most tests and scoredaccording to a scoring rubric.  Studentswill be required to demonstrate good scientific reasoning in essay responsesthat includes examples with their explanations.

    If you are absent on the day of a test you will be expected to make itup after school on the day you return.

    If you do not contact me prior to your absence with a legitimate excuse,it will be an entirely essay make-up.   

    LABS:Inquiry-based lab opportunitieswill require students to design experiments, collect data, apply mathematicalroutines and methods, and refine testable explanations and predictions. Aformal lab report will be required for a minimum of eight of these lab experiments.  In each lab, students will generate and test ahypothesis, establish good controls, design and follow an experimentalprocedure, collect and analyze data, and formulate a clear conclusion summarizingtheir lab results.  These lab opportunities willencourage students to develop skills in communication, teamwork, criticalthinking, and commitment to lifelong learning.All responses in formal lab reportsshould be written in the student’s own words. Lab work will be recorded anddocumented daily in a Lab Notebook.  Thisnotebook will be checked periodically for accuracy and/or completion.



    • The grade each report period will be computed by simple percent using total points earned divided by the total possible points per report period.  Grades will be rounded to the nearest whole percentage (.5 and above rounds up).


    • The yearly grade will be computed by averaging the percentages earned during each of the four marking periods.  Rounding rules will also apply.



                                                                            A= 100 – 90

                                                                            B= 89 – 80

                                                                            C= 79 – 70

                                                                            D= 69 – 60

                                                                            E= 59 – below










    ·        Come to class prepared.  Read the Campbell textbook  beforecoming to class.

    ·        Come to class on time.  Repeated tardiness and excuses will not betolerated. 

    ·        Be responsible about missed class time.  See me in advance if possible to get anymissed work.

    ·        Check my teacher website frequently.  Important deadlines, test dates, study hints,and announcements are posted there daily.

    ·        Exhibit common courtesy.  When I am speaking, you should be listeningand taking notes as needed.

    ·        Pleaseask for help if you are having trouble!!



    THEAP BIOLOGY EXAM:  The AP Biology Examwill be administered in the spring.  Theexam includes a section of multiple-choice questions along with a shortanswer/free-response section.  Chaptertests given throughout the year are formatted similar to the AP Test.  Successful scores on this exam may allowstudents to earn college credit for an introductory laboratory science coursewhich would allow them to undertake other upper-level courses in their chosenmajors.  Details will be given onregistration for this exam throughout the year.




    • DON’T PANIC!!  The hardest part of a college level science course is learning how to study a tremendous amount of information in a limited amount of time.  Read the text, but focus on the concepts and themes that are presented in lecture.
    • DON’T PROCRASTINATE!!  It is vital that you devote time each night (30-40  min) to reading the text and reviewing your notes.  Regardless of your ability to memorize, it is impossible to understand large amounts of information without spending time on it.  This will reduce much stress and anxiety in your life this year!!
    • DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!! I cannot help you if I do not know you need help!  Study groups are highly encouraged.  Sometimes the best way to learn is by trying to teach someone else what they do not understand.
















Last Modified on August 29, 2013