AP Biology Course Syllabus

 

OVERVIEW

 

The schedule is an 8 period A/B block schedule that allows classes to meet for approximately 86 minutes for two days one week and three days the next.  AP Biology is the equivalent of an entry-level college biology class required for pre-med and biology major students. Successful completion of this course depends on the passing of the AP Biology examination to be given in May.

This is a rigorous and demanding course. A great deal of material must be covered before the exam which requires that a strict schedule be followed. It is expected that you will come to class having read the material to be covered in lecture every day. You are encouraged to come to class with questions about the readings. You are expected to turn assignments in on time. Late work will not be accepted. You will need to devote AT LEAST one hour EVERY night to AP Biology.

In addition to lectures, the class has a required lab component in which each student is required to maintain a formal lab book.  Each lab write-up demonstrates their understanding of the scientific method and variables.  Laboratory experiences, in addition to being hands-on fun, offer valuable experiences in collecting data and using equipment that many students will be using in the near future.  It also demonstrates the students understanding of the major topics presented in class.  Roughly 25% of each quarter is devoted to laboratory work.  At times, due to lab and schedule constraints, students will be asked to participate in Saturday lab sessions.

The eight majors themes discussed in the AP Biology Course Description (science as a process, evolution, energy transfer, continuity and change, structure and function, regulation, interdependence of nature, and science, technology and society) are stressed throughout the course with evolution as the underlying theme for the year.  After all, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” (Dobzhansky 1973)

 

 


PRIMARY TEXTBOOK

 

Raven, Peter H., George B. Johnson et al., Biology, 7th ed., McGraw-Hill Company, 2005. (ISBN-13: 978-0-07-321186)

 

SECONDARY RESOURCES

 

 

 

 


PACE OF SCHEDULE

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

August – September

(approximately 2 weeks)

CHEMISTRY (7%)

 

(Chemistry is fundamental to the  understanding of structure relating to function and will be revisited constantly throughout the year)

 

THEMES

 

Structure / Function

 

Energy Transfer

·      Essential atoms of life and their atomic structure (Lewis dot diagrams)

·      Chemical bonding (emphasis on covalent — polar and nonpolar — and hydrogen bonding)

·      Water and its unique properties

·      Carbon as keystone of life (isomers, functional groups)

·      Carbohydrates (α and β glycosidic linkages with structure and function)

·      Lipids (ester linkages and structure/function of phospholipids)

·      Proteins (1°structure and peptide bond, 2°structure and hydrogen bonds between functional groups, 3°structure and attractions between R groups, 4°structure)

·      Enzymes and catalyzing reactions by lowering EA

·      Nucleic acids (structure with phosphodiester linkage and understanding of DNA/RNA similarities and differences)

 

 

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

September

(approximately 3 weeks)

CELLULAR BIOLOGY

(10%)

 

THEMES

 

Evolution

 

Unity within Diversity

 

Science as a Process

 

Science, Technology, Society

 

Regulation

 

Structure and Function

·      3 Major tenets of Cell Theory

·      Origin of the Cell (Urey-Miller experiment, Sidney Fox’s experiments on spontaneous formation of polymers and protobionts, RNA first hereditary molecule)

·      Domain approach of life – Archaea, Eubacteria, Eukarya

·      Differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes

·      Eubacterial structure, reproduction and genetic diversity

·      Gram-stain lab techniques

·      Eukaryotic subcellular organization with approach of structure relating to function

·      Fluid-mosaic model of membrane

·      Transport across membranes (passive = diffusion, facilitated diffusion, osmosis) (active transport with Na+/K+ pump as example)

·      The cell cycle and mitosis

·      Regulation of cell cycle (cyclin-dependent kinases, anaphase-promoting complex, density-dependent inhibition, anchorage-dependent inhibition)

 

 

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

October

(approximately 3 weeks)

CELLULAR ENERGETICS

(8%)

 

THEMES

 

Evolution

 

Energy Transfer

 

Structure and Function

·      Endosymbiotic theory of mitochondrion and chloroplast origin

·      Structure of mitochondrion and chloroplast

·      Oxidation-reduction reactions

·      Aerobic respiration (glycolysis, decarboxylation of pyruvate, Kreb’s cycle, electron transport chain and chemiosmosis)

·      Anaerobic respiration (lactic acid and alcohol fermentation)

·      Electromagnetic spectrum and photons

·      Photosynthesis (photosystems and light-dependent reactions and the Calvin cycle)

·      Photorespiration (C3 plants) and evolutionary events to counteract (C4 and CAM plants)

 

 

 

END OF FIRST TERM (END OF OCTOBER)

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

October - November

(approximately 3 weeks)

MEIOSIS AND HEREDITY

(8%)

 

 

THEMES

 

Continuity and Change

 

Evolution

·      Meiosis and gametogenesis

·      Eukaryotic chromosome

·      Mendel’s laws of heredity (law of segregation and monohybrid cross, law of independent assortment and dihybrid cross)

·      Exceptions to Mendel’s rules of heredity (incomplete dominance, codominance, multiple allele traits, polygenic traits, epistasis and pleiotropy)

·      Morgan  and sex-linked inheritance

·      Chromosomal theory of heredity

·      Recombination and gene mapping

·      Relating Mendel’s laws of heredity to meiosis

·      Chromosomal mutations

·      Chi-squared analysis and predicting patterns of inheritance

 

 

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

November - December

(approximately 3 weeks)

MOLECULAR GENETICS:  THE CENTRAL DOGMA

(9%)

 

THEMES

 

Continuity and Change

 

Evolution

 

Science as a Process

 

Science, Technology, Society

 

Structure and Function

·      Structure of chromosome and review structure of DNA molecule, analyzing the history behind DNA’s structure and Watson and Crick’s article

·      DNA replication and associated enzymes including helicase, primase, DNA polymerase, ligase and telomerase

·      Types of RNA:  mRNA, tRNA, rRNA, snRNA

·      Transcription of DNA into mRNA (initiation, elongation, termination, and modification)

·      Translation of mRNA code into a protein strand (initiation, elongation, termination)

·      Prokaryotic gene regulation and understanding of both lac and trp operons

·      Eukaryotic gene regulation and understanding of transcription factors

·      Restriction enzymes and recombinant DNA technology

·      PCR

·      Gel Electrophoresis

 

 

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

January

(approximately 3 weeks)

EVOLUTION

(8%)

 

THEMES

 

Continuity and Change

 

Evolution

 

Science as a Process

 

 

Structure and Function

·      Historical understanding of concept of evolution including Plato and Aristotle’s viewpoints, Cuvier’s idea of catastrophism, Hutton’s concept of gradualism, and Larmarkian evolution

·      Natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin

·      Evidences of evolution including fossil record, anatomical homologies and molecular homologies, drug-resistant HIV viruses, and Grants’ study concerning finch beak depth in the Galapagos Islands

·      Evolution of populations and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium under certain conditions but when those conditions met, a population could undertake microevolution

·      Mechanisms of microevolution include mutations, nonrandom sexual reproduction, genetic drift, gene flow, and natural (only natural selection makes population better suited for environment)

·      Modes of natural selection (stabilizing, diversifying, directional)

·      Natural selection cannot fashion perfect organisms, only better organisms for a given environment

·      Biological species concept of a species and the arise of new species = macroevolution

·      Modes of speciation (allopatric speciation vs. sympatric speciation)

·      Tempo of speciation (gradualism vs. punctuated speciation)

·      Parsimony, phylogeny, and cladistics

 

 

 

END OF SECOND TERM (MIDDLE OF JANUARY)

 

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

January - February

(approximately 4 weeks)

PLANT PYLOGENY & PLANT STRUCTURE / FUNCTION

(20%)

 

THEMES

 

Evolution

 

Continuity and Change

 

Interdependence of Nature

 

Structure and Function

 

Regulation

·      Phylogeny of 4 major plant groups (bryophytes, seedless vascular, gymnosperms, angiosperms) and evolution from charophyte green algae

·      Problems and solutions overcame to move from aquatic to terrestrial environment (location of resources needed, gravity, dessication, UV radiation, reproduction)

·      Alternation of generations in bryophytes, seedless vascular, gymnosperms and angiosperms, including a detailed account of the seed, structure and function of flower, and angiosperm reproduction

·      Plant structure and cell types of leaves, stem, and roots and function of each plant organ and cells that comprise them

·      Meristems and primary growth

·      Role of membranes in symplast and apoplast movement of materials in root absorption

·      Transport of water and minerals from roots to shoots in xylem by means of transpiration-cohesion-tension mechanism

·      Stomata and guard cells control transpiration rates

·      Transport of sugars produced in photosynthesis from shoots to roots in phloem

·      Plant nutrition and mycorrhizal relationships

·      Plant hormones and responses to physical stimulation of light (phototropism), touch (thigmotropism), and gravity (gravitropism)

 

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

March

(approximately 1.5 weeks)

DIVERSITY OF ANIMAL KINGDOM

(4%)

 

THEMES

 

Evolution

 

Continuity and Change

 

Structure and Function

·      Animals are characterized by body plants and divided into groups based on these plans (unicellular, diploblastic, triploblastic, acoelomate, pseudoceolomate, eucoelomates, protostomes, deuterostomes)

·      Classification of major animal phyla based on above terminology (Porifera, Cnidaria, Platyhelminthes, Mollusca, Annelida, Arthropoda, Echinodermata, Chordata)

·      Characteristics of chordates

·      Characteristics of vertebrates

·      Overview of evolution of vertebrates (fish and characteristics, amphibians and characteristics, reptiles and characteristics, reptiles and characteristics, birds and characteristics, mammals and characteristics)

 

 

 

Month

College Board Standard

Topics of Discussion

Assignments

March - April

(approximately 5 weeks)

ANIMAL SYSTEMS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS

(16%)

 

THEMES

 

Structure and Function

 

Energy Transfer

 

Regulation

 

 

·      Major functional organ systems of the body (digestive, circulatory, respiratory, immune, nervous, muscular, endocrine, excretory, reproductive)

 

·      Compare nonvertebrate digestive systems to vertebrate digestive systems

·      Vertebrate digestive system – tracing a cheeseburger through the digestive tract and discussing role of each organ involved

·      Empahsis on villus and the absorption of substances from the digestive tract

·      Digestive hormones and negative feedback– gastrin, CCK, secretin

·      Regulation of blood glucose – glucagon / insulin

·      Open vs. closed circulatory systems

·      Function of circulatory system

·      Characteristics of blood vessels, with emphasis on capillary

·      Structure of mammalian heart and circulation through heart and body

·      Cardiac cycle

·      Gas exchange and characteristics of any respiratory surface

·      Gills – the respiratory surface of aquatic organisms

·      Lungs – the respiratory surface of most terrestrial animals and the mammalian respiratory pathway with emphasis on alveolus

·      Regulation of breathing depends on concentration of CO2

·      Transport of O2 and CO2 from lungs to body and body to lungs

·      Nonspecific lines of immune defense – first line of defense is skin, second line of defense is neutrophils and macrophages

·      Specific line of defense includes the immune response involving T and B cells

·      Cell mediated immune response

·      Humoral immune response

·      Neuron structural organization

·      Resting membrane potential and maintaining a membrane potential

·      Ion channels open and close to create depolarizations which could summate to an action potential when a nerve actually transmits a signal

·      Propogation of nervous signal down axon and from one nerve cell to another nerve cell or target cell using neurotransmitters

·      CNS vs PNS

·      Structure of skeletal muscle and sarcomere

·      Muscle contraction and the sliding filament theory

·      Control of muscle contraction based on Ca++ and nervous stimulation

·