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Biology AP

SCI 505/506

Biology AP

  • Course ID:SCI 505/506
  • Semesters:2
  • Department:Science
  • Course Rank:College Level
  • Teachers:Dave Fornaciari

Description and Objectives

The AP Biology course is a college course in biology.  The study of life or  the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to the environment through changes originating internally.The Textbook is college level as is the pace of the class.  It is the study of life in all its glory with the idea of observing and learning about God’s creation.  

First Quarter

  • Themes in the study of life: living organisms share common aspects of structure, and energy flow; organisms interact with and affect their environments;  evolution explains unity and diversity.
  • Life chemistry and energy:  atomic structure, atomic interaction, carbohydrates, lipids.
  • Nucleic acids, proteins, and enzymes:  informational macromolecules, polymers with structural and metabolic roles, enzyme regulation.
  • Cells:  biochemical reactions, prokaryotic cells, eukaryotic cells, cytoskeleton, extracellular structures.
  • Cell membranes and signaling:  structure of cellular membrane, passive transport, active transport, membrane vesicles role in transport, membranes role in response to environmental signals.
  • Pathways that harvest and store chemical energy:  chemiosmosis, carbohydrate catabolism with and without oxygen, catabolic and anabolic pathways, respiration and photosynthesis.
  • Cell cycle and cell division:  different life cycles, mitosis , cell reproduction under precise control, meiosis.
  • Genes and chromosomes:  Mendel’s Law, phenotypes, genes carried on chromosomes.
  • DNA: structure, replication, mutations.
  • Proteins and gene expression:  strategies to regulate gene expression including operons, transcription factors, and post transcriptional regulation.

Remainder of the Year

Four big concepts dominate AP Biology:

  1. The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life. Themes revolving around evolution are  genetic makeup of a population over time, linked organisms by lines of descent from common ancestry, and  life evolves within a changing environment,
  2. Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis. Themes revolving around energy are  a constant input of free energy, organisms exchanging matter with the environment, cells creating and maintaining internal environments, feedback mechanisms are used to regulate growth and reproduction, and homeostasis of biological systems are influenced by changes in the environment.
  3. Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes. Themes revolving around evolution are heritable information provides for a continuity of life,  eukaryotes pass on heritable information by processes that include the cell cycle such as mitosis and meiosis plus fertilization,  chromosomal basis of inheritance provides an understanding of the pattern of transmission of genes,  expression of genetic information involves cellular and molecular mechanisms, processing of genetic information is imperfect and is a source of genetic variation,  and cells communicate by generating transmitting and receiving chemical signals.
  4. Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties. Themes revolving around this concept are competition and cooperation, important aspects of biological systems,  interactions within biological systems lead to complex properties, and naturally occurring diversity among and between components within biological systems affects interactions with the environment.


Principles of Life: ISBN 1-4292-9117-6 First Edition

Course Requirements

This note will explain the assessment procedures, expectations concerning make up work, and specific areas for the first quarter’s area of study as well as a description of themes for the whole course. .

Assessment will include grades from the following: weekly announced quizzes and tests , daily vocabulary quizzes from the previous night’s reading , chapter checks from the spiral notebook , and labs.  When absent please be sure your son makes up the work.  Tests ,quizzes, projects are to be made up upon return to class. Please note late homework is not acceped.

Successful Students

From my observations, the greatest challenge for a student in a high school science is the need to do consistent work over the entire quarter. Success in the course will depend on a student’s motivation, consistent daily preparation, reading ability, organizational skills, attentiveness, and the ability to think abstractly. These skills, at the present time, may not be at their peak, but the student’s willingness to develop and apply them throughout the year is essential for a positive learning experience.

Additional Resources

When your son is absent be sure to have him stay to make up work as needed.  Upon their return to class the student is expected to participate in all activities including tests/quizzes unless a note is presented to me and signed by a parent. Work for a 1-day absence should be made up in 2 days, and for an extended absence work should be completed within 5 school days.   I try to be available after school but the student should check with me first to be sure.

Summer Assignment

No AP Biology summer assignment. However, if you feel you wanted to do something to prepare I would suggest you get a 9th grade biology text (from me), and I would suggest some chapters to read over the summer. Some of these chapters we did not cover in 9th grade. This would be especially good if you have not taken high school biology yet. But there is no required assignment and nothing will be collected at the start of the school year.