AP BIOLOGY SYLLABUS
Textbook: Biology (Sixth Edition) by Campbell, Reece, & Mitchell
The Advanced Placement Biology curriculum is equivalent to a college course usually taken by biology
majors during their first year of college. Students obtain weighted credit by successfully completing the AP
Biology exam at the end of the course. The course differs significantly from a first year high school
Biology course with respect to the kind of textbook used, the range and depth of topics covered the kind of
laboratory work done by students, and the time and effort required by the students. The primary emphasis
of the course is on developing an understanding of concepts; 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 the application of biological knowledge and critical thinking to
environmental and social concerns.
Topics covered in the course include chemistry of life, cells and cellular processes, heredity, molecular
genetics, evolution, diversity of organisms, structure and function of both plants and animals, and ecology.
In addition, students will conduct all twelve of the Collegeboard AP Biology laboratories.
Students are provided with a variety of teaching techniques that require independent study and group
• The eight major themes from the AP biology course description are referenced
throughout the year, and special attention is given to evolution as a unifying theme.
Students are taught to understand that life has a history and there is an underlying unity of
life that is best explained by evolution. I continually use this theme of unity and
interdependence in nature to illustrate to students the important environmental, medical,
and social concerns associated with biology.
Theme 1-Science as a process- Students use scientific reasoning to problem
solve through experimentation.
Theme 2-Evolution-Students compare ecological time with evolutionary time
and examine how they correspond.
Theme 3-Energy transfer-Students are asked to describe the movement,
conversion, and storage of energy within an ecosystem.
Theme 4-Continunity and change-Students are asked to consider how specific
changes to an ecosystem can affect organisms that live within it.
Theme 5-Relationship of Structures to Function-Students are asked to consider
how organisms are physically adapted to survive and reproduce.
Theme 6-Regulation-Students are asked to describe the relationship between an
organism’s regulatory mechanisms serve to aid or hinder its survival in
Theme 7-Interdependence in Nature-Students will describe how organisms
interact within their environments, and how they cannot survive without such
Theme 8-Science, Technology and Society-Students are asked to consider how
the population growth of human beings has influenced local ecosystems
throughout history, and how it continues to do so, even to the extent of affecting
the entire biosphere.
• Manipulatives are given to students to use throughout the course to introduce, cement, or
motivate students to learn abstract concepts
• Students use interactive computer simulations found on the web to learn about
photosynthesis, genetics, and evolution.
• Students read and abstract one scientific journal per six weeks and the class discusses
them in a fish bowl format.
1. To familiarize students with the terminology and concepts of Biology using a theme-oriented
approach that emphasizes concepts and science as a process over knowledge of facts.
2. To enhance problem-solving skills of students using hands-on labs, readings, collections,
independent projects, and class discussions.
3. To strengthen students’ communication skills with the use of written assignments, essays,
abstracts, and lab reports.
4. To prepare students for further study in the Biological Sciences.
Subject Weeks of Instruction % of AP Test
Chemistry of Life 2 7%
Cells 5 18%
Genes 9.5 17%
Mechanics of evolution 3 8%
Biological Diversity 2 8%
Plant Form & Function 3 12%
Animal Form & Function 7.0 20%
Ecology 2.0 10%
PreAP Biology, Chemistry I (may take concurrently), and Algebra 1 are required. Students may also enroll
with teacher recommendation.
Students must maintain a "C", each nine weeks, in order to remain in the course. Students are also required
to take the AP Biology exam in May.
Textbook & Study Resources:
Biology 6th ed. By Campbell, Reece, & Mitchell, Benjamin/Cummings Publishing, 2005.
CD-ROM: Interactive Study Partner, By Campbell, Reece, & Mitchell, Benjamin/Cummings
Student Study Guide for Campbell's Biology, 6th Edition. 2005. Benjamin/Cummings Publishing
Advanced Placement Biology Laboratory Manual for Students, College Entrance Examination
• Spiral notebook
• 3-ring binder with pocketed dividers
• Standard size, loose leaf notebook paper
• Pencils with erasers
• Colored pencils
• Folder with 2 pockets for Lab Reports
• Black ink pens
• Typing paper
• Access to the internet & a word processor
Grades will be determined each six weeks as follows:
Exams (unit tests, collections, major projects, etc.) 40%
Lab Reports, lab tests, & lab practicals 30%
Daily work, abstracts, etc. 30%
Students are required to complete twelve (12) labs set forth by The College Board Advanced Placement
Program. Students are expected to read each lab carefully before coming to the laboratory and are
responsible for following all correct laboratory and safety procedures. Students should also use the lab aid,
LabBench, to make sure they understand all lab procedures before beginning a lab exercise. Due to the
large amount of time required for laboratory set-up, it is essential that you are always present on lab days.
Within one week of completing the lab, students will turn in professional quality, typed lab reports in the
format provided by the instructor.
Chemistry of Life (2 weeks)
• To understand the unique chemical and physical properties of water and to know how these
properties make life on earth possible
• To explain the role of carbon in the molecular diversity of life
• To explain how cells synthesize and break down macromolecules
• To explain the structure of biologically important molecules
• To explain how enzymes regulate chemical reactions
• Construct organic molecules using molecular model sets
• AP lab 2: enzyme catalyst
Cell (2 weeks)
• To explain the similarities, differences and evolutionary relationships between prokaryotic and
• To understand the current model of membrane structure and to explain how different molecules
pass across the membrane
• To show how cells use compartmentalization to organize the various cellular function
• To understand which factors limit cell size and to explain how and why cells divide
• AP LAB 1: diffusion and osmosis
• Make a 3-D model of an organelle
Cellular Processes (3 weeks)
• To demonstrate the role of ATP and the chemiosmotic theory in cellular processes
• To show how organic molecules are catalyzed
• To explain the photosynthetic process and to show how it compares and contrasts with cellular
• AP LAB 4: plant pigments and photosynthesis
• AP LAB 5: Cellular respiration
Heredity (3.5 weeks)
• To explain which features of meiosis are most important to sexual reproduction
• To follow the paths of chromosomes and individual genes through gametogenesis
• To explain how genetic information is organized
• To demonstrate and understanding of the importance of Mendel’s Laws of inheritance
• Pedigree analysis
• AP LAB 3: Mitosis and Meiosis
• AP LAB 7: Genetics of Organisms
Molecular Genetics (4.5 weeks)
• To know the major types of nucleic acids and explain how their structure is related to their
• To understand the various mechanisms of gene expression
• To show the forms of gene mutation
• To explain viral structure and replication
• To understand modern biotechnological advances and how they may impact human lives
• AP LAB 6: Molecular Biology
Evolutionary Biology (3 weeks)
• To show and understanding of the current models for the origin of biological macromolecules
• To explain the evidence of evolution
• To demonstrate an understanding of the mechanics of evolution at work
• Creating a class cladogram of vertebrates
• Use protein sequence database to analyze evolutionary relationships
• AP LAB 8: Population Genetics and Evolution
Diversity of Organisms (1.5 weeks)
• To explain the main body plans of plants and animals
• To identify a representative organism for the major taxa
• To explain the major characteristics in each primary taxon
• To show evolutionary similarities among related groups
Structure and Function of Plants and Animals (10 weeks)
• To show what patterns of reproduction are found in plants and animals and to show how they are
• To understand physiological organization among living things
• To explain how organisms respond to their environment
• AP LAB 9: Transpiration
• AP LAB 10: Physiology of the Circulatory System
• Fetal pig dissection
Ecology (2 weeks)
• To show how models can be used to demonstrate population growth
• To show how energy flows through ecosystems
• To explain how humans may impact the ecosystem around them
• AP LAB 11: Animal Behavior (taught at the beginning of the year to reinforce
• AP LAB 12: Dissolved Oxygen and Aquatic Primary Productivity