AP Biology Weekly Schedule

This is a chronological look at the weekly learning objectives for the old AP Biology curriculum. Please visit jcibapbiology.wordpress.com for my take on the redesigned curriculum. There you will find “The Daily Grind”, a blow-by-blow look at my class. Also, check out weekly learning objectives. This is a great overview of my approach to teaching AP/IB Biology. I provide a rationale for my scope ans sequence on weekly learning objectives. The “Essential Readings and Essential Figures”, is up but under construction. Feel free to take a look at what I’m doing here, but note these items will change throughout the summer. My goal is to revamp this age by 1August14.


The schedule below, and the more the detailed account  found on my AP Biology Weekly Schedule page of this blog will remain here for posterity(?), a historical perspective, and serve as  contrast between the “old” course and the “new” course.

This schedule is aggressive, however, students should expect to finish activities for homework and be prepared to discuss their work during the following class period. You must follow through on an activity. Complete the Learning Cycle! It is essential that students have the opportunity to reflect on their data and discuss their ideas. Even if this means you “cover” less content, so what? Given your time constraints, you have to teach the most important content more deeply. Notice I’m avoiding the word, “cover”. We don’t want to “cover” content. We want our students to “uncover” content, we want them to learn the important content and we want them to understand it.

An overview of the Learning Objectives for each week can be found at the AP Biology Learning Objectives page of this blog.

Week 1, Introduction to biology and ecology: Daily Schedule

Day 1: Take care of your administrative business including text book distribution, going over your syllabus, Describe any extra supplies and equipment you want your students to have (flash dives, lab note books, etc), set the tone for the year, establish classroom norms, and assess your students knowledge and writing ability with the 2006 FRQ 1. Students should begin reading chapter 1.

Day 2: Lead a discussion of the major themes of biology paying special emphasis to 1) The cell is the basic unit of structure and function, 2) All organisms contain heritable information in the form of DNA, 3) Structure and Function are correlated, 4) Organisms are open systems that interact with their environments, 5) Regulatory Mechanisms Ensure Dynamic Balance, 5) Evolutionary connections explain the unity and diversity of life. Students should be reading Chapter 1.

Day 3: Basic overview of ecology with an emphasis the scale of ecology, the relationship between the Earth and the Sun and how that influences distribution of terrestrial biomes. Students should be reading Chapter 50.

Day 4: Population Ecology I. Emphasize population distribution patterns, and define the difference between density and distribution. Introduce survivorship curves by graphing “typical” survivorship curves. Students should be reading Chapter 52.

Day 5: Population Ecology II. Relate survivorship curves to r- and k- selection and how these selection pressures influence life history strategies. Work with students to describe the characteristics of typical r- selected and k-selected organisms. Students should be reading Chapter 52.

Week 2, Populations and Communities: Daily Schedule

Day 6: Graph logistic growth of a model population. Have students identify the “r-phase” and the “k-phase” and relate this concept back to r- and k- selection. Students don’t need to know the formula for the Logistic Growth model, but they do need to understand what little r is, that it represents the difference between births and deaths, know that r represents exponential growth and that as population size (N) reaches K, the over all rate of growth reaches zero. The population doesn’t crash; it just reaches equilibrium. (Emphasize that this is a form or negative feedback and regulation.) Students should be reading Chapter 52.

Day 7: Introduce basic community interactions and basic community concepts. Students should begin reading Chapter 53.

Day 8: Lead a discussion of the more difficult community concepts like disturbance, succession and island biogeography. The good news is this is really just common sense, but you can help students formalize their knowledge. Students should be reading Chapter 53.

Day 9: Lead a discussion or allow students to draw food webs, food chains and trophic structures of typical terrestrial and aquatic biomes. If time permits, relate these interactions back to the basic interactions you discussed on Day 7. Students should be reading Chapter 53.

Day 10: Introduce the ecosystem concept using the Model depicted in Chapter 54 (7th Ed) or Chapter 55 (8th Ed.). Make sure to differentiate between ecosystem concepts (primary producers and primary consumers) and community concepts (plants and herbivores). This can be tricky. Also bring in the “rule of 10” Generally, only 10% of the biomass at one trophic level is converted to biomass at the next trophic level. The other 90% is lost as heat. Students should begin reading Chapter 54.

Week 3, Ecosystems: Daily schedule

Day 11: Finish discussion of the ecosystem model and make sure to emphasize links between living and detritus-based trophic pyramids. Be sure to emphasize the “Rule of 10” and the disproportionate size between the primary producer trophic level and the tertiary consumer level. Relate these concepts to aquatic ecosystems. (Students should be reading the sections of Chapter 54 related to the ecosystem model and primary and secondary productivity.)

Day 12: Relate the “Rule of 10” to Community Productivity and Community Respiration. Perform part B of AP Lab 12 (measuring initial DO of water), set up light and dark bottles and light attenuation experiment

Day 13: AP Lab 12 Data Collection: Unwrap bottles and measure DO in all bottles. Assign Questions at end of lab for a lab write up. (A formal lab write up is not necessary.)

Day 14: Brief review of Ecology concepts BASED ON STUDENT QUESTIONS. If they don’t’ ask questions, assume they know their content and begin your summative assessment. Seriously. You need to train them to speak up and ask questions. This is essential for their success in AP Biology.
Begin Summative Assessment Part 1:  Students should write a published AP Biology FRQ. I suggest Question 3 (Q3) from 2003, or Q3 from 2001.

Day 15: Summative Assessment Part 2: 45 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) Exam. Use the ecology questions available on the NMSIteachers website, the LTF site, use questions from my old ecology exams, or build your own. The key is to use published AP questions and AP-level questions from your Campbell test bank.

Week 4: Chemistry of Life I, Daily Schedule

Day 16: Review basic chemistry, Assign Chapter 2 as reading for homework. If you have a chemistry diagnostic, use it. Jump right into discussing the importance of water to biological systems. (Students should be reading Chapters 2 and 3)

Day 17: Continue discussing water’s role in biological systems. Continue discussing water and the fitness of the environment. Discuss water at several levels of organization. Be sure to discuss the fact that water is a polar molecule, has a relatively high specific heat, and a high heat capacity. Review the pH scale. It is important to get students to describe adhesion and cohesion, and hydrophobic vs. hydrophilic molecules. (Chapter 3) Begin teaching the central role of Carbon in biological systems. Emphasize the other key atoms of life (H, N, O, P, S) (Students should be reading Chapters 3 and 4)

Day 18: Continue with the importance of Carbon and the big 6 Functional Groups. Don’t linger here. Make sure your students know the Big Six Functional groups. They should recognize them and know their functions. If you have a molecular modeling kit available, use it. 2) Make sure students can differentiate between Monomers and Polymers as well as hydrolysis and dehydration synthesis. If time permits, continue on to carbohydrates. (Students should be reading Ch 5)

Day 19: Continue with macromolecules. Focus on the structure and function of carbohydrates (polysaccharides) such as amylose/glycogen, and cellulose. Lead an overview of lipids. Be sure to describe the wide variety of functions lipids serve. (Students should be reading Ch 5)

Day 20: Finish lipids. Teach the structure and function of nucleic acids. Describe both DNA and RNA, but do not bog down here. You will teach this in much greater detail in unit 5 (Molecular Biology). If time permits, begin proteins. (Students should be reading Ch 5)

Week 5: Chemistry of Life II, Daily Schedule

Day 21: Teach the structure of proteins. Integrate student manipulation of 3-D models during the lesson. (Students should be reading Chapter 5)

Day 22: Teach the functions of various proteins in cells. Pay special attention to integrins and to enzymes. Describe how enzymes work and highlight the active site. I suggest modeling enzyme activity with the “toothpickase” activity, the pool noodle activity Carol Leibl introduced at the Aubun APSI, or using starch packing peanuts, water and saliva. If you want/need more information. Please ask me. (Students should be reading Chapter  8, pp. 150-155)

Day 23: Perform AP Lab 2: Enzyme Catalysis. Collect data on H2O2 degradation in the presence of catalase. If probeware is available, I strongly encourage you to use it. It will allow you to obtain your learning objectives.
(Students should be reading Chapter  8, pp. 150-155)

Day 24: Analyze data from AP Lab 2. Discuss the effects of various environmental parameters on enzymes. If probeware is available, students should design an independent experiment to test the effects of various environmental parameters on catalase activity. Assign lab write up for AP Lab 2.
(Students should be reading Chapter  8, pp. 150-155)

Day 25: Tie up any loose ends on macromolecules (like how enzymes work) or review macromolecules. Begin the first part of assessing this lab. Assign the Question 1, Part A from the 2008 AP Biology FRQ exam.
(Students should be reviewing Chapters  2,3,4,5,8)

Week 6, Summative Assessment of Chemistry and Introduction to cells: Daily Schedule

Day 26: Unit 2 Exam. I suggest no more than 45 MCQ. Use released AP questions, AP-level questions from LTF Diagnostics, AP-Level Questions from your test bank. I have old tests I am happy to share.

Day 27: Introduce cells by comparing prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Perform a quick microscope lab on Eukaryotic cells. (Begin with section 6.2). Assign student groups short research projects on membrane-bound organelles. (Students should be reading Chapter 6.)

Day 28: Discuss the importance of Surface Area to Volume Relationships and how this relationship drives the evolution of cell structure and function. Perform one of the Surface Area to Volume labs described in the Learning Objectives section. I can help you with these resources. (Students should continue reading Chapter 6.)

Day 29: Begin discussing the structure and function of the phospholipid bilayer and discuss diffusion and osmosis across the membrane.  (Students should be reading Chapter 7.)

Day 30: Have students perform AP Lab 1, Part A and discuss of facilitated diffusion, active transport and co-transport. Describe how these processes are different than what’s happening in the dialysis tubing. (Students should be reading Chapter 7.)

Week 7, Cells, Intercellular Interactions. Daily Schedule.

Day 31: Students should perform AP Lab 1, Part B and Set up Part C. (Students should be reading Chapter 7.)

Day 32: Students should finish AP Lab 1, Part C, and analyze group data from AP Lab 1, Parts B and C to determine concentration of each sucrose solution. Assign Part D for homework. Assign Part E as an extra credit assignment or perform after discussing Extra Cellular Structures. (Students should be reading Chapter 7.)

Day 33: Lead a discussion of the structure and Function of The Cytoskeleton and the extracellular structures in Chapter 6, section 7. (Students should read Chapter 6, sections 6 & 7.)

Day 34: Lead a brief overview of Cell-to-Cell signaling. No more than 45 minutes, even if you are on extended block. Emphasis should be on the basic components of a Signal Transduction Pathway and the role of kinases in cells. (Students should look at important figures in Chapter 11.)

Day 35: Introduce the cell cycle by asking students what is being divided…the cells’ genome. Direct student attention to Figure 12.5. AP Biology is not as interested in the stages of mitosis so much as it is interested in the relationship of mitotic division to the rest of the cell cycle. (Students should be reading Chapter 12.)

Week 8, Cells, The Cell Cycle. Daily Schedule

Day 36: Students should perform AP Lab 3A, Part 1: Identifying phases of the cell cycle. I recommend Onion Root Tips and avoiding Whitefish Blastula. Onion chromosomes are easier to see. (Students should be reading Chapter 12.)

Day 37: Students should perform AP Lab 3A, Part 2. They should partner up on the microscopes and count at least 200 cells. If students are accurate, then they should see a majority of cells in Interphase and the 2nd highest percentage in prophase or metaphase. Assign write up questions for Lab 3A. (Students should be reading Chapter 12.)

Day 38: Lead a discussion on Control of the cell cycle. Emphasis should be on Checkpoints and internal controls of the cell cycle like Cyclins and MPF. (Students should be reading Chapter 12.)

Day 39: Lead a discussion on the external controls of the cell cycle and ask students to research the basics of cancer, cancer cells, metastasis and how cancer relates to the cell cycle. (Students should be reading Chapter 12.)

Day 40: Wrap up any loose ends on your Cell Unit, and begin summative assessment. There are very few AP Bio FRQs on the cell cycle exclusively, so I recommend 2007, Question 1, Part A from the 2007 exam. For 2 bonus points, ask them to answer the fourth bullet in Q1, Part B. It links back to cell signaling. (Students should be reading Chapters 6,7, 11 — important figures — and 12.)

I realize this pace and the learning objectives are aggressive. I have had 98% passing scores using this laboratory-based approach. I will support each of you if you fall behind, or need help with laboratory prep, or you need help teaching a lesson, please let me know. The unit on Bioenergetics is coming next. Get ready!

Week 9, Cells: Summative Assessment on Cells. Begin Bioenergetics: Overview of Metabolism and Cellular Respiration.

Day 41: Unit 3 Exam: 50-60 MCQ. These will range from easy to challenging. Again, use published AP Bio MCQ, LTF diagnostics, or your test bank. I have several tests that I am willing to share.

Day 42: Begin Bioenergetics. Open the unit with an overview of the laws of thermodynamics and energy concepts: Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy and Equilibrium. I lead my students on a tour of the school grounds and ask them to make observations and write down examples of the concepts above. Relate the laws of thermodynamics to the “two sides” of Metabolism: Catabollism and Anabolism. These two processes are coupled by Cellular Respiration, and specifically oxidative phosphorylation.

Day 43: Lead an overview of Cellular Respiration. Focus on how the phases of Cellular Respiration are linked. Spend a little time on the concept of Re-Dox  (use the “OIL RIG” or “LEO the lion says GER” examples. OIL RIG = Oxidation Is Loss, Reduction is Gain; LEO = Loses an electron, Oxidized; Gains electron, Reduced. For those students that really want to know, gaining an electron reduces the charge of an atom because electrons are negative. This is a tough concept for AP Bio students to get. Don’t get bogged down. Tell them it’s something they need to know and get on with it. With Cellular Respiration, we’re usually following the Hydrogen (e.g. NAD+ is reduced to NADH, notice the charge of NADH is lower than NAD+). Teach students that glycolysis is literally “sugar break”, Glyco = sugar, Lysis = break.  Do not focus on the 12 steps of glycolysis. Focus on energy investment (ATP) to trap and destabilize glucose, then energy return (ATP) via Substrate Level Phosphorylation (SLP). What is SLP? It’s an enzyme facilitated transfer of a phosphate group to ADP. That’s all they need to know. Don’t make it complicated.

Day 44: Introduce the Kreb’s Cycle. Keep it very simple. Pyruvate converted to Acetyl Co-A enters the Kreb’s cycle. What’s the point? Electron shuttles (NADH) are generated for the electron transport chain (ETC) and CO2 is given off. This is where CO2 is generated. Do a pre lab activity for AP Lab 5 (cellular respiration)

Week 10: AP Lab 5 and focus on oxidative phosphorylation of ATP via Electron Transport Chain and Chemiosmosis.

Day 45: Perform AP Lab 5: Cellular Respiration. Use probeware if at all possible. All you need are data collection devices (LabQuest, SPARK or GLX) and CO2 sensors. Talk to your ASIM specialist, or ask me for help if you don’t have access to probeware. Use the glass vials as a last resort.  With probeware, this lab is snap. It’s very cool to see how temperature affects rates of cellular respiration in either germinating peas or crickets.

Day 46: Analyze Data from AP Lab 5. Assign a write up for AP Lab 5. I prefer the questions contained in the College Board Lab Manual to a formal lab report. Begin a discussion of the Electron Transport Chain.

Day 47: Teach the concept of the electron transport chain and chemiosmosis of H+ through ATPase. Together this mode of ATP synthesis is called oxidative phosphorylation. This is a tough concept, but if students get it, it unlocks an understanding of metabolism and in a sense, evolution.

Day 48: Wrap up cellular respiration by reviewing the connections between the phases of cellular respiration, the inputs and outputs of each phase, the NADH that shuttles between each phase and the energy (ATP) payoff at each phase. Finally, compare oxidative phosphorylation with fermentation (=gycolysis). Aerobic energy production in the presence of oxygen is roughly 18 times more efficient that anaerobic energy production. That is a profound difference, and it points to the evolutionary significance of cellular respiration and it how it paves the way for eukaryotic cells and ultimately, to multicellular life.
Lead a quick discussion on the significance of ATP. What is its role in cells: it powers mechanical work, it powers biosynthesis, and it mediates metabolism by participating in biochemical reactions.

Begin with an overview of photosynthesis. Don’t make the mistake of saying it’s the reverse of cellular respiration. It is the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy. Where as cellular respiration is the harvesting of chemical energy into something even more useful.

Day 49: Lead a thorough discussion of photosynthesis. Discuss the properties of light, the visual spectrum and how the visual spectrum relates to plants, specifically chlorophyll. Review the anatomy of a chloroplast. Don’t bog down, but highlight the areas where photosynthesis takes place: the thylakoids for light reactions and the stroma for the light independent reactions. Preview AP Lab 4.

Week 11: Photosynthesis and Summative Assessment

Day 50: Perform AP Lab 4, Part b: Light Dependent Reactions. Again, use probeware if possible. A colorimeter set to 610 nm is as good as a spectrophotometer, and you can run the reactions in the colorimeter cuvettes without a test tube rack. This is very convenient. Follow the set up from the College Board Manual and merely substitute the colorimeter for the Spec 20.

Day 51: Be sure to revisit the data from AP Lab 4. Students have a difficult time discerning what happened in each tube. Make sure they understand that DPIP was reduced, and use that knowledge to teach what happens in light reactions along the thylakoid membrane. (BTW…chemiosmosis happens, but this time chlorophyll is oxidized by light, (electrons are boosted by light) and the flow of electrons is used to create a chemo-electric gradient that is tapped to make ATP via facilitated diffusion of H+ through ATPase. This is chemiosmosis all over again, but we call it photophosphorylation because light drives the reactions.

(Notice that I skip the plant pigment chromatography activity. You can go back and do this during your botany unit if you have time.)

Day 52: Lead a discussion on the light independent reactions. Be sure to indicate that the ATP and the NADPH generated during the light reactions are used to reduce CO2 to CH2O in the Calvin Cycle. The details of the Calvin Cycle are unimportant. What is important is this is an anabolic reaction that converts CO2 (an oxidized form of Carbon) to Glyceradehyde 3-Phosphate (G3P). This G3P is a reduced form a carbon, a carbohydrate, that is building block of all the molecules a plant synthesizes: sugars, proteins and lipids.

Day 53: Review Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis. Be sure to ask students why plants make ATP, and be sure to remind students that plants have mitochondria. The ATP generated during photosynthesis is used to make sugar. Plant cells (and plant mitochondria) use sugar from photosynthesis to generate ATP via cellular respiration. This can be a particularly difficult concept for students to grasp. If they get it, they truly understand cellular respiration. Give students the 2009 FRQ #2. (Perhaps the best FRQ I’ve ever seen for AP Biology.)

Day 54: Summative assessment of bioenergetics. 50-60 MCQ test. Students traditionally score poorly on this exam, but their lab work should hold up their overall grades. If they do poorly on this exam, but they understand the concepts, they will do well on this section of the AP Biology Exam.

Not sure what happened to Day 55 (it’s a “flex day”)

Day 56: Lead a discussion on the “Road to the Double Helix”. How deep should you go? This discussion shouldn’t last more than 45 minutes, and it should end with a look at the double helix. I like to include the evidence each scientist, or group of scientists, generated and show how that evidence was cobbled together to determine the structure of DNA. You might have groups of students take a particular scientist/experiment (e.g. Griffiths) and have them present the evidence (e.g. heat killed S-bacteria mixed with living R-bacteria lead to dead mice and living S-bacteria)

Day 57: Perform a DNA extraction experiment. “Going Bananas from LTF, a classic Strawberry DNA extraction, or a human cheek cell DNA extraction (Bio-Rad has a great kit, and I can send you that protocol and tell you how to perform this experiment on the cheap)

Day 58: Discuss the Semi-Conservative Nature of DNA replication. If you have pop beads (and you should) have students build a quick and easy model of a 3’ to 5’ strand of DNA and then build the complimentary strand (5’ to 3’) off that template. Then have students split the original strand and build two new strands off the original strand. This is simple and cheap, and it’s a nice visual of semi-conservative DNA replication. Have each group of students explain how they did it to you.

Day 59: DNA replication up close: Meet the 6 enzymes responsible for replicating DNA. I like the simple cartoon from McGraw Hill on the DNA Replication fork: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0072437316/student_view0/chapter14/animations.html. I want students to know what all the major enzymes do. I don’t get too concerned with DNA polymerase I vs. DNA polymerase III. They do need to realize that DNA polymerase only works in the 5’ to 3’ direction, and therefore the 3’ to 5’ strand is the “leading strand” (that means this strand is replicated quickly and in one piece). The 5’ to 3’ strand is the “lagging strand” because it’s replication lags behind as the enzymes continually loop around to stitch the new strand together. Why? Because the active site of DNA polymerase only recognizes the free Hydroxyl group (-OH) on the 3’ end of the new DNA strand. See, biochemistry is important!

Day 60: Finish DNA replication and do a quick overview of Excision Repair. Don’t’ get too bogged down with Telomers. If your students ask you, tell them they are non-coding regions of DNA that play a role in cell death. When telomeres get short enough…the cell has divided enough, it’s time for the cell to die.

Day 61: Lead a discussion on the “Central Dogma”. Start with an overview (Fig 17.3) and get down to the triplet code (Fig. 17.4). Have students model this by having a template DNA strand that code that codes for an mRNA strand, which codes for a polypeptide.

Day 62: Finish modeling the Central Dogma. Pop Beads work great. Check out http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/ for other ideas. Ask me if you get stuck.

Day 63: Discuss the details of Transcritption (see Weekly Learning Objectives)

Day 64: Discuss the details of Translation (see above). By modeling these complex processes first, you have some grounding to talk about these concepts.

Day 65: Discuss the role of mutations. Most teachers use Sickle Cell Anemia as an example. I’ve got some decent pencil and paper and pop bead activities to explore this concept. Email me if you want copies of them.

Day 66: Introduce the concept of bacterial genetics, plasmids and transformation. Walk students through the idea behind the transformation lab. (These are microscopic processes, so students NEED a way to visualize this concept)

Day 67: Perform part 1 of AP Lab 6a: Transform bacteria and plate transformed and non-transformed bacteria on LB and LB-amp plates. Again, Bio-Rad’s pGLO Bacterial Transformation kit is fool proof. For those of you in Huntsville and Madison County, Hudson Alpha will come out and perform this lab with you and your students.

Day 68: Analyze plates and observe them under normal light and UV (long wave UV) light. Discuss WHY the bacteria survive in the presence of ampicillin and WHY only the cells with arabinose in the plate glow under UV light. If you need help with the concepts PLEASE ASK ME. I have taught this lab over 24 times, and I always learn something new. It is an excellent lab and really opens the door to understanding control of gene expression. This is an essential concept in AP Biology.

Day 69. Discuss the role of operons in bacterial genetic control. Students should be able to model both repressible and inducible operons, discuss their component parts and describe the evolutionary advantage of each. I realize this is considerable detail, but the operon model reinforces the relationship between proteins, DNA, transcription and translation. (Ask me for help with ideas about teaching operons without lecturing.)

Day 70: Wrap up any loose ends with the pGLO lab and bacterial genetics, overview of viruses: phages and retroviruses should be highlighted.

Day 71: Briefly describe eukaryotic control of gene expression (CHAPTER 19). Focus on Week 15 Learning Objective 1.

Day 72: Perform AP Lab 6A: Electrophoresis. I like the Bio-Rad PV-92 kit because students can perform PCR of their own DNA and see their DNA in a gel. Obviously, I would love for you to use my Mitochondrial Genetics module from PASCO and Edvotek, but that’s not required.

Day 73: Analyze gels and discuss the banding patterns

Day 74: Exam on molecular genetics (40-50 points)

Day 75: FRQ on molecular genetics…there are several to choose from. I suggest 2009, Q4. Notice that my learning objectives fit this question extremely well. This question goes from easy and general (part A), to specific (part C). This is excellent preparation for what students will see on May 8, 2011.

Author’s Note 1: You can use AP Lab 6a and 6b to teach Chapter 20 (Biotechnology). Student should be familiar with cDNA libraries, Gene sequencing, transgenic organisms (Genetically Modified Organisms…or GMOs), and stem cells and gene therapy. But this is all “nice to know” stuff. It isn’t essential for success on the AP Biology exam. You can completely skip chapters 21 AND 38. These are high-end biotechnology and genetics concepts that don’t show up on the exam.

Author’s Note 2: Notice we are half way through the curriculum! I am working on a 150-day schedule. This will allow you to finish at least 10 school days prior to the AP Biology Exam. This will give you time to finish and review difficult concepts.

Author’s Note 3: Somehow I lost 5 days over the winter break (probably due to final exams). No worries. The idea is we’re picking up on classic genetics and we have two weeks to uncover this material. Don’t let the snow days get you down and don’t let them stress you out. We’re going to make up that time during the classification and biodiversity section of the evolution unit.

WEEK 19: Classic Genetics 1

Day 80: Mendel’s monogenic traits and Mendel’s Laws (the law of segregation and the law of independent assortment). Relate Mendel’s to chromosomes during Meiosis 1. Campbell has nice diagrams regarding this concept. Have your students perform AP Lab 3B (Meiosis Simulation) during class or for homework.

Day 81: Use Mendel’s Pea experiments as an example of simple dominance (100% penetrance). Move QUICKLY to other patterns of inheritance (codominance, incomplete dominance and polygenic inheritance). It is important for students to know that Mendel was right, but that monogenic inheritance (100% penetrance) is the exception, not the rule. It is also important for students to know Mendel’s laws and understandings of particulate inheritance help us understand the basis of genetic diseases. Assign Punnet Square problems (monohybrid, dihybrid, polygenic, sex-linked, etc.) as homework. I never took these problem sets up for a grade, but told students that these types of problems would be on the unit exam.

Day 82: Using Campbell and Reece’s Biology as a resource, have students explore the relationship between complete, incomplete and codominant using Tay-Sachs disease, Sickle Cell Anemia and Mendel’s Round vs. Wrinkled Seeds. Students should look at these three diseases at the organismal, biochemical/metabolic level, and a molecular level. This sounds simple, but it really helps students understand the relationship between gene (genotype), gene product, gene product interaction and phenotype.

Day 83: Students should research the genetic diseases found in Chapter 14 (Tay Sachs, Sickle Cell Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis, Huntington’s Disease and achrondoplasia), and report on the gene, the type of mutation in the gene that causes the disease, describe the mutated gene product and describe the clinical presentation of the gene. Also, have students report the “target population.” I have included other diseases in the past. My graphic organizer for these diseases is available to any teacher who wants it.

Day 84: Students should working on pedigrees and be able to use pedigrees to describe the following Patterns of Inheritance (Autosomal Recessive, Autosomal Dominant, X-linked recessive, mitochondrial/plastid).

Week 20: Classic Genetics 2

Day 85: Continue your discussion of the genetics of complex traits by addressing the following concepts: epistasis or epigenetics, multiple alleles, plieotropy and sex-linked (usually X-linked) traits. Understanding X-linkage is of primary importance. Understanding epigenetics can be accomplished two ways. First, helping students understand albinism is an excellent way of teaching epistasis and it allows you to reinforce the concept of dihybrid crosses. Second, looking at the SRY (the Sex determining Region of the Y chromosome) is a great way to explain how some genes turn on other genes. You can also relate epigenetics back to histone acetylation and methylation (Ch. 19) and X inactivation (Ch. 15). Plieotropy can best be explained by looking at Sickle Cell Anemia. Challenge students to follow the effects of a single point mutation through the protein, cell, tissue, organ and organismal levels.

Day 86: Discuss the idea of gene linkage with students. This is a complex idea that can be explained very simply (the best approach) would be to use the bead chromosome models from AP Lab 3. Genes that are close to each other on a chromosome are likely to get recombined together during prophase 1 of meiosis and are, therefore, linked.  Chromosomes far away from each other are likely to get recombined. Geneticists visualize this by constructing linkage maps for chromosomes. Increased percentage of recombination is mapped as a large distance between genes on a chromosome. The opposite is true for genes with a low percentage of gene recombination.

Day 87: Teach students about non-disjunction and aneuploidy by leading a karyotyping activity or a lecture. Students also need to understand the basic alterations of chromosome number. It’s essential to relate these chromosomal aberrations to real genetic diseases. I deemphasize abnormalities in sex chromosomes, but students do want to be aware of them. (They’ll look this up on their own!)

Day 88: Flex Day One. Finish any of the genetics concepts listed above or review genetics problem sets. Also, familiarize your students with multifactorial disorders (e.g. cancer, diabetes II, cardiovascular disease), organellar (e.g. mitochondrial) disorders and methods of genetic screening. This is good knowledge for students to have and helps them understand the relationship between an individual’s genetics and their environment.

Day 89: Flex Day Two. Wrap up concepts listed above, review for exam, or go over genetics practice problems. If you are more than one day ahead, don’t wait. Administer Genetics Exam a day early.

Day 90: Classic Genetics Exam (ideally 50 Q) and one FRQ (use your structured after school sessions to debrief this exam.

Week 21: Darwin’s big ideas, Evidence for Evolution, Population Genetics and understanding natural selection

Day 90: Briefly introduce pre-Darwinian ideas about evolution. Briefly, discuss the big influences on Darwin’s thinking: geologist Charles Lyell, his trip around the globe on the H.M.S. Beagle and Thomas Malthus. Introduce Darwin’s main two ideas: 1) Decent with Modification and 2) Natural Selection as the mechanism. I find it helpful to have students dissect the “observations and inferences” contained in the yellow box on page 444 in Campbell (7th Ed.)

Day 91: Discuss various lines of evidence for evolution. Ideally you have specimens for students to look at. Compare fish and amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Compare ferns (esp. Equisetum), a cone bearing plant, a magnolia and a flowering plant.

Day 92: Introduce Population genetics. A population is the smallest biological system that can evolve! You need to drive this point home. Introduce the “modern synthesis” of evolution, paying particular attention to polygenic traits that exhibit a continuum of phenotypes (p 455, Campbell 7th Ed.). This concept will show up on the AP Exam. Discuss the language of Population Genetics including population, gene pools, and allelic frequencies. Introduce Hardy-Weinberg Theorem. It’s a “fake system” where evolution (change in gene frequency) does not occur.

Day 93: Testing the Hardy Weinberg Theorem. Perform AP Lab 8 (Population Genetics).

Day 94: Discuss the evidence gathered from AP Lab 8 (Population Genetics). Student will throw up a “math barrier”. Don’t accept the barrier. Students can learn that little p and little q represent dominant and recessive alleles. They understand homozygous and heterozygous. They need to know that the H-W equation representes all the potential matings in a breeding population.  Work one or two H-W problems with your students and then assign the problems in AP Lab 8 for homework (a rare homework assignment in AP Biology).

Week 22: Natural Selection in the real world and introduction to macroevolution.

Day 95: Start the week with a review of natural selection (I strongly suggest leading students through Figure 1.20 From Cambell 7th Ed. (the first chapter). This focuses students on the essential concept: phenotypic differences (hereditary variations) lead to Differential Reproductive Success. Students need to be able to define this concept and have a concrete example of this concept.

Day 96: Discuss some of the nuances of population genetics and “mitigating factors” that influence micro evolution (change in allelic frequency) like genetic drift, bottle neck effect (both of which can lead to “founder effect’) and gene flow (the “opposite” of genetic drift). Have examples of each. Discuss different modes of selection (Directional, Disruptive and Stabilizing). Put this on the students. Provide them with the graphs and let them define the mode (or type) of selection, explain why it occurs, and come up with a real-world example of the mode of selection.

Day 97: Discuss the role of sexual selection in evolution of populations. Student should be able to differentiate between intra-sexual selection (competition within gender) and inter-sexual selection (competition between genders). Students should be able to explain how this drives the “fitness of a population”.
•    Begin Speciation (reproductive isolation)

Day 98: Continue with speciation/reproductive isolation. Students need to know pre-zygotic and post-zygotic barriers to inter-specific reproduction. Students need to know that the key to evolution of species is reproductive isolation. This is a simple lesson that will help reinforce population genetics concepts.

Day 99: Students need to be familiar with allopatric and sympatric speciation. In short, animals are more likely to exhibit allopatric speciation, while plants are more likely to exhibit sympatric speciation because of plants’ relative ease of hydridization and tolerance of aneuploidy. (And who said biology isn’t a cumulative science.)

Week 23: Continue with Macroevolution, Overview of Systematics and the Origins of Life. Summative assessment on evolution.

Day 100: Modern Speciation. Familiarize students with the concepts of gradualism and punctuated equilibrium. The need to know how evolutionary/developmental biology (Evo-Devo) has led to a deeper understanding of reproductive isolation. Focus on Hox genes, heterochrony and allometric growth. Basically, changes/mutations in genes that control development greatly change the size, shape and behavior of an individual. If enough individuals have these changes, then they can become reproductively isolated from the parent population and give rise to a new species.

Day 101: Systematics. Students need understand clades and cladistics. They need to be able to construct phylogenetic trees and cladograms from character tables (see Fig. 25.11 in Campbell 7th Ed.). It is essential that students understand shared primitive characters and shared derived characters. Ask me for help with this if you need it. I have a good activity. Skip the rest of this chapter. I don’t cover the principle of parsimony. However, students should be familiar with the “Universal Tree of Life” and they should know two things: it is based rRNA sequences across all domains of life. It suggests that horizontal gene transfer (non-darwinian mechanism) drove much of prokaryotic speciation and drove the evolution of eukaryotic kingdoms. The new AP Bio curriculum highlights horizontal gene transfer as essential knowledge.

Day 102: If time permits…have your origin talk. Students need to have a feel for natural selection on a molecular level and they need a rudimentary understanding of a RNA-based world. Campbell writes about this beautifully on pp. 515-516 (7th Ed.). I have a cool slide on “Darwinian Machines” if anyone wants it. It elegantly describes how Natural Selection applies to non-living systems. Students also need to understand the endosymbiotic origins of eukaryotes and have two or three pieces of evidence supporting this theory.

Day 103: Evolution Unit Exam (50 MCQ)

Day 104: Evolution FRQ I will have two up soon. and let students pick one to write. Time them. They need to be finishing within 22-25 minutes now. Debrief unit exam.

For all you “clock watchers” at Day 104 of this guide you have completed 66% of the AP Biology curriculum. You’re 2/3 of the way there. To quote Amos Lee, “Keep your head up, kid.”

Week 24: Biodiversity Blitzkrieg

Day 105: Prokaryotes (Ch. 27). This is one of the more important biodiversity chapters. Students should walk away with the following understandings about prokaryotes: 1) they keep us alive and we need them a lot more than they need us; 2) individually, they are metabolically simple, but as a pair of Domains (Archea and Bacteria) they are metabolically diverse (see Table 27.1) 3) bacteria enter into a myriad of beneficial symbiotic relationships with eukaryotes.

Day 106: Protists (Ch. 28). Students need to know three things about protists. First, they are grouped together because they don’t fit anywhere else. They are the most metabolically diverse clade of eukaryotes. Second, they evolved via endosymbiosis. Third, members of the protist clade gave rise to the metazoan organisms we’re more familiar with in the Eukaryotic Domain. Chlorophyta (green algae) gave rise to terrestrial plants. Choanoflagelates are the likely ancestors to animals. Slime molds are similar to fungi

Day 107: Do a quick ‘scope Lab on Protists if you have time, decent microscopes and good slides. Carolina and Wards have excellent protist sets. I like students to be  familiar with a green algae (Volvox), a mixotroph (Euglena) an endoparasite (Plasmodia or Trypanosoma), and a radiolarian.

Day 108: Fungi (Chapter 31). (We’ll circle back to plants at the end of the year.) This should be super quick. Your students need to be aware of a few things things. One fungi are the workhorse decomposers in terrestrial ecosystems. Two, they accomplish their digestion and absorption of detritus by maximizing their surface area: volume ration below ground. Three, they maintain their genetic variability by performing both asexual and sexual reproduction (funky). Four, they are responsible for the colonization of land by terrestrial plants, and plants owe their success to a symbiotic relationship with fungi. Five, fungi are famous as plant and animal pathogens, yet they also make life as we know it worth living. I’m talking about yeast (beer and bread)…not mushrooms and acid.

Day 109: Introduction to Animal Diversity Invertebrate Diversity (Ch 33) 1: In AP Biology, the simplest concepts are usually the most important. That’s clearly illustrated in Chapter 32. Take time to review basic concepts in animal structure and function such as symmetry, tissues (germ layers) and body cavities (coelom) and development (protostomes vs. dueterostomes). Use the Phylogenetic tree in Figure 32.10 to guide your investigations of invertebrates and chordates. I ignore Figure 32.11.

Week 25: Biodiversity Continued: Intro to Animal Structure and Function. Invertebrates, Vertebrates and basic physiology

Day 110: Invertebrate Diversity 1 (Ch 33): Using the phylogenetic tree described in Figure 32.10, focus on the following phyla: Cnidaria and Ctenphores, Platyhelminthes, Nemotoda, Rotifera, Mollusca, Annedlida, Arthropoda and Echniodermata.

Day 111: Invertebrate Diversity 1 (Ch 33): Continuing with the above phyla, your students should know the shared primitive characters of all inverts along with the shared derived characters and adaptations of each phyla. If you’ve got good samples, have students observe and draw examples of each phyla.

Day 112: Vertebrate Diversity (Ch 34): Given that students are likely familiar with their vertebrate cousins, you don’t need to spend a ton of time here. My sincerest apologies to all my zoologist friends. Your students should be very familiar with the phylogenetic tree that describes vertebrate evolution in Figure 34.2 They should also be able to describe how each derived characteristic has lead to the success of each clade of vertebrates. Students should also know the defining characteristics of each of the major classes of vertebrates.

Day 113: Continue with your investigation of vertebrates. If time permits, spend a moment on Tiktalik and the vertebrate “invasion” of land. Check out http://tiktaalik.uchicago.edu/ for more. I skip the section on human evolution as current research is rapidly expanding our knowledge of hominid and human evolution.

Day 114: Basic principles of Animal form and function. Like Ch 32, this simple chapter is one of the most important in the book. In fact, Figure 40.7 (the bioenergetics of an animal) is one of the three most important figures in the text. The other two are 9.16 and 54.2 (all of them deal with energy).  Figure 40.4 gives students an overview of all the mammalian systems (and their connectivity). This chapter also looks at the relationship between size and metabolic rate and introduces homeostasis, using thermoregulation as an example. I would hit these high points and move on. Students should be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of endothermy and ectothermy.

Oh yeah, you should probably have a test now.

Week 26: Animal Physiology I: Neurophysiology and Cardio-Vascular Physiology)

Day 115: Overview of CNS, Take a “macro to micro” approach here. Students should know the divisions of the CNS (somatic, autonomic – SNS and PNS and enteric). They should know the different parts of the brain and their function. They should also know the difference between an arc reflex and an integrated loop.

Day 116: Begin looking at the cellular basis of neural conduction. Students need to know the anatomy of a neuron, the role of glial cells. They need to know what the resting potential of a neuron is (-70 mV) and how the resting potential is set (the Na/K pump). I don’t get too deep into the Nernst Equation. They do need to know that this is active transport and the neuron is an “energy glutton”. It used the energy to set up the resting potential. Consider the resting neuron like a loaded spring, ready to depolarize.

Day 117: Students need to know why and how an action potential is generated. Students also need to understand salutatory conduction, how the electrical signal generated by the axon hillock results in a release of chemicals (neuro- transmitters) at the synapse. It’s all thanks to Ca++ and voltage gated ion channels, but I digress. This is something I have the students draw and label.

Day 118: Finish Neurophysiology by looking at Summation of action potential (EPSP and IPSP) and teaching the Neuromuscular junction (NMJ)and how muscles contract (Ch. 49). Skeletal muscles and the NMJ are the only parts of Chapter 49 I teach. I leave the “special senses” alone.

Day 119: Introduction to vertebrate Cardio-vascular physiology. Students should know the difference between open and closed circulatory systems, the evolution of 4-chambered hearts and “double circulation”, but concentrate on mammalian (e.g human C-V physiology). Students need to know the gross anatomy of the heart, the pulmonary and systemic circulatory system and the cardiac cycle.

Week 27: Animal Physiology II: Cardio-vascular physiology and immune system

Day 120: AP Lab 10: Mammalian circulatory physiology. Students should meet all the laboratory objectives for human circulatory physiology. Pay particular attention to the baro-receptor reflex portion of the lab and the “Step test” (exercise physiology). Getting blood pressure is nice, but don’t bog down on it. I skip the daphnia experiment and I occasionally look at fish tail circulation, but only when time permits.

Day 121: Finish AP Lab 10, and make sure students know why HR increased during exercise and why it may not have fallen back to resting HR before the experiment ended.

Day 122: Review blood pressure and the flow of blood through capillaries. STUDENTS NEED TO KNOW how gasses and nutrients are exchanged across capillary beds (see Fig 42.14). It’s very important. Briefly discuss vertebrate respiratory systems. Students need to know how negative breathing works and they need to know the partial pressures of CO2 and O2 in various parts of the body (Fig. 42.27). I suggest graphing this data and having students see that these gasses will just diffuse along their concentration gradients.

Day 123: Brief, brief, brief overview of blood constituents, the differentiation of RBC, WBC and platelets. Students should be familiar with the clotting cascade, but enough with all the “stuff” please.

Day 124: Overview of immune systems (Ch 43). Spend time discussing the general immune response and inflammation (Fig. 43.6).

Week 28: Animal Physiology I (Immunology) and II (digestion and excretion)

Day 125: Cell-mediated immunity. Students need to know the roles of Helper T cells, B cells, killer T-cells and antibodies. They also need to know the difference between MHC I and MHC II and how these molecules activate Killer T cells and Helper T cells respectively.

Day 126: Finish the immune system. Discuss HIV as an example of how the immune system (specifically cell-mediated immunity works). Students also need to be familiar with clonal selection and immune memory and specificity.

Day 127: Digestion and Nutrition (Ch 41). This is essential information, but ultra-basic. I suggest students know the four stages of digestion, know the primary and secondary digestive organs and their functions. They also need to know the flow chart of enzymatic digestion of food within the GI tract (Fig. 41.21).

Day 128: Finish digestion and be sure to review homeostasis in terms of blood glucose levels and discuss the hormonal control of digestion (Fig. 41.22)…interesting stuff.

Day 129: Osmoregulation (Ch. 44). This is complicated stuff, but you need to take bird’s eye view. Students should take four things away from this chapter. One, water balance is probably the greatest regulatory challenge for terrestrial animals. Two, there is a cost-benefit spectrum for excreting various types of nitrogenous waste (see Fig. 44.8). Three, all kidneys have four essential functions: filtration, reabsorption, secretion and excretions (Fig. 44.9). Four, the nephron is the functional unit of the kidney and the parts and general functions of each part matter (Fig 44.14). Plus the names are kind of cool. “Bowman’s capsule.” “Loop of Henle”. I love it.

Week 29: Finish Animal Physiology and Summative Assessment

Day 130: Do a very brief discussion of reproductive physiology. Don’t focus on the anatomy (your students can figure that out for themselves!). Instead focus on the hormonal regulation of the menstrual cycle and the hormonal regulation of spermatogenesis and  sexual development in males.If timer permits, discuss the embryo and its relationship to the placenta.

Day 131: Do a quick overview of development. Students should know how fertilization works, they should understand the idea of cleavage, early stages of development, gastrulation, the differentiation of the three primary germ layers…and the tissues that are derived from these layers.

Day 132: Review Animal Physiology. Tie up any loose ends.

Day 133: Exam on Animal Physiology (50 MCQ)

Day 134: FRQ on Animal Physiology (give your students a choice of two)

Up Next…a quick unit on botany focused on the phylogenetic relationships between plants, adaptive traits of the different clades of plants, plant transport and nutrition, and ecological connections.

Below are the ten essential concepts from those lessons. The power point slides that accompany these learning objectives are attached to this email. For you speed readers, just focus on the learning objectives and skip the descriptions. No one needs to “cover” Ch. 38.

Learning Objective (LO) 1: Students need to know the four major clades of plants (Bryophyte, Pteridophyte, Gymnosperm, and Angiosperm). They also need to understand that the sporophyte dominates more derived clades of plants while the gametophyte gets smaller in these more derived clades. Students should also be familiar with the alteration of generations of these clades and be able to name at least 2 adaptations that have allowed these plants to be successful in terrestrial habitats.

LO 2: Students should know the basics of angiosperm double fertilization. One sperm fertilizes the egg, giving rise to the plant embryo; while another sperm fertilizes the endosperm, giving rise to the embryo’s food. I remind my students that the endosperm is what is being metabolized during the Cell Respiration lab (if you used peas or beans).

LO 3: Students need to understand the basics of plant transport, and they should be familiar with five aspects of transport. First, bulk transport can be described as water moving along its concentration gradient (water potential gradient) from high (soil) to extremely low (atmosphere). * Second, Students need to know that soil to root transport is mediated by thin epidermis on root hairs and active transport of solutes into the roots (remember, “water chases the solutes). Third, students need to know that xylem accent is mediated by transpirational pull and the adhesive/cohesive properties of water. Fourth, transpiration of water from the leaves to the atmosphere is regulated by the guard cells surrounding the stomata. Finally, transport (or translocation) of sugars in the phloem is facilitated by active transport of sugar into the phloem cells and then the weight of the sap is carried down by gravitation.
* Students should perform AP Lab 9 (transpiration in plants) here.

LO 4: Students should know the basics of photosynthesis. Light reactions convert solar energy into the chemical energy of ATP and NADPH by electron transport and chemiosmosis. The chemical energy of ATP and NADPH is used to drive the endergonic process of sugar production in the Calvin Cycle. Rubisco (an enyzme) “fixes” CO2 to RuBP a five-carbon compound. This short-lived compound breaks into two 3-carbon compounds that are converted into the 3-Carbon compound G3P (a real sugar C3H6O3).

LO5: Photorespiration Happens! When O2 is in high concentrations in the mesophyll cells of plants it acts as a competitive inhibitor or Rubisco. It outcompetes CO2 for Rubisco’s active site. The plant cells expend energy but don’t make sugar. Certain plants have evolved adaptations for fighting photorespiration.

LO 6: Students should be familiar with the two major adaptations for fighting photorespiration. C4 plants (e.g. grasses, corn, and sugar cane) have a spatial separation between CO2 uptake and sugar formation. CO2 is taken up and stored as malate, then sent to the bundle sheath cells in the interior of the leaf where the CO2 is released to the Calvin Cycle. Basically, Rubisco is isolated into a low O2 environment. CAM plants (e.g. cacti and desert succulents) use temporal separation between CO2 uptake and sugar formation. They open their stomata at night, bind CO2 as Crussalean Acids, store these acids in a central vacuole, close their stomata during the day, and release the CO2 to Rubisco during the day when solar energy is available to generate ATP and NADPH needed to drive the Calvin Cycle. Phew.

LO7: Students should understand that plants can’t run and therefore must respond to multiple stimuli simultaneously. A plant’s response is usually caused by relative concentrations of various hormones in a plant’s tissues. The hormone with the highest concentration “wins” and will elicit a response.  Basically there are three “Go!” hormones: auxins, cytokinins, and gibberellins; there are three “No Go!” hormones: ABA, Brassinosteroids and Ethylene. The College Board will most likely ask about ethylene.

LO8: Plants can differentiate and respond to different qualities of red light thanks to phytochromes. Phytochromes respond to Red light (660 nm) and “Far Red” light (720 nm). Generally speaking, plants that are under the influence of “far red” light will grow up (shoots will elongate), while plants under the influence of red light will stop growing up and branch “out” instead (new above ground shoots are produced).

LO9: Plants can respond to a variety of environmental stresses. The major stresses are desiccation, flooding, mechanical stimulation (e.g. herbivory), gravity, and extremes in temperature.

LO10: Plants have dominated land thanks to mutualistic relationships with subterranean microorganisms, namely Rhizobium bacteria and fungi known collectively as mycorrhizae.

25 Responses to AP Biology Weekly Schedule

  1. Aarti Brooks says:

    This website is VERY helpful. If I had seen this earlier, I would have modeled my teaching around this. I am a first year AP teacher (11 year bio teacher) and the struggle is time. Our class periods are 48 minutes long and we have many interruptions to the schedule that knocks the periods to much less than that at least 1-2 times per week.

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      thanks for the comment. There’s always next year. One of the things I love about AP Bio is the constant improvement that occurs year over year. I like to think of it is as “using what works and trimming the fat.”

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      keep checking in, I’ll have my classic genetics unit and evolution units up soon. If you keep getting squeezed for time, check the “AP Bio Learning Objectives” if you’re hitting those (regardless of what week you’re on), then you’re teaching the currciculum.

      Those 47 minute periods are very challanging. I encourage you to teach to the labs and do the labs, regardless of the time factor. A well done lab and well done debrief will allow you to engage more students AND teach the content.

  2. Lena says:

    It looks like I will be taking over AP bio next year and your site has been immensely helpful in making it seem doable! Do you have the final days planned out somewhere? And which book are you using? If it isn’t the same book we use, I’m seriously considering buying a copy to compare chapters.

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      I’ll have the last unit, Botany, up by the end of the week.

      I am a big fan of Campbell and Reece’s Biology. I use the 7th Edition, the 9th edition is out now. Two excellent AP Bio instructors from Tennessee have correlated the new text to the “redesigned” AP Bio curric. I will make that information available on this blog as time permits.

      • Lena says:

        Oh fantastic thank you!

        I will be using the Campbell and Reece Biology….I can’t remember right now but it’s the 7th or 8th edition.

  3. cheryl says:

    This is extremely helpful!! What an awesome undertaking!

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      keep checking in. I’ll have more up for AP Env. Sci (APES) and I’ll be working with several colleagues on a useful, creative approach to the AP Bio redesign that really pushes the fundamental concepts, focuses on the connections between the APB Big Ideas, and gets students into an inquiry mode in lab.

  4. Esi says:

    This website is so helpful in planning my curriculum! Like other people have said, I wish I’d found it sooner so I could align my curriculum. I’m a first year teacher in general, so I’m trying to figure out so many things at once, but this helps in figuring out what to focus on specifically. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll finish all the content by the test, but there’s always next year for another chance. Thank you so much!

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      Hopefully you’ll “finish” by May of 2013. I think the big challenge for us all this year is figuring out what to teach, teaching students to write succinctly, and teaching students to live with ambiguity. The new test leaves the test taker not knowing if they did well or not. When I took a practice test there were at least 10 items I was not sure if I got right or wrong. I got them right…but I missed several that I thought were right. Getting clued into what test development wants from our students will take a few years.

  5. Do you have a activity on shared derived characteristics available still?

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      Email me at the end of the week, and I’ll shoot it out to you. I’m about to go move into my new classroom/lab. Awh yeah.


  6. Kathryn Cross says:

    I am a first year AP Bio teacher and I stumbled upon this website. I think it is simply awesome b/c I needed to know how to begin the first few weeks. I needed something I could pattern to get me off to a start. Do you have any activities , like any reading guides?

    • Ryan Reardon says:


      Check back in the next few days after I transition my blog to reflect teh redesigned curriculum. I’m not big on guided reading assignements, but I will be generating screen casts to help students connect the essential concepts contained in the texts. You’ll be welcome to those. I’ll probably come up with one or two pointed questions to make sure kids are reading what they’re supposed to…and give them practice putting pen to paper and articulating what they know (an essential skill for success in May 2013!)


  7. Kathryn Cross says:

    Yes, I wouldn’t want it to be traditionally like Bio 1 class that I teach. We do have workbooks, guiding reading, etc. This is why I wanted to get some pointers from successful people since I am a newbie. Thank you, I will check back.

  8. Kathryn Cross says:

    I also noticed that you started with ecology first, any reason why ecology and not chemistry review?

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      We chose to go with ecology for two reasons: 1) It’s conceptually easy (especially if you don’t get too deep into the math of primary and secondary productivity), and 2) it provides ample opportunities for students to work with data and sharpen their data analysis skills.


  9. kathryn Cross says:

    Hello, I was checking back to see if you did update your blog to reflect the transition curriculum. Any updates?

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      yes, check out jcibapbiology.wordpress.com You’ll see my week-by week approach. I plan to do a little updating tonight while sucking down some Sierra Nevada Pale Ales.

  10. Shane Self says:

    I am a first year AP Biology teacher and ANY info, power points, you may have would be greatly appreciated!!

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      I’ll have a Youtube channel up soon. It will contain ultra-brief screen casts of essential figures in Campbell. I honestly believe that all teachers should internalize the content and build their own teaching resources (notes, blogs, power points, etc.) I will, however, be glad to share some of the essential content (notes and power points) I developed in my last job. Remind me before the end of the week.

      • Shane Self says:

        I agree completely but I am just looking for all the material I can get so I can get a better idea of what I need to focus on. I really appreciate all your help. The first week has gone pretty good, I already have one parent complaining about the pace! Here is my email, I have some questions if your not too busy: shane.self@fpdmacon.org

  11. Jessica says:

    is this weekly AP bilogy schedule aligned with the new 2012 curriculum?

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      Unfortunately, no. Check out my new blog jcibapbiology.wordpress.com for the 2012 version. I’ll make a note of that soon and have a link from “The Skin Of My Teeth Blog”.

      I’ve moved back to the classroom, in a new school, just in time for the redesign. Let me know what you think of the new school blog.

    • Ryan Reardon says:

      yes, in regards to the way I’m teaching it. We start with the cell, work back to Biochem…bleed into macromolecules and, specficially, proteins, then get into enzymes, then into metabolism and bio energetics.

      My students are currentl doing a probe-based lab to investigate the effect of cell size on SA:V and on cooling rate. Next week we’ll do a lab on osmosis (a guided inquiry on sucrose [ ] of various fruits and tubers.

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