Biotechnology Lab Ap Biology Essays

Please see the resource page for links and Powerpoints presentations.

 

AP Biology Course Information Sheet

Course number 4004-1

 

Teacher: Dr. Christine Rogers

 

Email: christine.rogers@henhudschools.org

Phone: (914) 257-5800, ext: 6809

Website:https://ny01813707.schoolwires.net/Page/1321

 

 

This course is intended to be equivalent to an introductory biology course found at the freshman university level and reflects the outline provided by the College Board.

 

  • All students enrolled in an AP course sit for the AP exam administered in May.
  • The students will gain an in depth and extensive knowledge of the living world around them.
  • They will develop critical thinking skills to master problem solving, using the scientific method.
  • The new AP Biology curriculum is very much focused on laboratory work, data analysis and interpretation, research and inferences, and creativity in science, as opposed to rote memorization. For this reason, a large amount of time will be dedicated to developing thinking skills involved in scientific research, as well as acquiring the basic biological and chemical knowledge necessary to make these interpretations and inferences. Students will develop scientific essay and laboratory report writing skills, as well as data analysis skills. They will be required to maintain a laboratory digital portfolio of their work, as well as to present their lab work.
  • All work (essays, projects and lab reports) will be submitted electronically through Google Classroom and Turnitin.
  • All work submitted should have a reference section and in text citations following the APA format. Students can use the Noodletool and/or the search in Google Docs utilities to write their papers and cite their references appropriately.
  • Plagiarism in all its forms will not be tolerated

 

 

The AP Biology Exam: Monday, May 8th 2017 at 7:30am.

Multiple Choice: 63 questions (including 6 numerical answers) in 1 hr 30 min.

Essays: 8 Essays in 1 hr and 30 min.

 

 

Students Responsibilities:

Students are expected to:

  • Arrive on time and ready to learn every day.
  • Bring a four function calculator with square root to class. (NO GRAPHING CALCULATORS)
  • Complete all course work assigned in timely fashion.
  • Take all tests and quizzes.
  • Make up tests will be provided for excused absences, by appointment only. Failure to attend the make up test on the agreed date and time will result in a zero for the test.
  • Attend class – if you have an unexcused absence for a class you will not be able to make up that day’s assignment. Check Google Classroom for assignments and new posts.
  • Complete and hand in all assigned lab reports, projects and homework by the due date. Late labs and assignments (including homework) will have 5 points deducted for each late day.
  • Respect and follow The Hendrick Hudson School District code of conduct, which will be strictly enforced.

 

Text: Students will use various on-line resources, posted on my website, as well as an AP biology level text book, “Biology” by Campbell.

 

Materials:

  • Course work: Students should possess a notebook or a binder to take notes. Four functions calculator with square root required (Graphing calculators will not be permitted)
  • Lab work: 2 inch binder to keep their lab work. Graph paper and lined paper. Color tabs separator sheets. Handwritten notes will be taken during labs.
  • Dry erase thin markers will be used during class and should be purchased.
  • Assigned Reading: Students will read “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. Paperback edition available, also available in local library.

 

Digital work:

All student work will be submitted through Google Classroom, except hand-written essays and tests taken in the classroom.

Homework will be posted in Google classroom, as well as Laboratory assignments and Essays.

Quizzes will be taken on line in Google classroom and submitted as such.

 

Students are encouraged to create an AP Biology folder on their Google Drive with a subfolder labeled ‘Lab Portfolio’ and another labeled ‘AP Bio Essays’. Students are encouraged to share their work with the teacher for immediate guidance (comments and questions) before the work is submitted for grading. This will allow fruitful collaboration and working feedback to improve the work as it is generated and increase the grades.

 

Grading Policy:

Grades will be calculated with a point-based system.

 

Tests, essays assignments, projects and lab reports have a maximum grade of 100 points each.

 

There will be approximately 4 tests per quarter and one benchmark assessment counting for one test grade for a total of 500 points. There will be 5 lab report grades per quarter, for a total of 500 points. Essays and projects will total to 600 points. These numbers may be adjusted depending on students’ progress, the need to repeat a test or an essay, changes in timing (snow days etc..) and lab schedule.

 

There will be approximately 10 quizzes of 20 points each per quarter, a note-taking/homework grade on 100 points and 2 participations grades (mid-quarter and end of quarter, based on daily recorded participation in the Class Dojo app) on 50 points. The number of quizzes will vary slightly from quarter to quarter, depending on the topic studied.

 

  • Tests, lab reports, take home tests, essays, projects: Approximately 75%
  • Homework, online quizzes, Note taking and class participation: Approximately 25%

 

Attendance: Student absences will be dealt with according to the district attendance policy.

 

Homework Policy:

  • Students will read handouts, complete worksheets and work on projects related to the topic of study.
  • Late labs and assignments (including homework) will have 5 points deducted for each late day.
  • On-line quizzes will have an electronic window open allowing students to take the test and quizzes will not be able to be taken outside of this time frame.
  • Students will be provided with links to relevant web sites and various exercises related to the topic of study. Students without access to an internet connection can use the school computers located in computer labs and library, or will be provided with paper copies of important information. Please let me know if you have any difficulty submitting digital work.
  • Class notes, homework, labs due dates, and assignments will be posted in Google Classroom.

 

Make-up Policy:

  • Make-up work, labs or tests will be provided for excused absences only, by appointment (for labs and tests). Failure to attend the make-up test or lab on the agreed date and time will result in a zero. Since most labs are completed over several days, students are expected to make up the work over consecutive days of the same labs, during their lunch period or study hall (if available) and/or afterschool.

 

Extra Help:

Extra help sessions will be posted in the classroom and on my website. Appointments are also available for extra help.

 

AP Biology 2016-2017 Syllabus.

 

NOTE: I may decide to teach the units in a slightly different order as the class progresses to best fit the educational needs (strength and weaknesses) of the students

 

Curricular Requirement as per College Board.

CR1: Students and teachers use a recently published (within the last 10 years) college level biology textbook.

CR2: The course is structured around the enduring understandings within the big ideas as described in the AP Biology Curriculum Framework.

CR3a: Students connect the enduring understandings within Big Idea 1 (the process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life) to at least one other big idea.

CR3b: Students connect the enduring understandings within Big Idea 2 (biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis) to at least one other big idea.

CR3c: students connect the enduring understandings within Big Idea 3 (living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes) to at least one other big idea.

CR3d: Students connect the enduring understanding within Big Idea 4 (biological systems interact and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties) to at least one other big idea.

CR4a: The course provides students with opportunities outside of the laboratory investigation to meet the learning objectives of Big Idea 1.

CR4b: The course provides students with opportunities outside of the laboratory investigation to meet the learning objectives of Big Idea 2.

CR4c: The course provides students with opportunities outside of the laboratory investigation to meet the learning objectives of Big Idea 3.

CR4d: The course provides students with opportunities outside of the laboratory investigation to meet the learning objectives of Big Idea 4.

CR5: The course provides students with opportunities to connect their biological and scientific knowledge to major social issues (e.g. concerns, technological advances, innovations) to help them become scientifically literate citizens.

CR6: The students-directed laboratory investigations used throughout the course allow students to apply the seven science practices defined in the AP Biology Curriculum Framework and include at least two lab experiences in each of the four big ideas.

CR7: Students are provided the opportunity to engage in investigative laboratory work integrated throughout the course for a minimum of 25 percent of instructional time.

CR8: The course provides opportunities for students to develop and record evidence of their verbal, written and graphic communications kills through laboratory reports, summaries of literature or scientific investigations, and oral, written, or graphic presentations.

 

Course overview.

This AP Biology course will deliver content and skills to the students, by allowing them to develop their own inquiries, thinking and problem solving skills, while understanding the relationships between the Four Big Ideas, enduring understandings and science practices. Students will explore the relationships between Big Ideas, integrate other sciences in the study of biology and recognize the unifying principles common to all living beings in a diversified biological world. CR2

 

Students will practice scientific research from recognizing a problem and asking questions, drawing hypotheses and designing experiments to test the hypotheses. The teacher will guide the students in their inquiries. Students will learn proper data collection and analysis, as well as to present their result in a concise, clear and accurate manner, by the way of graphs, tables, presentations, papers, and posters. Students will learn to read, analyze and understand scientific papers published in peer reviews specialized publications. CR6, CR7

 

Students will apply their knowledge of science and the biotechnology derived from the current scientific research to understanding ethical problems, society and legal issues, which may have an impact on their future lives. CR5

 

Instructional Context

Our High School is a traditional high school with 40 minutes instructional periods, and an A/B schedule allowing a double period (80) minutes every other day for laboratory investigations.

The AP Biology class has an open enrollment for juniors and seniors, with a strong recommendation for a previous chemistry class. Students will have already taken the Living Environment Regents class in 8th grade. A chemistry assessment test is given the first week of school, to determine strength and weaknesses of students in the knowledge of basic chemistry. Based on this formative test, a brief review of chemistry basics is tailored to the needs of the students.

 

Instructional Resources.

Reece, Jane et al., Campbell Biology, 7th Edition, 2005, Pearson Benjamin Cummings. CR1

AP Biology Investigative labs: an Inquiry Based Approach.

AP Biology Course and Exam Description.

Required reading: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.

Additional reading: “Rosalind Franklin, The Dark Lady of DNA” by Brenda Maddox.

 

Advanced Placement Biology Content and Curriculum

This course is structured around the four big ideas, the enduring understanding within the big ideas and the essential knowledge within the enduring understandings, as described in details in the AP Biology Course and Exam Description document released by the College Board. CR2

 

The big ideas:

 

Big idea 1: The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.

Big idea 2: Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.

Big idea 3: Living systems store, retrieve, transmit and respond to information essential to life processes.

Big idea 4: Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.

 

The Investigative Laboratory Component

 

The course is also structured around inquiry in the lab and the use of the seven science practices throughout the course.

 

Students are given the opportunity to engage in student-directed laboratory investigations throughout the course for a minimum of 25% of instructional time. Likely, it will be 30%, as students-generated labs and lab extensions will build a strong research based component to this course. CR7

Students will conduct a minimum of eight inquiry-based investigations (two per big idea throughout the course). CR6

Additional labs will be conducted to deepen students’ conceptual understanding and to reinforce the application of science practices within a hands-on, discovery based environment. All levels of inquiry will be used and all seven science practice skills will be used by students on a regular basis in formal labs as well as activities outside of the lab experience.

The course will provide opportunities for students to develop, record, and communicate the results of their laboratory investigations. CR8

 

Students will chose a topic of research at the beginning of the year in a subject related to biology and research the peer-reviewed published scientific literature on their chosen topic. They will find a relevant scientific article, read it in detail for understanding, while particularly examining the questions addressed by the paper, the hypotheses, methods used, the experimental design (including the data collection methods), the way results are analyzed and conclusions drawn. They will explore the statistical analysis used in the paper and the various methods of presenting the results. Students will present the article in front of their peers in a poster or slide presentation format at the end of the first semester.

Students will continue reading on their chosen topic and identify a problem to research based on their readings, and draft hypotheses relevant to this problem. Students will then decide on a hypothesis to explore and then design experiments to test it. Students will present their research proposal at the end of the year in a slide presentation, which will be a summative assessment of their research. CR5, CR8

 

Science Practices (SP)

  1. The student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.
  2. The student can use mathematics appropriately.
  3. The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.
  4. The student can plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.
  5. The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.
  6. The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.
  7. The student is able to connect and relate knowledge across various scales, concepts and representations in and across domains.

 

Documenting the students’ investigations, research and readings CR8:

Students will maintain a laboratory notebook and a portfolio throughout the course. In addition to the laboratory notebook, students will communicate to others in formats such as group presentations, PowerPoint presentations, poster sessions, and written reports. Communication tools are not only for the laboratory experiences, but represent examples of the collaboration, reflection, and articulation seen in the course as a whole. Students will use this collection of their work over time and reflect on the changes they can see in the quality or substance of their work through the year as they prepare to move into college courses and research experiences in the future. A key feature in the portfolio will be the requirement for student self-reflection in terms of the science practice skills that they have developed throughout the year. CR8

 

Units of Instruction

 

Unit 1: Introduction to Scientific Research (2 weeks at the beginning of the school year and 4 weeks after the AP exam)

CR5, CR6, CR7, SP1, SP3, SP4, SP6, SP7

 

Textbook Chapters:

  • Introduction: Theme in the Study of Life

 

Science Practices: In this unit, students will review science practices, methods of research and data collection strategies, modeling and mathematics, evaluation of evidence, validity of explanations, inferences and theories.

 

Discussion Topics and Skills:

Review of the Scientific Method

In this unit, we will explore in details the methods used in scientific research and investigation. Students will choose a topic they will study independently for the year. CR4a, SP1, SP3, SP4, SP6, SP7.

Students will review the scientific method and the critical steps in scientific investigation. Examples will be given on how the scientific method can be applied to test different kind of hypotheses and how scientific approaches differ based on the topic, subject or scope of the scientific study. The teacher will emphasize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to scientific inquiry, the importance of connecting various methods, skills and approaches to solve a problem SP7.

Students will be able to explain the meaning of the word “theory” when used in a scientific context and illustrate their understanding with selected examples. SP6.

This scientific inquiry approach will be used with all units and lab work throughout the year.

 

Activities and Labs:

  • Students practice in groups making hypotheses, designing experiments and models to answer scientific questions. They evaluate the best way to get data, best data representation, make graphs and tables and practice statistical analyses of mock data. SP1, SP2, SP3, SP 4, SP5, SP 6, SP7.
  • Students define an area of research they want to independently explore during the school year. They learn how to use scientific literature databases and use examples of suitable work to research. During the school year, they will research independently some scientific publications on the topic of their choice.
  • Students pick several scientific articles of interest, read them and briefly summarize them to the class and the class discusses their choices. They then decide which article to explore in depth based on class discussion.
  • Over 4 weeks, they will completely analyze the articles of their final choice, explore methods and analysis of the results, discuss the conclusions drawn by the scientists and present their work to the class in the form of poster or slide presentation.
  • Students start reading “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”. Discussion of the book will take place throughout the year. CR5

 

 

Unit 2: Review of Chemistry. Introduction to Biochemistry. Introduction to the cell. CR2, CR3b, CR3d (8 weeks)

 

Big Ideas 1, 2 and 4.

 

Connected Enduring understandings:

1.B: Organisms are linked by lines of descent from common ancestry.

1.D: The origin of living systems is explained by natural processes.

2.A: Growth, reproduction and maintenance of the organization of living systems require free energy and matter.

2.B: Growth, reproduction and dynamic homeostasis require that cells create and maintain internal environments that are different from their external environments.

3.A Heritable information provides for continuity of life.

4.A Interactions within biological systems lead to complex properties.

4.B Competition and cooperation are important aspects of biological systems.

4.C Naturally occurring diversity among and between components within biological systems affects interactions with the environment.

 

Textbook Chapters:

  • Introduction: Theme in the Study of Life
  • The Chemical Context of Life
  • Water and the Fitness of the Environment.
  • Carbon and the Molecular Diversity of Life.
  • The Structure and Function of Large Biological Molecules
  • A Tour of the Cell
  • Membrane Structure and Function
  • Cell Communication.

 

Discussion Topics and Skills:

  • Formative assessment in chemistry will be given to assess the chemistry basic knowledge of the students in that cohort. This will be a comprehensive multiple choice test addressing key concepts in chemistry to evaluate the level of the students and the specific concepts which need a deeper review.
  • All life on earth is based on the same fundamental elements. All living beings on earth are connected by the same biochemistry. CR3a, CR3b, CR3d, CR4a.
  • Brief review of organic chemistry.
  • Importance of water in biological system and how the properties of water are critical to life. CR3d
  • Relationship between structure and function of macromolecules. CR3b
  • Relationship between structure and function of nucleic acids.CR3c
  • Living beings interact with their environment and with each other, through biochemical and energetic processes. CR4b and CR4d.
  • Can we create a life form that is not carbon based? What are the characteristics of living systems and can we create them in artificial systems? Is this ethical? Discussion of molecular self-assembly and emergent properties of systems. CR5
  • First and second laws of thermodynamics. Energy flow between systems and within system. Enzymes, as biological catalysts, and their functions, as seen with examples of three dimensional modeling, data and graphs. CR3b, CR4b
  • A tour of the cell with the emphasis on prokaryotes versus eukaryotes, plant versus animal cell, specialization of cell functions, and the relationship between structure and function of organelles.
  • Cell membranes, Diffusion and Osmosis. The structure of cell membranes allows function such as membrane potential and compartmentalization of protein synthesis. CR3b, CR3c.
  • Cell communication, reception, transduction and response. Apoptosis. Evolution of cell signaling. CR3a, CR3b, CR3c, CR3d.

 

Activities and Labs:

  • Identifying organic compounds and building blocks of macromolecules.
  • Constructing macromolecules using building blocks, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. SP1
  • Discussion of non-carbon based life systems and creating artificial life systems, following viewing of TED.com talks on the topic. Students will write an essay on the ethics of such manipulation. CR5
  • Protein Models Lab: Learning to use protein folding software to predict the three dimensional structures of proteins based on their primary structures. Relationship between folding of the proteins and the hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of individual amino acids, depending on the folding environment (aqueous or transmembrane) of the protein. SP1, SP3, CR4b
  • Enzyme Catalysis Model: Objective: create models to illustrate an enzyme/substrate complex, the interaction of a competitive inhibitor, and the interaction of a noncompetitive inhibitor. CR4d
  • Microscopy Lab (student- generated): Students generate hypotheses and methods to identify plants cells and animal cells, eukaryotes and prokaryotes based on just a microscopic observation. Students observe, identify, compare and contrast animal cells, plant cells, prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Using pond water and website resources, students identify organisms found in a droplet based on their observations (unicellular, multicellular, prokaryote, eukaryote, animal, or plant cell). They draw a representative of each type of living organism recognized and observed. SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6, SP7
  • Enzymatic activity lab (student-generated): Students will analyze background information, develop a hypothesis, and design and carry out an experiment to determine optimum pH or temperature for an enzyme after determining the best way to measure the activity for this enzyme. CR4d
  • Student-generated Diffusion through a membrane and osmosis lab: students will design experiments to investigate relationship between surface area and diffusion, using phenolphtalein-basic solution agar blocks, placed in an acidic solution. The students will design experiments showing diffusion and osmosis across a membrane, using dialysis tubing. They will provide evidence of diffusion of various molecules based on their sizes. They will work with concentration gradients and hypothesize the outcome, collect data, calculate percent changes, construct appropriate graphs and discuss whether their hypothesis is confirmed by the data. All work will be kept in the laboratory notebook. CR3b, CR6, CR8, SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6.
  • Student- generated ‘Osmosis in a Cell’ lab: students will design experiments to show that plants cells will respond differently in different osmolarity conditions. They will use Eloda and design experiments where the cells are placed in various salt concentration. They will observe the cells under a microscope and record their observations in their lab notebook. CR3b, CR6, CR8, SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5, SP6.

 

Assessments:

  • Free response questions from previous AP exams:
    • 2010-2
    • 2002-2
    • 2005-1
    • 2003B-3
    • 2000-1
  • Multiple Choice questions.

 

 

Unit 3: Metabolism, Cellular Energy and Related Processes. (3 weeks)

CR2, CR3b, CR3c, CR3d

 

Big Ideas 1, 2, 3, 4

Connected Enduring Understandings:

1A: Change in the genetic makeup of a population over time is evolution.

1D: The origin of living systems is explained by natural processes.

2B: Growth, reproduction and maintenance of the organization of living systems require free energy and matter.

4A: Interactions within biological systems lead to complex properties.

4B: Competition and cooperation are important biological systems.

 

Discussion topics and Skills:

  • Metabolic pathways. CR3b
  • Law of energy transformations, free energy and energy transfers. CR3b
  • Role and function of ATP and electron carriers. CR3b
  • Enzyme structure and function. CR3b, CR3d
  • Cellular respiration, its steps and energy flow. CR3b
  • Photosynthesis, comparison with cellular respiration. CR3b
  • Evolution of cellular respiration and adaptations of cellular respiration and photosynthesis to different environments. CR3a
  • Endosymbiotic theory. CR3a, CR3b.
  • Plants nutrition, regulation of water homeostasis, and water transport in plants. CR3a, CR3c, CR3d.

 

 

Activities and labs:

  • Modeling cellular respiration and photosynthesis, construction of a concept maps to contrast and compare both. CR4a, CR4b. SP1
  • Students read an article on Dr. Margulis on the endosymbiotic theory and discuss it, CR3a, CR4a, CR4b. SP6, SP7.
  • Student-generated cellular respiration lab. Students create their own lab to demonstrate that organisms use cellular respiration and measure output of CO2 or usage of O2. SP3, SP4, SP5. CR6 and 7. Students create a lab report of their inquiry. CR8.
  • Student-generated photosynthesis lab. Students create their own labs to demonstrate photosynthesis. SP3, SP4, SP5. CR6 and 7. Students create a lab report of their inquiry. CR8.
  • Student-generated plant transpiration lab. Students design an experiment to find out how much water plants lose in various conditions of temperature and humidity. SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5, CR6 and 7. Students record their experiment in a lab notebook CR8.
  • Activity: Students create an illustration tracing the path of a carbon atom from the air into a plant during photosynthesis and then follow the journey of the same carbon atom from an ancient dinosaur and into a modern human through food webs (e.g., carbon cycle). CR3a, CR3b, CR3d.

 

Assessments:

  • Free response questions from previous AP exams:
    • 2009B-2
    • 2011-4
    • 2010B-1
    • 2006B-3
    • 2003B-2
  • Multiple Choice questions.

 

Unit 4: Evolution and Biodiversity. (4 weeks)

CR2, CR3a, CR4a, CR3b, CR4b, CR3d, CR4d, CR3c, CR4c, CR5, CR6

 

Big Ideas 1, 2, 3, and 4

Connected Enduring Understandings:

1.A: Change in the genetic makeup of a population over time is evolution.

1.B: Organisms are linked by lines of descent from common ancestry

1.C: Life continues to evolve within a changing environment

1.D: The origin of living systems is explained by natural processes.

2.A: Growth, reproduction and maintenance of the organization of living systems require free energy and matter.

2.B: Growth, reproduction and dynamic homeostasis require that cells create and maintain internal environments that are different from their external environments.

2.D: Growth and dynamic homeostasis of a biological system are influenced by changes in the system’s environment.

2.E: Many biological processes involved in growth, reproduction and dynamic homeostasis include temporal regulation and coordination.

3.A: Heritable information provides for continuity of life.

3.C: The processing of genetic information is imperfect and is a source of genetic variation.

3.E: Transmission of information results in changes within and between biological systems.

4.A: Interactions within biological systems lead to complex properties.

4.B: Competition and cooperation are important aspects of biological systems.

4.C: Naturally occurring diversity among and between components within biological systems affects interactions with the environment.

 

Discussion topics and Skills:

  • Origins of Life and early life evolution. CR3a
  • Evidence of Evolution. CR3a
  • Distinction between evolution and proposed mechanisms of evolution, Lamarck versus Darwin/Wallace. CR3a
  • Non-Darwinian mechanisms of evolution, epigenetics. CR3a, CR3c.
  • Brief review of Mendelian genetics and how Darwin’s interpretation of natural selection was incomplete by his lack of understanding of the mechanisms of genetics. NeoDarwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium. CR3a, CR3c, CR3d.
  • Micro and macro evolution. CR3a, CR3c, CR3d.
  • Population genetics and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Role of the environment on natural selection. CR3a, CR3c, CR3d.

 

Activities and Labs:

  • Cladogram Lab: Students create cladograms based on the DNA sequence and Amino Acid sequence of selected proteins across species. Students learn and use BLAST and Genomic databases. Students. Students use homologies to create cladograms based on morphological data rather than molecular and compare the two. Students use a dichotomous key based on morphology. SP5, SP6, SP7, CR6, CR8, CR4a.
  • Students watch two TED lectures, where scientists created coacervates/protobions and discuss them and the ethics of ‘creating life’.
  • Student-generated Artificial Selection lab: Students simulate evolution and artificial selection in Wisconsin fast growing plants. They record their data over several weeks in their laboratory notebook. SP3, SP4, SP5, CR6, CR7, CR8.
  • Mathematical Simulation Lab: Students simulate population genetics in Excel, by building a spreadsheet to simulate populations genetics, the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and practice working with the Hardy-Weinberg equation and Chi square testing. SP1, SP2
  • Students watch a documentary on the teaching of evolution “A Flock of Dodos” and discuss the movie in a debate about the teaching of evolution. CR5, CR4a.
  • Students will read a ‘pseudo-scientific’ paper claiming the origin of life originated in outer space based on evidence from a meteorite. This paper is flawed and students will review the idea, debunk the paper for any flaws in the science presented, and read a rebuttal of the paper, written by an astrophysicist. Students will reflect on how scientific ideas may be misrepresented in the media and how pseudo-science can be found on certain websites. CR5, CR4a

 

Assessments:

  • Free response questions from previous AP exams:
    • 2011B-4
    • 2009-3
    • 2008B-4
    • 2008B-3
    • 2004-2
  • Multiple Choice questions.

 

Unit 5: Cell division and Genetic Basis of Life. CR2 (5 weeks)

 

Big Ideas 1, 3, 4

Connected Enduring Understandings:

1.A: Change in the genetic makeup of a population over time is evolution.

1.B: Organisms are linked by lines of descent from common ancestry.

2.E: Many biological processes involved in growth, reproduction and dynamic homeostasis include temporal regulation and coordination.

3.A: Heritable information provides for continuity of life.

3.C: The processing of genetic information is imperfect and is a source of genetic variation.

3.E: Transmission of information results in changes within and between biological systems.

4.A: Interactions within biological systems lead to complex properties.

 

Discussion topics and Skills CR2:

  • Mitosis and Life Cycles. CR3a, CR3c
  • Cell cycles CR3c
  • Evolutionary significance of Mitosis versus binary fission. CR3a, CR3c
  • Evolutionary significance of sexual reproduction versus asexual reproduction. CR3a, CR3c.
  • Meiosis and Sexual life cycles. Alternation of generations, Haploid and diploid life cycles. CR3c, CR3d
  • Mendel and the gene idea. Probabilities, mathematical modeling of genetics, Chi square analysis. CR3c
  • Chromosomal basis of inheritance, non-Mendelian genetics. Gene linkage, mapping gene distance, sex linked genes, defects of meiosis. CR3c
  • Epigenetics, and how epigenetics differ from Mendelian genetics. CR3c, CR3d.

 

Activities and Labs:

  • Mathematical Model: Students will simulate Mendelian inheritance first with index cards bearing alleles and calculate probabilities of gene transmission and apply the chi square test on their data. They will then create a computer model calculating Punnett squares and probabilities of inheritance. SP2, CR4c.
  • Students will be given data from the Genetics of a Drosophila laboratory. All the observations will be given to them. They will develop a null hypothesis as of the mode of inheritance based on the data and use the Chi square test to determine whether to accept or reject the hypothesis. SP2, SP5.
  • Students will practice recognizing different types of inheritance based on data and do probabilities calculations and Chi square testing. SP2.
  • Student-generated Mitosis lab: Students will recognize phases of mitosis by preparing onion root slides and observing mitosis of the onion root under the microscope. Students design a method to measure the time spent in each phase of mitosis, based on their methods, they will calculate the time spent in each phase based on their observations. SP1, SP2, SP5.
  • Meiosis Lab: Students will analyze the outcome of Sordaria crosses, determine the phenotypes due to crossover and non-crossover, and determine percent recombination and map units. They will compare their observations with the known map distance from gene to centromere. SP2, SP5
  • Activity: Students read a scientific breakthrough paper relating how the expression of genes can be modified by epigenetic tags and how these tags are passed to future generations. They write an essay comparing and contrasting this to traditional inheritance. CR3c

 

Assessments:

  • Free response questions from previous AP exams:
    • 2011-3
    • 2011B-1
    • 2008-4
    • 2002B-4
    • 2005B-3
    • 2004-1
    • 2006B-1
  • Multiple Choice questions.

 

Unit 6: Molecular basis of inheritance and biotechnology. CR2, (5 weeks)

 

Big Ideas 1, 2, 3, 4

Connected Enduring Understandings:

1.A: Change in the genetic makeup of a population over time is evolution.

1.B: Organisms are linked by lines of descent from common ancestry.

2.E: Many biological processes involved in growth, reproduction and dynamic homeostasis include temporal regulation and coordination.

3.A: Heritable information provides for continuity of life.

3.C: The processing of genetic information is imperfect and is a source of genetic variation.

3.E: Transmission of information results in changes within and between biological systems.

4.A: Interactions within biological systems lead to complex properties.

 

Discussion topics and Skills:

The AP Biology exam for 2017 is set for the morning of Monday May 8th. So it’s that time of the year again to begin reviewing past concepts and doing practice exams.

The free response questions on the past four exams didn’t touch so much on a very important concept, the tools and techniques of biotechnology. So, in this post we’ll review some of the major tools and techniques while going over Question 4 from the 2007 AP Biology Exam. On average students scored 2.52/10 points. This post will show students how they could have maximized their score and give a review of important terms.  

The Question  

A bacterial plasmid is 100kb in length. The plasmid DNA was digested to completion with two restriction enzymes in three separate treatments: EcoRI, HaeIII, and EcoRI + HaeIII (double digest). The fragments were then separated with electrophoresis, as shown. 

a) Using the circle provided, construct a labeled diagram of the restriction map of the plasmid. Explain how you developed your map.

b) Describe how:

  • Recombinant DNA technology could be used to insert a gene of interest into a bacterium
  • Recombinant bacteria could be identified
  • Expression of the gene of interest could be ensured

c) Discuss how a specific genetically modified organism might provide a benefit for humans and at the same time pose a threat to a population or ecosystem.

The Solution  

In order to answer this question you first had to know what they were asking for, so let’s review some terms.

Plasmid

A plasmid is a circular double-stranded DNA molecule usually found in bacteria that is capable of replicating independently of the cell’s chromosomal DNA. Usually plasmids allow the bacteria to develop some advantage such as antibiotic resistance. A bacterial cell can have more than one plasmid, will express the genes on those plasmids and will replicate each plasmid when it divides. In this way each daughter cell will get a copy of the plasmid. Plasmids are often used for cloning purposes since genes of interest (fragments of DNA) can be inserted into plasmids and introduced into the bacteria by bacterial transformation. In bacterial transformation, competent bacteria where the cell wall has been made permeable to genetic material can take up a foreign plasmid. The bacteria that have taken up the plasmid can be selected for usually by growing the bacteria in a certain antibiotic to which the plasmid DNA allows resistance. In this way, as the bacteria divide the plasmid and thus the genes on them will be amplified.     

Restriction enzymes

These are enzymes that cut DNA at specific recognition sites that are usually 4 to 8 base pairs in length. The sites are usually also palindromic, meaning they read the same forwards and backwards. The restriction enzymes will also produce “sticky” or “blunt” ends. These ends can be used to insert the gene of interest into a plasmid by ligation.

Ex. Sticky end where bases are left unpaired after a cut

Ex. Blunt end where all bases are paired after a cut

Electrophoresis

Gel electrophoresis separates molecules of DNA on the basis of their rate of movement through an agarose gel in an electric field. Remember that DNA is negatively charged due to its phosphate backbone and will flow from cathode (-) to anode (+). Smaller fragments of DNA will travel faster and thus be farther away from the starting wells.  Similarly, proteins can also be separated using electrophoresis.

Restriction mapping

Using restriction enzymes and gel electrophoresis the restriction sites on a segment of DNA, usually a plasmid, can be mapped. This is useful when trying to identify whether a gene of interest was correctly inserted into the plasmid.

Part a) Using the circle provided you were to draw and label a restriction map of the resulting gel electrophoresis as well as explain how you came up with the map. The restriction enzyme EcoRI resulted in two bands of DNA, one that was 70kb and another that was 30kb. The whole plasmid is 100kb so from this information you can deduce that there are two sites where EcoRI cuts the DNA, since 70 + 30 = 100. So place two EcoRI sites on your circle. 

Now we look at the fragments that are created by HaeIII. A 60kb and a 40kb fragment which equals 100kb as well. So we know there are only two sites where HaeIII cuts as well. Hold off on putting the HaeIII sites. The last restriction digest was a double digest using both EcoRI and HaeIII. Since both EcoRI and HaeIII result is two cuts each using a double digest should result in 4 fragments. In this case those fragments are 40, 30, 20, and 10kb. Using trial and error place the HaeIII cut sites so that the distance between the EcoRI sites doesn’t change and so that you get four cuts of the sizes 40, 30, 20, and 10kb. I would start by splitting the 70kb into two cuts one of 40kb and one of 30kb. And split the 30kb into one 20kb and one 10kb as shown below.

However, you aren’t done. You need to make sure that the HaeIII sites are 60kb from each other one way and 40kb the other. In our map above this is not the case so you should rearrange the numbers.

The resulting map should look something like this. Where EcoRI cuts at two sites that result in 70kb and 30kb fragment and where HaeIII results in a 60kb and 40kb fragment. In your explanation you should describe the process of trial and error that you used to come to this conclusion. DO NOT waste time providing information that was not asked for as this wastes valuable time. So there is no need to explain gel electrophoresis!

Part b) This section asks you to describe how a gene of interest is inserted into a bacterium, how recombinant bacteria (bacterially that have been genetically modified) can be identified and how expression of that gene of interest can be ensured. First, the gene of interest needs to be cut from the source, which can be accomplished using a restriction enzyme. This same restriction enzyme should be used to cut the plasmid that the gene will be inserted into to ensure compatible ends. The gene of interest and plasmid then need to be combined so that the complementary ends can match up and join together. Once the gene of interest is inserted into the plasmid, this plasmid needs to be incubated with competent cells so that these cells can take this plasmid up. To identify whether the bacteria has taken up the plasmid the bacteria can be grown on antibiotic plates as long as the plasmid has a gene for antibiotic resistance. To ensure that the gene of interest is being expressed the gene of interest can be inserted downstream of a promoter that can be induced when giving certain nutrients such as lactose. Remember that the promoter is the region on DNA that initiates transcription. Make sure you understand the process of gene cloning because it’s bound to come up on the exam! Here is a link to a great overview.

Part c) Genetically modified organisms are the results of genes being artificially inserted into the genome of organism. They are used all across science to produce new forms of drugs, vaccines, and even to produce food. Bacteria have been modified to produce insulin to help patients with diabetes, model organisms are genetically modified in research settings to test the affects of a certain gene product, and crops can be modified to produce a certain color, smell, or prevent against plant disease. Genetically modified organisms provide a benefit for humans in many ways especially when it comes to growing large amounts of food. Crops can be modified to become resistant to certain bacteria that threaten the yield thus increasing the amount of food available for consumption. At the same time this poses a risk because the bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotic the crop is producing and cause harm in the long term. For this part it was important to be as specific as possible and describe your ideas in a scientific manner.

The AP biology exam is meant to be challenging but knowing how commonly used tools and methods are used is essential! Make sure to answer each part of the question completely and label all your answers to maximize your score!

Are you interested in working with Sandra on preparing for the AP Biology exam?

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