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SCB6120T: APBio+ (2013-2014)

CURRICULUM PROGRAM: Virtual School Program
CALENDAR YEAR: 2013-2014

Major Concepts/Content:

This course guides students to a deeper understanding of biological concepts including the diversity and unity of life, energy and the processes of life, homeostasis, and genetics. Students learn about regulation, communication, and signaling in living organisms, as well as interactions of biological systems. Students carry out a number of learning activities, including readings, interactive exercises, extension activities, hands-on and virtual laboratory experiments, and practice assessments. These activities are designed to help students gain an understanding of the science process and critical-thinking skills necessary to answer questions on the AP Biology Exam. The content aligns to the sequence of topics recommended by the College Board.

Though our system has an open enrollment policy, students should understand that this course is designed to be a second year biology course, and the equivalent of a two-semester long introductory, college level biology course. The course requires a working knowledge of biology, and chemistry. The breadth, pace and depth of material covered exceeds the standard high school Biology course, as does the college-level textbook, laboratory work, and time and effort required of students. This course provides the biology foundations for college majors in biology. Students are expected to take the AP Biology Exam at the end of this course.

Students who take this course spend a minimum of 30% of their time engaged in hands-on and virtual laboratory exercises.

AP Biology is a college-level course which differs from a high school Biology course in terms of depth of coverage, the type of laboratory work and time commitments for study. The four big ideas in AP Biology are detailed in the AP Biology course description, which is available on AP Central ( These big ideas are:

  • The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.
  •  Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis
  • Living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes
  • Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties

Course Objectives:

  • To develop a conceptual understanding of the major themes of modern biology (evolution, energy transfer, continuity and change, structure and function, regulation, and interdependence) as a vehicle to investigate the concepts, principles, and topics of biology.
  • To develop and apply scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills, through active hands-on participation in the asking and answering of testable questions, and employing the components of a well-designed experimental investigation.
  • To foster scientific habits of mind including curiosity, creativity, and objectivity; and appreciate science as a process rather than an accumulation of knowledge.
  • To apply an understanding of biological knowledge and scientific methodology to environmental and social issues.

Course Outline:

  • Module One: Evolution: the diversity and Unity of Life
  • Module Two: Energy and the Processes of Life
  • Module Three: Homeostasis
  • Module Four: Genetics
  • Module Five: Regulation, Communication, and Signaling
  • Interaction of Biological Systems

Essential Software:


There is no textbook required for this course. All of the instructional content is available online within the course.

Supplemental text for reference:

  • Principles of Life, ISBN-10: 1-4292-9117-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-4292-9117-0
  • Authors: Hillis, Sadava, & Heller   Pub.: Bedford, Freeman, & Worth

Course Notes: Weighted - Must Take AP Exam (+ indicated Weighted)