AP Biology


Students electing these courses are strongly encouraged to have completed the sequence of Earth Science, Living Environment, Chemistry, and Physics. These advanced courses offer mature, in-depth handling of scientific principles involved. They are structured to parallel and satisfy the objectives of college-level courses. Each course has five classes and two laboratory sessions per week. A mandatory summer assignment is required for all students entering advanced placement science classes. Students taking these courses should have demonstrated high achievement and proven success in a challenging environment.

Advanced Placement Biology                                                                           Full Year - 1 Credit

Course Code: 4700

Grade(s): 11, 12

Prerequisite(s): Honors Policy Applies

Course Overview

AP Biology is a laboratory based course designed to be the equivalent of a two semester collegiate course taken by biology majors in their first year. This course differs significantly from an introductory high school biology course with respect to the kind of textbook used, the range and depth of topics covered, the kind of laboratory activities, and the time and effort required of students. 

Each unit covered in this course is proscribed by the College Board and is designed to integrate eight major themes: Science as a Process, Evolution, Energy Transfer, Continuity and Change, Relationship of Structure to Function, Regulation, Interdependence in Nature, and Technology and Society. All students enrolled in AP Biology are required to successfully complete twelve laboratory activities mandated by the College Board in addition to a variety of other lab-based exercises.

This class meets for one period everyday with an additional lab period every other day. It is strongly suggested that students entering this class have successfully completed the sequence of Earth Science, Living Environment, Chemistry, and Physics.

Departmental Philosophy

All courses offered by the Garden City Science Department satisfy the standards set forth by either the New York State Education Department or the College Board. The instructional methods employed by our department strive to inspire an interest in science through lessons that illustrate its practical applications in the real world. It is our goal to prepare students to be critical and independent thinkers who are able to analyze natural phenomena through scientific reasoning.

All student assessments are consistent with New York State and/or College Board assessments in both style and content. The scoring rubrics employed by the science department are modeled after the particular associated scoring guides. Additional information regarding NYS based regents courses in science can be found at: http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/sci/home.html. Additional information regarding the AP program in science can be found at: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com.

AP Biology Teaching Strategies /Philosophy

The two main goals of AP Biology are to help students develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and to help students gain an appreciation of science as a process.  Instruction is designed and sequenced to provide students with learning opportunities in varied settings such as classrooms, laboratories, and field studies. Teaching strategies include in depth lectures that incorporate demonstrations and student hands-on experiences to facilitate concept acquisition.

Laboratory sessions will provide the maximum opportunity for students to learn a variety of skills and those facts, principles, and concepts of general biology covered in lectures, reading, and discussion.  In addition, many laboratory exercises may present novel material not covered in other parts of the course.

Knowledge & Skills

Laboratory work in this course is designed to encourage the development of important skills such as detailed observation, accurate recording, experimental design, manual manipulation, data interpretation, statistical analysis and operation of technical equipment.  Laboratory assignments offer the opportunity for students to learn about problem solving, the scientific method, the techniques of research, and the use of scientific literature. Laboratory investigations also encourage high-order thinking, which may include evaluating and monitoring progress through an investigation, generating ideas, and formulating hypotheses

Click here for more detailed AP Biology Syllabus

Units of Study

I. Molecules and Cells

A. Chemistry of Life


Organic molecules in organisms    

Free energy changes


B. Cells

Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells


Subcellular organization

Cell cycle and its regulation

C. Cellular Energetics

Coupled reactions

Fermentation and cellular respiration


II. Heredity and Evolution

A. Heredity

Meiosis and gametogenesis

Eukaryotic chromosomes

Inheritance patterns

B. Molecular Genetics

RNA and DNA structure and function

Gene regulation


Viral structure and replication

Nucleic acid technology and applications

C. Evolutionary Biology

Early evolution of life

Evidence for evolution

Mechanisms of evolution

III. Organisms and Populations

A. Diversity of Organisms

Evolutionary patterns

Survey of the diversity of life

Phylogenetic classification

Evolutionary relationships

B. Structure and Function of Plants and Animals

Reproduction, growth, and development

Structural, physiological, and behavioral adaptations

Response to the environment

C. Ecology

Population dynamics

Communities and ecosystems

Global issues

Major Resources

Textbook: Biology, 5th Edition; Campbell & Reece

Review Book: Barron’s AP Biology