Biology for AP® Courses by OpenStax
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About Biology for AP® Courses
Biology for AP® Courses covers the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester Advanced Placement® biology course. The text provides comprehensive coverage of core biology concepts and foundational research through an evolutionary lens. Biology for AP® Courses was designed to meet and exceed the requirements of the College Board’s AP® Biology framework while allowing significant flexibility for instructors. Each section of the book includes an introduction based on the AP® curriculum as well as rich features that engage students in scientific practice and AP® test preparation. It also highlights careers and research opportunities in the biological sciences.
Coverage and scope
In developing Biology for AP® Courses, we relied on experts in the goals and approach of the AP® curriculum, carefully considered the AP® framework design, and listened to the advice of hundreds of high school and college biology instructors.
The result is a book that provides excellent coverage of the AP® framework while addressing the sheer breadth of biology topics in the modern age. We provide a thorough treatment of biology’s foundational concepts while condensing selected topics. We also strive to make biology, as a discipline, interesting and accessible to students. In addition to a comprehensive coverage of core concepts and foundational research, we have incorporated features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways.
Unit 1: The Chemistry of Life. Our opening unit introduces students to the sciences, including scientific methods and the fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics that provide a framework within which learners comprehend biological processes.
Unit 2: The Cell. Students will gain solid understanding of the structures, functions, and processes of the most basic unit of life: the cell.
Unit 3: Genetics. Our comprehensive genetics unit takes learners from the earliest experiments that revealed the basis of inheritance through the intricacies of DNA’s structure, replication, and expression, to current applications in the studies of biotechnology and genomics.
Unit 4: Evolutionary Processes. The core concepts of evolution are discussed in this unit with examples illustrating evolutionary processes. Additionally, the evolutionary basis of biology reappears throughout the textbook in general discussion and is also reinforced through special call-out features highlighting specific topics in evolution.
Unit 5: Biological Diversity. The diversity of life is explored through detailed study of all phyla of organisms as well as discussion of their phylogenetic relationships. The unit begins with viruses and then moves through prokaryotes and eukaryotes, ending with a discussion of vertebrates and, finally, humans.
Unit 6: Plant Structure and Function. Our plant anatomy and physiology unit thoroughly covers the fundamental structure and function of plant cells, tissues, and organs. It also covers important plant physiological functions such as tissue differentiation, material transport, and the roles of plant hormones.
Unit 7: Animal Structure and Function. An introduction to the form and function of the animal body is followed by detailed chapters on specific body systems and their physiological function. This unit touches on the biology of all organisms while maintaining an engaging focus on human anatomy and physiology that helps students connect to the topics.
Unit 8: Ecology. Ecological concepts are broadly covered in this unit, beginning with the small-scale relationships of population ecology and gradually building to the large-scale processes of ecosystem ecology. Localized, real-world issues of conservation and biodiversity are presented at numerous points along the way.
Every section of the textbook — over 200 total — begins with a “Connection for AP® Courses.” Section. Written by Julianne Zedalis, the College Board’s AP® Biology Curriculum Committee Co-Chair, these valuable overviews provide meaningful support for students and instructors.
Each Connection highlights the key concepts of the section in the context of the AP® Biology Curriculum Framework and explains their importance in brief, engaging language.
The explanations build upon the knowledge gained in previous sections, reinforcing the most significant concepts and alerting students of the foundational basis of upcoming material. This helps students build a more comprehensive understanding and helps instructors reference prior explanations.
Direct references to the relevant sections of the AP® Curriculum Framework are first explained and then outlined in table format emphasizing their importance and relating them to the overall design of the course. Students and teachers using these reference tables can easily see their progression through and coverage of the required curriculum.
The AP® Biology Science Practices are presented to students through several active learning features.
Science Practice Connections for AP® Courses provide a context and suggested activity linking the concepts with the relevant science practices. Students are often asked to build representations, undertake brief research, or answer critical thinking questions.
Science Practice Questions, designed and authored by John Eggebrecht and Julianne Zedalis, present a complex scenario or data set and ask students a series of multiple-choice and open-ended questions based on a complex scenario or data set. These robust activities hone students’ scientific thinking skills and prepare them for similar questions on the AP® Examination.
Pedagogical foundation and features
Biology for AP® Courses® is grounded in a solid scientific base, with features that engage the students in scientific inquiry Evolution Connection features highlight the importance and relevance of evolutionary theory to all biological study. Through discussions like “The Evolution of Metabolic Pathways” and “Algae and Evolutionary Paths to Photosynthesis,” the student is able to see how evolution pervades all aspects of biology.
Scientific Methods Connection call-outs walk students through actual or thought experiments that elucidate scientific processes and procedures for a variety of topics. Features include “Determining the Time Spent in Cell Cycle Stages” and “Testing the Hypothesis of Independent Assortment.”
Career Connection features present information on a variety of careers in the biological sciences. They are meant to introduce students to professions and day-to-day work related to the current section content. Examples include microbiologist, ecologist, neurologist, and forensic scientist.
Everyday Connection features tie biological concepts to students’ everyday lives as well as emerging world issues related to biology. Topics include “Chesapeake Bay” and “Can Snail Venom Be Used as a Pharmacological Pain Killer?”
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|June 10, 2022|
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