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AP Biology (Intensive, NCAA Approved)

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Open to: Grades 9 - 12

Eligibility: Advanced CTY-level math score required

Prerequisites: Completion of Algebra I

Course Format: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 12 weeks (Winter, Early Summer, Mid-Summer) 

Recommended School Credit: One academic year

Student Expectations: Students are strongly encouraged to work an average of 12-15 hours per week for intensive 12-week sessions with no breaks.

Course Code: IPBI

Course Description


The AP Biology course covers topics typically found in a first-year college biology course and advances the student's understanding of concepts normally covered in high school biology. It provides a solid preparation for the AP Biology exam.

Major course themes include:

  • biochemistry
  • energy transfer
  • cellular structure and specialization
  • cellular metabolism
  • mitosis and meiosis
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • evolution

Organismal diversity, from microorganisms to plants and animals and the continuity of life through genetics and development are emphasized. Highly qualified instructors guide students through online lectures, readings, animations, laboratory exercises, and other resources. Student knowledge is assessed through homework assignments and exams. This course includes a laboratory component designed to meet College Board standards and has been reviewed and approved by the College Board. This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.

Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in this course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.

Materials Needed

An AP Biology lab kit is required for this course. Students must purchase the kit is to complete labs that prepare for the AP Biology exam.

An individual license from FlinnPrep is required to access the course curriculum.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Unit 1 – Fundamental Biology Skills and Knowledge

  • Matter
  • Water Is Essential
  • Cohesion and Adhesion
  • Density of Water
  • The Universal Solvent
  • pH and Living Organisms
  • Carbon
  • Important Biological Functional Groups
  • Root Words, Prefixes and Suffixes

Unit 2 – Cells: Structure and Function

  • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells—Similarities and Differences
  • Eukaryotic Organelles—A Detailed Look
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Cellular Membranes—Phospholipid Bilayer
  • Cellular Membranes—Membrane Proteins
  • Passive Transport
  • Active Transport
  • Exocytosis and Endocytosis
  • Cellular Communication
  • Neurons and Cell Signaling
  • Relationship of Surface Area to Volume

Unit 3 – The Cell Cycle

  • Cell Cycle Phases
  • Chromosomes
  • Mitotic Phase
  • The Five Stages of Mitosis
  • Prokaryotes and Cell Division Evolution
  • Cell Cycle Control Systems
  • The Loss of Cell Cycle Control
  • Gene Expression and Cell Types

Unit 4 – Meiosis: Heredity and Variation

  • Heredity
  • Haploid and Diploid Cells
  • Human Life Cycle
  • Meiosis
  • Phases of Meiosis
  • Mitosis vs. Meiosis—Similarities and Differences
  • Genetic Variation and Contribution to Evolution

Unit 5 – Mendelian and Molecular Genetics

  • Inheritance
  • Mendelian Genetics
  • DNA Structure
  • DNA Replication
  • Mutations
  • DNA Repair Mechanisms
  • Gene to Protein
  • Transcription
  • Translation

Unit 6 – Evidence of Evolution

  • The Geologic Timeline
  • Absolute Radiometric Dating
  • Relative Dating
  • Fossil Record
  • Anatomical Structures and Molecular Evidence
  • Case Study—Deciphering Whale Evolution
  • Life History
  • Comparing Classical and Modern Classification
  • Direct Observations of Evolution

Unit 7 – Evolution: Natural Selection

  • Conditions for Natural Selection
  • Genetic Variation
  • Sources of Genetic Variation
  • Overproduction of Offspring
  • Struggle for Existence and Differential Survival and Reproduction
  • Sexual Selection
  • Artificial Selection

Unit 8 – Evolution: Populations

  • Microevolution in Populations
  • Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium Conditions
  • Hardy-Weinberg Equation
  • Adaptive Evolution or Chance?
  • Genetic Drift
  • Changes in Allele Frequencies within a Generation
  • Analyzing the Evolution of Multigene Traits
  • Speciation
  • Ecological Definition of a Species
  • Case Study—Spotted Owls and Barred Owls

Unit 9 – Interdependence in Ecosystems

  • Components of an Ecosystem
  • Climate
  • Abiotic Factors in Local Ecosystems
  • Ecological Hierarchy
  • Interactions Between Species
  • Predation and Herbivory
  • Symbiosis
  • Competition
  • Facilitation
  • Ecosystem Stability and Disturbance
  • Case Study—Fire in Western United States Pine Forests
  • Population Dynamics
  • Counting Populations to Determine Ecosystem Health

Unit 10 – Ecology: Energy Flow and Nutrient Cycling

  • Elemental Components of Living Things
  • Matter Moves in Cycles
  • The Nitrogen Cycle
  • The Carbon Cycle
  • Photosynthesis: The Light Reactions
  • Photosynthesis: The Calvin Cycle
  • Respiration
  • Energy Transfer between Trophic Levels
  • Bioaccumulation and Biomagnification of Toxins
  • Case Study—Orcas in Puget Sound and PCBs

Unit 11 – Biochemistry

  • Types of Macromolecules
  • Monomers and Polymers
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Protein Structure
  • Protein Function
  • Enzyme Structure and Function
  • Measuring and Predicting Enzyme Activity
  • Case Study—Pepsin and Lipase in the Digestive System

Unit 12 – Energy and Metabolism

  • Free Energy in Living Systems
  • Endergonic and Exergonic Reactions
  • Free Energy Utilization and Availability
  • The First Law of Thermodynamics in Living Systems
  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics
  • The Role of ATP in Cells
  • Introduction to Cellular Respiration
  • Electron Carriers
  • Glycolysis
  • The Krebs Cycle
  • Chemiosmosis, Electron Transport and Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Fermentation

Unit 13 – Organismal Regulation

  • Homeostasis
  • Negative Feedback
  • Temperature Control and Evolution
  • Positive Feedback Loop
  • Neurons and Homeostasis
  • Integration of Body Systems with the Nervous System and Endocrine System
  • Osmoregulation
  • Osmoregulation in Animals
  • Osmoregulation in Plants A

Unit 14 – Gene Regulation and Cell Communication

  • Gene Regulation Overview
  • Gene Regulation in Protein Synthesis
  • Evidence of Evolution through Gene Regulation Mechanisms
  • Discovering Prokaryotic Gene Regulation
  • The Iac Operon
  • Repressible Operons
  • Eukaryotic Gene Regulation Introduction
  • Gene Regulation through Histone Modification
  • Gene Regulation through Transcription Factors
  • Gene Regulation through RNA Modification
  • Regulation of Gene Expression through Phosphorylation of Proteins
  • Summary of Regulation Pathways
  • Summary of Eukaryotic Gene Expression
  • Cell Communication in Multicellular Eukaryotes
  • G-protein Coupled Receptors
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinases
  • Case Study—Quorum Sensing in Bacteria

Unit 15 – The Immune Response

  • Immune Responses of Plants
  • Immune Responses in Animals
  • Nonspecific Immune Responses
  • Specific Immune Response in Vertebrates
  • Specific Immune Response in Prokaryotes
  • Biotechnology and Immunity
  • Allergies and Immune System Malfunction
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Case Study—Type 1 Diabetes

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

The student will need the Java Runtime Environment.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

This course uses Respondus LockDown Browser proctoring software for designated assessments. LockDown Browser is a client application that is installed to a local computer. Visit the Respondus website for system requirements.

While Chromebook can be used to progress through the course, all exams must be completed on a PC or Mac.