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Cladogram Activity Ap Biology Essay


Evolution drives the diversity and unity of life. Supported by evidence from many scientific disciplines, Darwin’s theory of evolution states that heritable variations occur in individuals in a population; because of competition for resources, individuals with more favorable phenotypes are more likely to survive and reproduce, thus passing traits to offspring.


Investigaton 1:
Artificial Selection

"Can extreme selection change expression of a quantitative trait in a population in one generation?"

Grow Fast Plants for 1-2 generations, quantify traits and select parents for next generation


Evolution Lab - simulation showing how organisms evolve over time in response to environmental conditions

Natural Selection at PHET - another simulation showing wolf and rabbit populations

Sex and the Single Guppy - simulation that examines sexual selection

Case Study: "I'm Looking Over a White-Striped Clover" - an investiation of clover adaptations

Evolution of the Origami Bird - this uses a paper model that flies, coin flips represent variations in wing position and length

Fast Plants are easy to grow, and has many hints and suggestions for cheaply growing the plants

Simulations and Case Studies can be performed outside of class

Cellular Processes

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

Organisms have evolved various strategies to capture, use, and store free energy and other vital resources.

Investigation 4: Diffusion and Osmosis

What causes plants to wilt if they are not watered?


Diffusion and Osmosis - a modified version of the lab, measure mass change in sucrose dialysis tubes and calculate water potential

Diffusion Lab - very simple observation lab that shows the movement of iodine through a bag, using cornstarch as an indicator

Salt and Elodea Cells - observe how cells change when soaked in a hypertonic solution

This lab requires some set-up with dialysis tubes and sucrose solutions

Diffusion lab is very basic and may only be appropriate for pre-AP classes or as a demonstration

Genetics and Information Transfer

Genetic information provides for continuity of life, and, in most cases, this information is passed from parent to offspring via DNA. In eukaryotic organisms, heritable information is packed into chromosomes that are passed to daughter cells by mitosis, a controlled mechanism that ensures that each daughter cell receives an identical and complete complement of chromosomes.

Investigation 7:
Cell Division: Mitosis and Meiosis

How do eukaryotic cells divide to produce genetically identical cells or to produce gametes with half the normal DNA?

Part 1) Modeling Mitosis
Part 2) Effects of Environment on Mitosis
Part 3) Loss of Cell Cycle Control in Cancer
Part 4) Modeling Meiosis
Part 5) Meiosis and Crossing Over

Mitosis Internet Lesson-
Meiosis Internet Lesson - use various sites to observe models of mitosis and meiosis

Mitosis in an Onion Root - view slides and count the number of cells visible in each stage

The Case of the Dividing Cell - case study where students learn stages of mitosis and meiosis, prokaryote versus eukaryote

Modeling Chromosomal Inheritance - using beads and pipe cleaners to show how genes are passed from parents to offspring

Linkage Group Simulation - pipecleaners are used to model crossing over

Many of the activities listed in the investigation can be performed as classroom discussions, lectures, and animations.


Living systems from cells to ecosystems require free energy and matter to maintain order, grow, and reproduce, with organisms using various strategies to capture, use, and store free energy and other resources.

Investigation 10:
Energy Dynamics

What factors govern energy capture, allocation, storage, and transfer between producers and consumers in a terrestrial ecosystem?

Build an Ecosystem - grown plants and snails in jars and record changes in levels of CO2 by using btb as an indicator

Virtual Lab: Population Biology - observe the competitive exclusion principle in populations of paramecium

Where do Plants Get Their Food? - investigate ways to measure biomass and plant growth using bean seedlings

Bottle Biology - using 2 liter bottles, investigate factors that affect ecosystems

Case Study - The Fish Kill Mystery - investigate what may have caused a fish kill, explore excess nutrients and life cycles of microorganisms

Case Study - The Gulf's Dead Zone - presentation case that presents information and asks students to evaluate, analyze and make recommendations

The basics of this experiment include growing plants and animals together and then measuring the biomass of the plants. This experiment is a long term investigation and requires space and maintenance.

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