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AP Biology

Course Description

Prerequisite: Completion of Biology with an average of a B or better & Chemistry with a grade of A both semesters. Recommendation of current science teacher.

This course is an advanced course equivalent to the first year of college biology. Course content includes: cells and tissues, cell chemistry,  plant and animal classification, animal physiology, reproduction and genetics, evolution, ecology, and project seminars.

Summer Work 2014-2015

*This is NOT a group assignment.  All work must be completed individually!!


  1. First and foremost – If you have a question, don’t hesitate to contact Mrs. Leiva via e-mail at mdleiva@capousd.org


2.  Obtain a textbook!

     Biology, 8th Edition, Campbell/Reece, Publisher:  Benjamin Cummings

AP Biology textbooks are usually available at the THS library for summer checkout the first week of summer vacation.  Please check with the library to obtain the exact times and dates.   The Campbell Biology text is excellently written, thorough, and up-to-date. The readability has improved with each new edition, but may seem difficult to even the most capable student at first.  Don’t panic, you will get used to the author’s style!  Campbell’s text is used at many colleges and universities and is now in its 8th edition.   THS uses the 8th edition, which is available through used book sites on the Internet (i.e. Amazon) for extremely reasonable prices, especially if you purchase a used copy (without the CD, which you do not need).  I highly recommend purchasing your own text so that you can highlight and annotate it, as you will find your reading notes to be invaluable throughout your college and professional life. 


3.  Obtain the following additional recommended study aid:

  • Cliff Notes for Advanced Placement Biology (make sure to get the 2013 edition or later!!)– available at most book stores or Amazon. 


4.  Letter of Introduction - Due date: One week before school starts

  • LETTER OF INTRODUCTION Welcome to AP Biology! We are going to spend a lot of time together next year, so I would like to get a head start on learning a bit about you. Also, we will use the Internet and the Web a lot next year for this course, so let’s get you used to communicating with me via e-mail. Your first digital assignment is to successfully send me an e- mail.
  • Draft an e-mail to me following these rules:
  • Use clearly written, full sentences. Do not abbreviate words like you are on texting with a friend. Use spell check! This is a professional communication like you would have with a college professor, so let’s practice for your rapidly nearing future!
  • • Address it to: Mrs. Leiva at mdleiva@capousd.org • Make the Subject: “AP Bio: Introduction to <Insert Your Name Here>” (Do not include the quote marks or the brackets, just the words)• Begin the e-mail with a formal salutation, like “Mr, Mrs. or “Dear Ms./Mr.,” • Now introduce yourself (your name) and tell me a little bit about yourself, some possibilities: • What do you like to do (hobbies, sports, music, interests, etc.)? • Do you have a job or other significant time commitments outside of academics? • Was there anything that you liked about your earlier science classes? • What was the last book you read for fun? • What are you looking forward to the most in AP Biology? • What are you most anxious or worried about in AP Biology? • End the e-mail with a formal closing: “Cordially”, “Sincerely”, “Warm regards”, etc. and add your name as if you signed a letter.

5. Complete the following Summer Reading assignment using your text chapters 1-5 as your resource.  It is due on the first day of school.  We will be testing on this material within the first two weeks. 


This assignment should be review for the most part, and will give us a huge jump on the course curriculum when we start in September.  (Remember, many schools in the United States begin before we do, but we all test on the same days in May!)  The information in this unit will be referred to the entire year, and its importance cannot be overemphasized. 


            A.P. Biology Summer Reading Assignment

  1. Read chapters 1-5 (pgs 1-91)
  2. Complete study guides for chapters 1-5 (all posted in Mrs. Leiva’s School Loop Locker and the AP Biology locker)
  3. Visit http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/biochemistry.html and complete the chemistry, large molecules, chemistry of amino acids, and acids & bases tutorials. Make sure you test yourself!
  4. Complete the free response questions (FRQs) below (Try to allot yourself 20 minutes per question…that’s all you get during the A.P. Exam!)
  5. All of this is due on the 1st day of school.
  6. You will have to read this entire book by May 1st, 2015.


Free Response Questions

Answers must be in essay form. Outline form is not acceptable. Labeled diagrams may be used to supplement discussion, but in no case will a diagram alone suffice. It is important that you read each question carefully before you begin to write. You may use you book to write these but NOT THE INTERNET!!! You MUST SUBMIT THESE TO TURNITIN.COM before the first day of school. See my AP Biology SchoolLoop locker for instructions to submit to turnitin.com and your class code.


1. Proteins, large complex molecules, are major building blocks of all living organisms. Discuss the   

    following in relation to proteins.

  1. The chemical composition and levels of structure of proteins.
  2. The differences in chemical structures of “R” groups

2.  The unique properties (characteristics) of water make life possible on Earth. Select three properties of water and:

  1. for each property, identify and define the property and explain it in terms of the   physical/chemical nature of water.

             b.  for each property, describe one example of how the property affects the functioning of                             living organisms.

3. How can carbohydrates, neutral lipids, and proteins usually be distinguished based on their    

    molecular formula?

4. Some researchers have proposed that doing 50 jumping jacks prior to squeezing a clothespin  

     will increase the rate that that individual can squeeze a clothespin in one minute.   Other   

     researchers dispute this claim.

          a.)  Using the correct format for stating a hypothesis, correctly state a hypothesis for this experiment.
          b.)  What is the independent variable in this experiment?
          c.)  What is the dependent variable in this experiment?
          d.)  What is the control in this experiment?


6.  RELAX AND ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!   Get prepared for an intense, challenging, exciting and rewarding year in AP Biology!  I promise that if you put in the necessary time, success will be yours! My commitment to you is to facilitate your success by whatever means necessary.  ENJOY!          

AP Biology Teacher

Leiva, Megan
Science Teacher

Science Locker

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