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Advanced Biology

Course Overview

The Advanced Biology Online Course will explore the concepts of biology through inquiry-based learning using a combination of research and project based learning, online investigations and laboratory explorations. Students will incorporate both individual and group learning to explore the topics of biochemistry, cellular processes – including transport, energy and communication, inheritance, evolution, and ecology.

Students enrolled in the Advanced Biology course will be concurrently enrolled in the Laboratory elective for this course.  The laboratory course is one semester and while the content will be complimentary to the overall course content, it will not necessarily be directly related to the weekly content covered in the Adv. Biology year long course.

Course Content


Unit 1: The Chemistry of Life

The Chemistry of Life unit is a review of basic concepts in biology and chemistry necessary for understanding the cellular processes concepts introduced in later units. Students will explore the themes of biology and characteristics found in all living things.The unit also includes a review of the biological importance of bonding among and between molecules, the properties of water and the importance of carbon in biological molecules. Students will explore the structure of the four biological macromolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids) and relate their structure to their function.

Unit 2: Cell Basics and Metabolism

The Cell Basics and Metabolism unit will study cellular concepts and use of microscopes. Students will learn the basics techniques of using microscopes and how they work. Students will explore the structure of cell organelles and how they function in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells as well differentiate between plant and animal cells.The unit also includes an investigation into the structure of cell membranes and their role in maintaining homeostasis through cellular transport. Students will gain an understanding of metabolism and the roles of ATP and enzymes in cells.

Unit 3: Cell Processes

The Cell Processes unit will focus on the processes of capturing and releasing energy, communication and the life cycle of cells. Students will learn how the process of photosynthesis captures energy for cells and cellular respiration releases the energy for cellular function. Students will explore how cells communicate with each other and the consequences of malfunction in cellular communication.The unit also includes an investigation into the life cycle of cells and asexual reproduction through the process of mitosis.

Unit 4: Genetics

The Genetics unit will study concepts of inheritance. Students will learn about meiosis and the process contributes to variation in species through sexual reproduction. Students will explore the concepts of Gregor Mendel and patterns of inheritance.The unit also includes an investigation into the roles of genes and chromosomes in heredity. Students will gain an understanding of DNA structure and the importance of DNA replication.

Unit 5: Gene Expression and Viruses

The Gene Expression and Viruses unit will study the processes of protein synthesis, gene expression in cells, genetic technology and viruses. Students will learn how proteins are synthesized through the processes of transcription and translation. Students will explore how gene expression is regulated in cells. Students will gain an understanding of viruses and how they function.The unit also includes an investigation into DNA technology and genomes.

Unit 6: Evolution

The Evolution unit will study the connection of genetics to evolution, the contributions of Darwin to evolutionary theories, the evolution of populations, the origin of species and phylogeny and systematics. Students will learn how the understanding of genomes is used to make evolutionary connections. Students will investigate theories of evolution and understand Darwin’s theory of descent with modification. Students will gain an understanding of how populations evolve over time. Students will explore theories on the origin and evolution of all species. The unit will also instruct students on how to analyze and create systemic models of evolution.

Unit 7: Development for Form and Function

The Development of Form and Function unit will study how form and function of eukaryotes developed from the original prokaryotic form. Students will learn how prokaryotes developed and gave rise to the first eukaryotes. Students will explore the development and role of homeostasis in organisms.The unit also includes an investigation into the immune system, the endocrine system and the nervous system and how these systems help maintain homeostasis in living things.

Unit 8: Plants and Ecology

The Plants and Ecology unit will include a condensed unit of plants and a review and application of cology. Students will explore the structure and function of various types of plants. They will also learn about how plants evolved and how specific adaptations contribute to the survival of different plant species. Students will also gain an understanding of how water and nutrients are transported in plants as well as factors that affect transport in vascular plants. The unit also includes a further investigation into Ecology to build on student’s previous knowledge. Students will apply concepts ecological concepts including primary productivity, data analysis of population growth and biodiversity and modeling trophic cascades.