AP Biology Portfolio

Big Idea 1: Evolution

Artifact #1:

Evolution has been one of the most important main ideas that we have focused on throughout this entire course. In fact, a major part of biology itself focuses on the idea of evolution in order to answer some of the most difficult questions which we still asks ourselves today. One of the artifacts which I feel represents this big idea quite well is a video which we were assigned to watch and answer some follow up questions as well. Through this video we were able to see some of the most important and difficult concepts being answered in a more clear and concise way. This video in my opinion seemed to be a review of all of the concepts we had previously studied in class. The video focused on Darwin's beginnings with his idea of evolution and it later on would branch out into the finches he studied, genes, DNA, and chromosomes. It was very interesting in my opinion how the producers of this video were able to focus on these concepts and express their main ideas in such a clear way. Therefore, I feel that this assignment perfectly reflects this big main idea because it talks about the concepts itself in a lot of detail, but it also allowed me to review everything we have learned in class in a fun and interactive way. Not only did this assignment allow me to review, but it also offered me the opportunity to understand certain concepts I didn't happen to understand so well the first time. In general I feel that this artifact both represents this main idea well and also demonstrates my improvement towards the end of the course when it came to tying everything together.

Click the Link below to view the artifact:

Artifact #2:

One of the most asked question in regards to biology has been the concept of evolution itself. Evolution is not be any means an easy question to answer, but many scientist like Darwin have tried to tackle it. Many factors would have had to play into the role of us evolving from other animals and that's exactly what scientist have tried to figure out. With the following artifact that I have chosen, which is the Hardy Weinberg problem set, we are able to focus on the genes which play a big role on the type of characteristics an offspring might have due to its parents. Through this lesson in class we were able to calculate the frequency of both dominant and recessive traits in offsprings and among other things. I feel that this worksheet represents this artifact quite well because it demonstrates how close we have gotten to figuring out certain characteristics of evolution over time. Through this worksheet I was also able to learn how to solve certain types of problems that have to deal with frequency of alleles and genotypes. At first it was a bit difficult to understand certain word problems in order to proceed to doing the math, but as we continued to practice I feel that we were able to improve as we continued to practice these problems.

Big Idea 2: Cellular Processes: Energy and Communication

Artifact #1:

A very important main idea which we also covered in class was the idea of cellular processes of energy and communication. This main idea really focused on the way in which cells communicate and interact among each other in order to cause certain reactions in organisms. Communication between cells is very important in order to make sure that all cells are doing their required functions. This can also be in the form of a signal transduction pathway.The artifact which I chose to represent this big idea was a cell signaling project in which we were each required to pick a certain disease and understand the methods of local and long distance signaling in required. Explain the stages of a signal transduction pathway, understand the role of extracellular molecules/ ligands in signal transduction, and other factors. Through this assignment I was able to obtain a really clear idea that everything in our bodies need s to cooperate in order to make certain things function the way they are supposed to. Our body is a system which constantly needs to be restoring itself and requires many things in order to run it. Even though this assignment was a bit difficult I feel that I was able to obtain a greater understanding when it came to learning a bit more about cellular processing and communication.

Artifact #2:

Throughout this course we were able to learn a series of concepts which really helped us understand the way our body and many things around our world work. A very interesting lab which we had the opportunity to conduct was a lab on photosynthesis. The entire purpose of this lab was to see which factors affect the rate of photosynthesis in living leaves through the accumulation of oxygen. This lab in my opinion was quiet fun and interesting for me to watch because for such a long time we have learned about the process of photosynthesis and how it occurs, but we have never had the chance to see it in progress.This lab really helped me gain a more visual understanding about the topic we were learning as well as visually being able to see the process in action. Aside from the educational aspect of this experiment it was also quite fun to preform since we were able to watch the photosynthesis process happen before us. By far the experiment helped improve my understanding with the big idea in general because it offered me a better idea of what this big idea focused on.

Big Idea 3:Genetics and Information Transfer

Artifact #1:

This following big idea once again focuses on the importance of genetics and information transfer. Through this lesson we were able to learn more in debt how the transfer of information is very important in order for our bodies to function properly. The artifact that I chose to represent this big idea was a flowchart where we had to draw in order to illustrate DNA translation. We had to draw an image and later on explain how we happened to interpret the image. In this assignment we had to explain the process of initiation, elongation, and termination. By completing this assignment I feel that I was able to offer a better picture of how I interpreted the DNA translation process and throughout that gain any clarification from my teacher if needed, since through this she would be able to get a better idea of how I understood this process. In general I really liked this assignment because I was also able to see how many of my other classmates interpreted this process and through that I was able to see which type of image helped me better understand certain processes as well. Also this assignment seems to show my improvement when it comes to interpreting certain biological processes as well.

Artifact #2:

An artifact which I believe represents quiet well the big idea of genetics and information transfer is a lab which we did on bacterial transformation. When we were focusing on the over all transformation procedure that bacteria goes through we entered a website which contains many interactive activities which in my opinion really helped us see how the bacteria's transformation can be affected due to many factors like environment, temperature, and many others. This interactive activity allowed us to add different factors to the bacteria and see how it would react which was quite interesting. I believe that this activity helped me see how bacteria can transform rather then just learning and listening to how bacteria can change. Having the possibilities to actually see how the bacteria can change seemed to help many of us understand the concept a lot better.

Big Idea 4: Interactions

Artifact #1:

The most recent topics which we have been talking about in AP biology have all had to deal with interactions in some way, shape, or form. The artifact which I have chosen to represent this big idea is a worksheet which we had to complete after watching a couple of videos that would help us understand and answer the questions on the worksheet a bit better. The concept which we were working on was chromatin modification and epigenetics. This concept of epigenetics is quite interesting when you are thinking about the concept as a whole, but once you begin to break it down into smaller sections you begin to see the amount of concepts that each little section involves. While completing this worksheet it was very interesting to me how certain situations like that of the two identical yet different mice can result into something so big like epigenetics. In general I think that this assignment really helped me understand the concept of chromation modification and epigenetics a lot more.

Artifact #2:

The most recent topics which we have been talking about in AP biology have all had to deal with interactions in some way, shape, or form. The artifact which I have chosen to represent this big idea is a worksheet which we had to complete after watching a couple of videos that would help us understand and answer the questions on the worksheet a bit better. The concept which we were working on was chromatin modification and epigenetics. This concept of epigenetics is quite interesting when you are thinking about the concept as a whole, but once you begin to break it down into smaller sections you begin to see the amount of concepts that each little section involves. While completing this worksheet it was very interesting to me how certain situations like that of the two identical yet different mice can result into something so big like epigenetics. In general I think that this assignment really helped me understand the concept of chromation modification and epigenetics a lot more.

Final Reflection:

This year in AP Biology we covered a good amount of information with ranged from photosynthesis, to diffusion, to cellular respiration, and among many others which were very interesting and beneficial to learn about. Some of the labs which were also done in our class were very interesting to do. For example, an experiment which we did in class allowed us to see how the process of photosynthesis works with plants by using spinach disks. This was very interesting to watch in my opinion because it allowed me to see a process which I have learned and heard about for years, but have never really had the chance to see.

Aside from learning many important biology concepts this year, I was able to learn a bit more about myself as a person.I was able to learn more about my abilities in regards to work ethic. Since this was an advance placement course which was taught at a college level it was lot harder for me when compared to my other classes due to the fast pace, the content of the class, and the amount of work given. I learned that I had to push myself a lot more in order to complete the work and stay on track with the content of the class. I also learned that I had to obtain a lot of help outside of class when it came to working on a project, studying for an exam, or simply just completing a homework assignment. This AP biology class in my opinion not only helped me learn biology, but it allowed me to experience what a college class is like. I feel that it is a very valuable experience that very few people are able to have before actually attending college and even though I had a difficult time with the class I feel that it was worth it because now I have a good idea of the type of rigorousness that will be in each one of my college classes in the near future. Now I will have a better idea of the type of work ethic I must have in order to work though the courses in college and in other AP classes which I will be having next year.
Since the AP biology class has a lot of concepts which are necessary to learn, we had to learn a lot of concepts at a fast pace and it became quite difficult to retain all the information. I feel that when we would have in-class review sessions right after learning a new subject really helped keep the information fresh in our heads. Also pin-pointing the exact information which we had to know also seemed to help a lot when in came to studying as well. Something that in reality didn't seem to help as much when it came to studying was have short study guides. Personally when it comes to studying for tests it is necessary for me to have a packet with potential or similar questions that will be found on the exam. When having short study guides I would find it very difficult to know specifically what I needed to study for.
Over all this AP biology class brought me a lot of benefits during my junior year. Even though this was a very difficult course which caused a lot of stress I feel that eventually this experience will help me deal with many courses similar to this in the future in regards to the work load and the content. I also feel that this class helped out in the social aspect part of t as well because it caused me to meet with teachers outside of class hours in order to get help and get my questions answered. The AP biology course will eventually help me in the near future with my academic career because it helped lay a foundation to the other work which I will be learning when I study to become a nurse. Therefore, the majority of the concepts learned in this AP biology class will hopefully help me understand even more complex concepts in the future.    

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