AP Biology Portfolio
By: Lubna Ahsan

Big Idea 1: Evolution🌺

The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.

EVOLUTION Artifact 1

Big idea 1
EVOLUTION Artifact 1 Reflection :

This artifact is a four-page worksheet assignment involving the interactive of creating phylogenetic trees from DNA sequences. I chose this because it is a correct representation of evolutionary processes and the diversity of life. This worksheet involves lots of critical thinking and the description of evolutionary history and relationships between species based on anatomical features, the similarities of evolutionary related organisms, possible mutations or even different mechanisms of genetic change. This artifact's completion and detailed responses as well as overall assignment demonstrates that I well understood the topic of evolutionary history of species and the concept of phylogeny: the evolutionary history of a species or taxonomic group and/or the relationships by ancestry among species or taxonomic groups. I learned that I can well distinguish between evolutionary related species and organisms of common ancestry by understanding similarities in sequences, fossils, DNA, and structures. I improved by comparing different types of organisms, watching videos, and looking at the overall characteristics of different organisms and also observing how certain totally unique organisms can also be related based on homologous structures and the similar structures that both organisms might have with totally different functions. Also, even how the anatomical structures are totally different in shape and form but may have the same function. I considered that really cool, especially how as evolution occurs between organisms,  the change in adaptation and body structures, all can be very effective on the future generations of animals or even at present. For example, one very important example that helped me understand evolution really well, was how giraffes were all short necked creatures at one point, and as time went by, trees were all very tall and there was no source of food for any of the shorter necked giraffes. What ended up happening was, that the giraffes with the taller necks ended up surviving, while the rest did not survive. As those giraffes reproduced as years went by, the giraffe population changed to having higher and higher numbers of long necked giraffes, and now, there are no short necked giraffes any longer. This is one concept of Evolution and Darwin's theory of natural selection. This artifact applies to the big idea of evolution, obviously because it shows how evolutionary processes and similarities in common ancestry of organisms are all tied in by a very important thread that includes,: DNA and sequences and through phylogeny itself.

Big Idea 1
EVOLUTION Artifact 2

Big idea 1
EVOLUTION Artifact 2 Reflection:

This artifact is the evolution questions assignment from spring break which has questions based off the video "What Darwin never knew." This demonstrates my understanding of evolution and the process as well as the transitions from evolutionary processes from the beginning of time in which organisms first existed till present. It also demonstrates the overall concepts of Evolution from Darwin's perspective at  the time and perspective of others in terms of functions, structures., etc. The first few changes were seen by Darwin at his time. Darwin hypothesized that: " Species originated by means of natural selection, or through the preservation of the favoured races in the struggle for life." To prove his hypothesis, Darwin came of of many ways to observe and research the different organisms and their living conditions as well as change over time. Comparing different animals at the time like birds with different shaped beaks and being able to compare those different beaks of the same kinds of birds with the same DNA Sequences, at different time periods, demonstrated the change in evolutionary processes actually occurring. Also going into detailed questions in this artifact, about how whales couldve evolved into four legged creatures and what must've been the cause to it, all demonstrates critical thinking.  I was able to improve my understanding by watching this two hour long video, and answer each of the questions as well as read more about Darwin's journey for the betterment of contextual knowledge for myself. What Darwin's first theories and observations were at the time were pretty impressive, but today with the use of technology and bettter resources we are able find out what had actually possible happened thanks to Darwin. This artifact fits in with the Big idea of Evolution and the overall diversity of life because it represents evolution from the beginning and where it came from, whose ideas, what led to the research, etc. Also, this artifact and the video along with it, solely focuses on the Concepts of Darwin and how the different animals evolve over time, and their overall state of being, what conditions caused them to evolve, and so on. Being able to distinguish between the different structures of animals and think about which structures of a reptile might be related to the structure of a fish and what functions are similar, all totally fits the idea of the diversity of life.

Big Idea 2:
Cellular Processes: Energy and Communication

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

Cellular Processes Artifact 1

Big idea 2 CELLULAR PROCESSES Artifact 1 Reflection

The aetifact that i chose for the big idea number two of cellular professes is a part of the lab report of diffusion and osmosis. the concept of osmosis is the movement of water through the membranes from high water to low water concentration, this is done to determine the change in mass in the dialysis tubing in this experiment and to observe the physical effects of diffusion, and osmosis, we tested the water and solute concentration in the tubing as time went by. The results for the diffusion process in the experiment was that when the experiment first started, the dialysis bag color was cloudy white and the glucose test step was positive too, and the outside surface of the bag, or the beaker content, was a gold acolor and it resulted in a darker blue and purple color afterwards and also change in the beaker surface, demonstrating that diffusion had actually occurred. I learned that :  this is a mini model of the actual membrane in the system and that it demonstrates the concept of the cell membrane, selective permeability, and the movement of molecules across membranes with membrane structure and function. Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis. I also learned and demonstrated how to use representations and models to analyze certain situations and/  or solve problems qualitatively as well as quantitatively to determine whether homeostasis is maintained by the movement of molecules across membranes. In the process of the diffusion and osmosis labs, there were many concepts applied, learned, and improved, and from those were: Measuring volumes, calculating surface area-to-volume ratios, calculating water potential and rates as well as lots of graphing.

Big idea 2

Big idea 2
CELLULAR PROCESSES Artifact 2 Reflection

This is the artifact of the photosynthesis lab report I had done involving the floating of the disk leaves and how I can measure the rate of photosynthesis but testing variables, basically, the leaf disk is placed in a solution with an alternate source of carbon dioxide, int he form of birbonate ions and photosynthesis can occur in a sunken leaf disk and as it proceeds, oxygen accumulates I'm the air space of the mesophyll and the leaf disk will be less dense and float in the water, testing the photosynthesis and the rate at which the floating leaf disks rise per minute in solutions of with or without carbon dioxide is what was mainly being observed as well as other factors affecting it. In concepts of photosynthesis I learned that : Photosynthesis fuels ecosystems and replenishes the Earth’s atmosphere with oxygen. It also demonstrates the understanding of my ability to use representations to pose scientific questions about what mechanisms and structural features allow organisms to capture, store, and use free energy. This artifact ties into the big idea 2 of cellular processes involving energy and communication especially through the representation of the learned skills : Calculating rates, getting solutions prepared, measuring the light intensity, being able to apply and develop concepts to identify the relationship between values, and using graphs for representations.

Big Idea 3: Genetics and Information Transfer

Living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes.

GENETICS Artifact 1

Big idea 3
GENETICS Artifact 1 Reflection

This is the artifact of a quiz on the concept of DNA, to which the big idea of Genetics is connected. This DNA quiz is a ten question quiz basically bout the observations of Griffith, what DNA consists of, what percentage of the nucleotides can be certain nitrogen bases made up of, who was responsible for the discovery of the concept that " the amount if adenine equals the amount if thymine,  then the amount if guanine equals the amount of cytosine," the comparison between whether the DNA or  protein would be the genetic material, what make the strands of the DNA antiparallel, etc. i learned about all these concepts and this quiz demonstrates my understanding if the entire concept of DNA replication, the vocabulary terms in genetics, the sequencing of the complementary strand in a sequence fo DNA, and the rest of the content in this quiz. At first i was abit bervous on the quiz, then I thought about the concepts and whatever I knew, and I was satisfied because I knew what the quesiins were askin and what I should expect. I recieved the grade of 9/10 on this quiz, so it also demonstrates how well I understood the concepts, and to get better i just reviewed the questions afterwards even if they were correct, just to see how I would be able to justify my answers if I were to do so in the future. I missed one quesiin which asked what the type of bond is tha hold the strands of DNA together between the nitrogenous base pairs, and i knew it was hydrogen bonds so i was happy I knew the answer but I think there was an error or maybe I accidentally chose the covalent bond answer instead, but ever way I was satisfied that I knew what I was doing. This artifact ties in with the Big idea of Genetics because I was able to answer the questions and think about the genetic information and processes providing for life of all living things.

Big Idea 3
GENETICS Artifact 2

Big Idea 3
GENETICS Artifact 2 Reflection

The artifact that I chose for Big Idea 3: Genetics, is the bacterial transformation pre-lab quiz. I chose it strictly because it falls under the Genetics category in which it involves the measuring of volume and temperature, as well as calculating the transformation efficiency. Before actually getting started on the lab, we were required to take a pre-lab quiz to test our understanding of the basic concepts of bacterial transformation and what to expect. In the bacterial transformation lab, it is expected to introduce a gene for resistance to the antibiotic ampicillin into a bacterial strain that is killed by ampicillin. If the susceptible bacteria incorporate the foreign DNA, then they will become ampicillin resistant. This artifact and the grade of 8 out of 9, demonstrates my ability to grasp the understanding of the bacterial transformation lab well. One of the things I learned in preparation for the lab, was that decontaminating the work surfaces and all liquid / solid wastes before disposal, and wearing protective eye-wear and disposable gloves during the procedure of handling any sort of bacteria, very important. I also learned the ways that bacteria increases genetic variation: Conjugation, transduction, transformation, and mutation. One concept I was confused on which I understood and improved well later on, was that the treatment of bacterial cells in CaCl2 and "heat shock" is in order to make the cells competent and increase the transformation efficiency. Lastly, I improved as I read more about the procedure and stages of transformation in order. This artifact fits well in the big idea of Genetics and information transfer as it represents the living systems and the storing, retrieving, transmitting, and responding to the information essential in the life processes, and in this case, the transformation efficiency of bacteria.

Big Idea 4: Interactions

Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.


Big Idea 4
INTERACTIONS Artifact 1 Reflection

Big Idea # 4 is all about interactions – whether its from the smallest molecular interactions, all the way till interactions of drosophila melanogaster. In this artifact i chose the lab of the drospophila melanogaster and conducted investigations explore the environmental choices that fruit flies make. A choice chamber is designed to give fruit flies different choices during any test and basically tests and focuses on fruit fly behavior and respinse to the different solutes. This artifsct also focuses on the research and studying of why thise fruit flies might respond in a certain way to certain solutes and not others. I learned that The flies could also exhibit a behavior that is not designed toward or away from a certain stimulus, and instead, the stimulus creates a random response. I also was able to try to answer and research more on quesrions like "Can they discover a pattern to the behavior of the flies? Are there substances that can attract fruit flies down in a vertically held chamber? If fruit flies are attracted to a picnic table or a counter in the kitchen, what attracts them?" It's artifact ties into the big idea or big idea 4 interactions because this artifact focuses for students to learn and practice important skills before they move on to independent research as well as because it provides a procedure, in which personal techniques and skills should be derived from. Since populations of organisms have so much variation, like in fruit flies and their preference, it adds to the diversity within the population as well as ties in well with this big idea.

Big idea 4

Big idea 4
INTERACTIONS Artifact 2 Reflection

This artifact is a project I did on cell signaling and the overall  information about-> how problems in cell signaling can lead to diseases: understand the methods of local and long distance signaling in animals, To be able to explain the stages of a signal transduction pathway, understand the role of extracellular molecules (or ligands) in signal transduction, recognize the role of protein kinases, cyclic AMP or calcium ions (depending on disease) in the regulation of cellular biochemical pathways, and describe what a cell does when it receives a signal (what kinds of cellular processes are altered upon receipt of a signal.) in this artifact i learned and it represents how interactions are taking place in the whole pathway of signal trust unction and the series of steps linking a mechanical or chemical stimulus to a specific cellular response. I also know that "Efficiency of energy transfer and availability of resources influence activities in cells and organisms", and this artifact to ally fits into the concept of those interactions that are present in organisms, and in the project in which I researched on the different diseases, specifically cancer in which I focused on Heart development being controlled by a highly conserved network of transcription factors that connects signaling pathways with genes of muscle growth, patterning, etc.


Overall in this class of AP Biology, I've learned so many concepts that will be very useful in the future and in my life. Whether I receive college credit or not, I'm taking with me the AP skills, the satisfaction of doing well in a tough course, and a wonderful experience. I learned so many concepts from Evolution and the diversity of life, to phylogenetic trees, DNA sequences, and mutations. In this class ive done labs like diffusion, osmosis, photosynthesis, bacterial transformation, and dived deep into comcepts from evolution to DNA sequences. In terms of myself, I learned that i made it throuhg a challening course and i know it wasnt easy and i also know i have the potential to do wht i can to succeed in this class and other tough courses,and i know thet hardwork pays off, so what i learned about myself is that i shouldnt understimate my potential or wbility, and also to continue working hard because it will be worth it in the end if and only if i work hard by doing my work studying, asking wuesirns, being lunctual with everything ,grasping those skills, and learning concepts which will all be helpful to me. what i lewrned anout others is that others also went through a touch course as i did, and it may have been tough on them as well, maybe some mightve given up, others stood strong, but i lewrned the same with others thet hard work will pay off and theres nothing better than knowing personlaly and being satisfied that you can do it. Lastly what I learned about the world is that all these biological concepts are so important in the lng runnand in our life as a while from our bodies to environments in which we live and conditions, etc. what didnt work for me was sometimes how i didnt understand certain concepts, and what did work for me was the way I tried to focus through what concepts I did understand well and not be too disheartened about what I thought was challenging. For next year, what I would say about improving is the studying techniques and way of taking notes to better understand how to apply it on tests and exams in a short period of time. The lessons I can learn from this year are to work hard, be passionate about what you're learning and don't stress too much. I would say that the concepts are really difficult and hard to understand but if you can understand a little bit, take it in little steps, and you will be fine. I will learn these skills and use them for the future academically and overall .

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