Over the course of this 4 – day workshop, new and experienced teachers alike will become familiar with the revised AP Biology Curriculum Framework which focuses on Big Ideas, Essential Knowledge, Enduring Understandings, and Science Practices that are intended to make “doing science” a centerpiece of the revised course. Particularly important will be the time and skill set necessary to support teachers in transitioning to the inquiry-based AP Biology laboratory component and participants will be given tools and strategies for modifying traditional experiments into inquiry-based models. Participants will gain experience with all 13 labs in the 2015 updated lab manual AP Biology Investigative Labs: An Inquiry-Based Approach (link below) as well as explore creative alternatives to these labs. We will also examine the AP Biology exam design and essay grading approaches and teachers will participate in a mock “reading” of the 2017 exam free response questions. Those seeking graduate credit will develop an AP Biology syllabus specific to their school’s daily schedule and calendar and submit it as part of the AP Course Audit process. Participants will need to bring a calculator, camera (phone or digital), laptop computer, and a favorite lab activity to share on our Dropbox folder (invitations emailed first day of workshop).

AP Central AP Biology Home Page:

Lab Manual:

Course Agenda:


Day 1 – BIG IDEA 1: Evolution

  • Welcome, Introductions, 
  • Alternative Lab 1: Natural Selection of Brine Shrimp 
  • Film HHMI Origin of Species: The Beak of the Finch – Graphing & Statistics 
  • Modeling Speciation in Galapagos Finches – POGIL Human Skin Color Case Study 


  • Alternatives to Lab 2: Hardy-Weinberg – HHMI Rock Pocket Mouse Film & Spreadsheet 
  • Alternative Lab 3: Using BLAST to Identify Genetic Diseases 
  • Jump Start on BIG IDEA 4: Interactions 
  • Alternative Lab 10: Energy Flow in Painted Lady Caterpillars (or Monarchs)– Set up & mass caterpillars with food source. 
  • Mock “Reading” of 2018 AP Biology FRQ #1(Cladistics) 
  • HW: Answer questions #6-7 on 2018 exam 

Day 2 – BIG IDEA 2: Energy and Homeostasis 


  • Mock “Reading” of 2018 AP Biology FRQ #2 (CER & Cell Signaling), #6 (cell structure), #8 (neurotransmitters) 
  • Lab 4: Diffusion and Osmosis 
  • Part 2: Inquiry investigation to determine relative concentrations of unknown sucrose solutions. 
  • Part 4: Inquiry investigation to determine water potential of plant cells. 


  • Lab 1: Collect 24-hour data for Natural Selection Hatch Rates 


  • Assessment Design & Grading – What does a good test item look like? What are alternatives to “curving”? 
  • Alternative Lab 5-6: Cell Respiration and Photosynthesis in Algal Beads 


  • Check on caterpillars and provide additional (MASSED!) food if needed. 
  • Streak starter plate for transformation lab tomorrow and prepare plates 

HW: Answer MC and GRID IN Sections on practice exam, continue syllabus development. 

Day 3 – BIG IDEA 3: Genetics and Information Transfer


  • Mock “Reading” of 2018 AP Biology FRQ #7 (Genetics) 
  • Wrap Up Lab 1: Collect final data for Natural Selection Hatch Rates 
  • Lab 7: Chi Square Activity and Cancer Case Studies – HeLa cells and Philadelphia chromosome 
  • Lab 8: Set up transformation lab 
  • Lab 9: DNA fingerprinting – prepare gel, gel beds, electrophoresis chambers


  • Run DNA electrophoresis and data analysis 
  • Transform E. coli and plate onto petri dishes. Incubate overnight. 
  • Wrap Up Lab 10: Finish Energy Flow lab by massing caterpillars, food, frass. Dry frass to mass tomorrow. 

Day 4 – BIG IDEA 4: Interactions 

  • Mock “Reading” of 2018 AP Biology FRQ #3-5 (Experimental Design, Data Analysis, & Ecology) 
  • Data Analysis Lab 10: Mass dried frass and determine 1) % energy transferred from food to caterpillar, 2) energy lost as waste (frass) and 3) energy consumed by cell respiration. 
  • Data Analysis Lab 8: Transformation efficiency 
  • Alternative Lab 11: Design a transpiration lab with celery. 
  • Lab 12: Drosophila behavior lab –choice chamber construction & chi-square analysis 
  • Alternative Lab 13 – Enzymes & Biofuel 


  • Mini-Posters as lab reports: Create a “report” for the enzyme or behavior lab 
  • Sharing favorite activities 
  • Evaluations 
  • Happy Teaching! 

Please note: Agenda subject to change depending on experience and needs of the teachers.


The faculty have been selected for their teaching expertise, creativity, innovations in teaching and experience with the AP* Program curriculum. All faculty members are endorsed and certified by the Middle Atlantic Regional Office of The College Board and have demonstrated a commitment to excellence that is second to none.


  • Classes are scheduled from Tuesday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Class check-in begins at 7 a.m. with as brief orientation at 7:20 a.m.
  • Participants receive a catered lunch Tuesday – Thursday.
  • Morning and afternoon coffee/snack breaks are provided each day.


Instructors encourage sharing among participants that will enhance the knowledge and skills of all participants for effective teaching. The opportunity to exchange and communicate with instructors and colleagues within the Middle Atlantic Region and beyond is a valued support resource for the entire school year.


Questions/concerns about your particular course can be addressed by going to course description and clicking on the instructor’s name. You will then be able to e-mail the instructor. Any problems call the Lewes AP* Summer Institute office at 302-644-0277.

* This Summer Institute has been endorsed by Advanced Placement Program, AP, Pre-AP, College Board and it’s logo are registered trademarks of the College Board.