Part 2: Current Events Journal

One of the great things about studying science is there is constantly  events occurring that  change how scientists view the world or have drastic impacts on biology.  For success on the AP Exam, one of the most repeated piece of advice is to stay up to date on current events from around the world.

  1. In a notebook (specific to AP Biology.), log ONE current event that is related to biology every TWO weeks. 

Summer Assignment

Please sign up for the ways we will be communicating during the course of the year:

** Students may complete Part 1 for 2 different books or do Part 1 and Part 2. **

Part 1: Reading Assignment

There are many books that tackle the wide range of environmental science issues of the past, present and future.  A budding environmental scientist has a plethora of options  when looking to dive into an aspect of biology.  For success on the AP Exam, being able to provide specific examples such as the examples found in these books is integral.

  1. Select a book from the book list found below. There are more than 60 options of books to choose from. Select a book that you are interested in. 

  2. After reading the book, complete the following:

  • 300- 500 word Summary of the book

  • 400- 500 word Reflection:

    • What is your thoughts about the author’s points?

    • What was your reaction while reading the book?

    • What impact does this book have on how you view the world around you?

  • Identification of the claim and evidence found in the book (please create a table like the one below). You should have between 5-8 pieces of evidence from different parts of the book.

AP Biology

Adams, Douglas & Carwardine, Mark

Join them as they encounter the animal kingdom in its stunning beauty, astonishing variety, and imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the helpless but loveable Kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean. Hilarious and poignant—as only Douglas Adams can be—Last Chance to See is an entertaining and arresting odyssey through the Earth’s magnificent wildlife galaxy.

Agosta, William

The tobacco plant synthesizes nicotine to protect itself from herbivores. The female moth broadcasts sex pheromones to attract a mate, while a soldier ant deploys an alarm pheromone to call for help. The carbon dioxide on a mammal's breath beckons hungry ticks and mosquitoes, while a flower's fragrance speaks to the honey bee. Indeed, much of the communication that occurs within and between various species of organisms is done not by sight, sound, or touch, but with chemicals. From mating to parenting, foraging to self-defense, plant and animal activities are accomplished largely by the secretion or exchange of organic chemicals. The fascinating and fast-developing science that encompasses these diverse phenomena is introduced here, by William Agosta, in a series of remarkable stories absolutely accessible to the general reader yet revelatory to chemists and biologists.

 

Among Agosta's characters are the organisms that steal, counterfeit, or interpret the chemical signals of other species for their own ends. We learn of seeds that mimic ant odors to facilitate their own dispersion and flies that follow the scent of truffles to lay their eggs. We read about pit vipers that react in terror when their flicking tongues detect a king snake, and slave-making ants incapable of finding their own food. And we meet ice-age people who ate birch fungus to relieve whipworms and early human hunters who used the urine of wolves to maneuver deer to favorable sites.

 

Agosta also chronicles the rapid development of the applied science that makes use of chemical ecology. As researchers deepen our understanding of the biological world, they are making economically significant discoveries (such as enzymes that remain stable in extreme heat), finding ways to reduce our reliance on manufactured pesticides, identifying new uses for traditional medicines, and developing sophisticated new pharmaceuticals effective in treating malaria and several cancers. On the horizon are antiviral agents derived from the chemical defenses of marine species.

 

From the exploits of flies to the high-stakes effort to cure human disease, Agosta's tour of chemical ecology grants any reader entrance to the invisible realm where chemistry determines life and death.

Bronowski, Jacob

Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of the culture of our age from a leader in the scientific humanism movement. "A profoundly moving, brilliantly perceptive essay by a truly civilized man."--Scientific American

Carson, Rachel

Thought-provoking essays on science as an integral part of the culture of our age from a leader in the scientific humanism movement. "A profoundly moving, brilliantly perceptive essay by a truly civilized man."--Scientific American

Church, George and Regis, Ed

In Regenesis, Harvard biologist George Church and science writer Ed Regis explore the possibilities—and perils—of the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology, in which living organisms are selectively altered by modifying substantial portions of their genomes, allows for the creation of entirely new species of organisms. These technologies—far from the out-of-control nightmare depicted in science fiction—have the power to improve human and animal health, increase our intelligence, enhance our memory, and even extend our life span. A breathtaking look at the potential of this world-changing technology, Regenesis is nothing less than a guide to the future of life.

Close, William T.

At a Catholic Mission in Yambuku, an oasis of peace and efficiency in northern Congo's vast jungle forests, Mabalo Lokela, a teacher, receives an anti-malarial shot for a raging fever and headache. Sister Lucie, a Flemish nursing sister, swishes out a syringe with a weak disinfectant. The next patients are injected with the same syringe and the sick man's virus spreads.

Lokela was the first Congolese victim of a new African hemorrhagic disease that became known as Ebola fever. When Sister Lucie dies a few days later, panic erupts and hospitalized patients flee into the forest. With the convent connected to the outside world by a single primitive radio, the mission nuns can only pray and wonder if anyone will act on their cries for help.

Dennett, Daniel C.

In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.

Diamond, Jared

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

Dillard, Annie

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the story of a dramatic year in Virginia's Roanoke Valley. Annie Dillard sets out to see what she can see. What she sees are astonishing incidents of "beauty tangled in a rapture with violence."

 

Her personal narrative highlights one year's exploration on foot in the Virginia region through which Tinker Creek runs. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays King of the Meadow with a field of grasshoppers. The result is an exhilarating tale of nature and its seasons.

Doudna, Jennifer and Sternberg, Samuel

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. Not, that is, until the spring of 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the new gene-editing tool CRISPR—a revolutionary new technology that she helped create—to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers, and will help address the world’s hunger crisis. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences—to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create “better” humans.
 
Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, Doudna shares the thrilling story of her discovery, and passionately argues that enormous responsibility comes with the ability to rewrite the code of life. With CRISPR, she shows, we have effectively taken control of evolution. What will we do with this unfathomable power?

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  • Print out/ Cut out/ Include the URL for an article that shows an event that is related to biology

  • Summarize the event- include the answers to the major questions like what, where, why and how. This should have a focus of cause and effect (50 to 100 words).

  • Explain how the event is related to biology (100 to 150 words)

AP Biology Science Book List

The descriptions and images of the books below are from Amazon. Books are listed alphabetically by author.

A Science Classroom For The Next Generation