Every objective will NOT necessarily be covered during class time; you will be independently responsible for some of them.

Animal Behavior Objectives
  1. Define, and avoid, anthropomorphization
  2. Distinguish between proximate and ultimate causes of and questions about behavior
  3. Pose proximate and ultimate questions about behaviors
  4. Distinguish between learned and innate behaviors
  5. Give examples of learned and innate (specifically fixed action pattern and imprinting) behaviors
  6. Design a study to determine the degree to which a behavior is innate or learned
  7. Distinguish between taxis and kinesis, and be able to identify movement behaviors as being either taxis or kinesis
  8. Analyze the adaptive value of behaviors, determining how a behavior increases survival and/or reproductive success
  9. Analyze how behaviors optimize an organism’s free energy, and connect that to reproductive success
  10. Identify evolutionary trade-offs in behaviors
  11. Give examples of how behaviors can be triggered by environmental cues
  12. Propose “good genes” and “healthy mate” hypotheses for mate choice behaviors
  13. Give examples of visual, audible, tactile, electrical, and chemical signaling
  14. Give examples of information that signaling can be used to communicate
  15. Give examples of how signal behaviors can produce changes in the behavior of other organisms, and how signal behaviors can increase reproductive success
  16. Contrast costs, benefits, and optimal scenarios for the different kinds of signals (visual, audible, tactile, electrical, and chemical)
  17. Explain how a cooperative behavior can increase the fitness of an individual and the survival of a population
  18. Distinguish between cooperative behavior and altruism, and give examples of scenarios in which evolution would favor altruistic behavior
  19. Define inclusive fitness, direct fitness, indirect fitness, and kin selection
  20. Calculate whether natural selection would favor a sacrificial/altruistic act using Hamilton’s Rule

Nature of Science Objectives
  1. Distinguish between nature and science
  2. Consider the PLORNT characteristics to determine whether something is a science
  3. Give examples of different scientific methods, and be able to select a method that is appropriate to the scope and nature of a study
  4. Make observations and draw inferences, and be able to distinguish between the two
  5. Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative data
  6. Pose, refine, and evaluate scientific questions
  7. Distinguish between and propose appropriate null and alternate hypotheses
  8. Write appropriate predictions for null and alternate hypotheses
  9. Select data needed to answer a scientific question, and justify your selection
  10. Design and implement a plan, experimental or otherwise, for collecting data to answer a scientific question
  11. Identify independent, dependent, and control variables in a study
  12. Integrate proper controls and control groups in experimental design
  13. Justify an experimental design plan in terms of its control value, its minimization of the opportunity for errors, and its maximization of the statistical significance of its results
  14. Cooperate productively with others when designing and implementing a scientific investigation
  15. Select appropriate mathematical routines, including statistics, to describe and solve problems
  16. Calculate mean, median, range, mode, and rate of change
  17. Justify when it is appropriate and helpful to calculate mean, median, range, mode, and/or rate of change
  18. Calculate standard deviation, standard error, and chi-square
  19. Justify when it is appropriate and helpful to calculate standard deviation, standard error, and/or chi-square
  20. Interpret the results of standard deviation, standard error, and chi-square calculations
  21. Draw conclusions based upon evidence
  22. Communicate conclusions, using evidence to support written and oral arguments

Enduring Understandings

Enduring Understandings are the College Board's AP Biology course concepts that you need to know for the AP exam. Below, you'll find those Enduring Understandings relevant to this unit. Numbering and lettering matches the course objective document linked from the main page of this website.
Every Enduring Understanding will NOT necessarily be covered during class time; you will be independently responsible for some of them.

A. Growth, reproduction and maintenance of the organization of living systems require free energy and matter.
1. All living systems require a constant input of free energy.
  • l. Reproduction and rearing of offspring require free energy beyond that used for maintenance and growth. Different organisms use various reproductive strategies in response to energy availability.

C. Organisms use feedback mechanisms to regulate growth and reproduction, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.
2. Organisms respond to changes in their external environments.
  • a. Organisms respond to changes in their environment through behavioral and physiological mechanisms.

E. Many biological processes involved in growth, reproduction and dynamic homeostasis include temporal regulation and coordination.
2. Timing and coordination of physiological events are regulated by multiple mechanisms.
  • d. In animals, internal and external signals regulate a variety of physiological responses that synchronize with environmental cycles and cues.
3. Timing and coordination of behavior are regulated by various mechanisms and are important in natural selection.
  • a. Individuals can act on information and communicate it to others.
  • b. Innate behaviors are behaviors that are inherited.
  • c. Learning occurs through interactions with the environment and other organisms.
  • d. Responses to information and communication of information are vital to natural selection.
  • g. Behaviors in animals are triggered by environmental cues and are vital to reproduction, natural selection and survival.
  • h. Cooperative behavior within or between populations contributes to the survival of the populations.

E. Transmission of information results in changes within and between biological systems.
1. Individuals can act on information and can communicate it to others.
  • a. Organisms exchange information with each other in response to internal changes and external cues, which can change behavior.
  • b. Communication occurs through various mechanisms.
  • c. Living systems have a variety of signal behaviors or cues that produce changes in the behavior of other organisms and can result in differential reproductive success.
  • d. Animals use visual, audible, tactile, electrical and chemical signals to indicate dominance, find food, establish territory and ensure reproductive success.
  • e. Responses to information and communication of information are vital to natural selection and evolution.
  • f. Natural selection favors innate and learned behaviors that increase survival and reproductive fitness.
  • g. Cooperative behavior tends to increase the fitness of the individual and the survival of the population.

Textbook Reference

This is the part of your textbook that covers the material for this unit.
Ch 1 & Ch 39 concepts 39.3-39.6 in new book

Relevant Files

Here, you'll find files for this course. Copies of lecture notes will go here, as will others.
Lecture notes: and
AP Exam Essay Question Keywords:
Advice from last year's students, with their permission:
Lab Report Guidelines:
Lab Report Rubric:
Detailed information from UNC on writing reports in science.
A sample student lab. Okay, but not spectacular.
A better sample student lab.
A very good sample student lab. Do note, however, that their report requirements weren’t identical to yours. For instance, they have no abstract, and their procedure is a numbered list. But it demonstrates the level of detail and writing quality that’s expected


These connect to materials on other teachers' websites that you may find helpful. Generally speaking, I put links to helpful review materials - like video lectures summarizing the material - towards the top, and links to interesting extensions towards the bottom.
Understanding Science from UC Berkeley (a resource on the nature and philosophy of science, as well as some social context of science)
E-Mail A Scientist - Just what it says on the tin! Ask a scientist any questions you have about science content, about being a scientist, about the path to becoming a scientist, etc. (Featuring a scientist with a link to Canton, no less)
Making and Interpreting Scientific Graphs
Wildcam Gorongosa - help scientists identify animals and their behaviors in photos from Mozambique, easy and fun way to contribute to actual research!
Ant Colonies/ Community Behavior (TED talk)
Whale Behavior: Blowing Bubbles
Sneaky Sperm Whales
Now you see the octopus Now you don't
Bioluminescence in the deep ocean