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PA Biology Part 2
Course Length: 1 Semester
Has Textbook: Yes

PA Biology is designed to prepare students for the Biology Keystone Exam.  PA Biology contains 16 Keystone group assessments per part, each with 2 short answers and one extended essay question. 

Before beginning Biology Part 2, students will be required the completed Biology Part 1, with a passing grade. Biology Part 2 will cover a wide range of concepts in the field of biology.  Students will first explore the theory of evolution, including early ideas, how populations evolve, and the history of life on Earth.  Students will also discuss the concept of ecology, where they will learn about different principles of ecology, interactions that occur within ecosystems, the biosphere, and how humans have impacted ecosystems thus far.  Then, the concept of classification and diversity of organisms will be covered.  This concept will further discuss the Linnaean classification system, as well as more modern types of classification.  Furthermore, students will examine each domain and kingdom, and then they will analyze each of the six kingdoms in further detail. This part of the course includes both online lessons, textbook readings, and the opportunity for hands-on learning through labs.

Unit 1: Essential Content and Skills

  • Analyze the principles of natural selection and explain how they are used for evolution.
  • Investigate how structural patterns in species provide evidence for evolution.
  • Identify how advancing technology uncovers additional evidence for evolution.
  • Explain the evidence in the fossil record relating to evolution.
  • Correlate molecular and genetic evidence to fossil and anatomical evidence that support evolution.
  • Describe various sources of genetic variation and evaluate how natural selection affects the distribution of traits.
  • Compare and contrast how gene flow, genetic drift, and sexual selection alter populations over time.
  • Describe how the Hardy-Weinberg equation is used to measure forces acting on a population.
  • Evaluate the process of radiometric dating utilized to calculate the absolute age of fossils.
  • Explain several prominent changes that have occurred on Earth over the last 4.6 billion years by relating them to the history of major events during the formation of the planet.

Unit 2: Essential Content and Skills

  • Explore how changes in an ecosystem can affect biodiversity by comparing different case studies that range in resource availability.
  • Analyze the use of a food web to model the flow of energy in an ecosystem by studying examples in nature that reflect this energy flow.
  • Identify the different cycles of elements essential for life within an ecosystem by comparing the way the elements move from Earth to the atmosphere to the hydrosphere.
  • Interpret the use of other pyramid models to explain how biomass and organisms are found within an ecosystem by comparing the biomass pyramid to the pyramid of numbers
  • Examine the importance of competition and predation within an ecosystem by investigating several examples and how the ecosystem would suffer when these processes are absent.
  • Identify three types of symbiosis by comparing and contrasting case studies that illustrate these phenomena.
  • Explore the different types of reproductive strategies by creating a survivorship curve and examining the different patterns.
  • Examine the ways that population size is determined by comparing and contrasting the four ways population size can change.
  • Evaluate how populations are limited in growth by defining the density-dependent and density-independent limiting factors of an ecosystem.
  • Differentiate between Earth’s four climate zones by investigating examples of ecosystems that exist in each of the climate zones.

Unit 3: Essential Content and Skills

  • Evaluate the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources by comparing the side effects associated with both forms of energy.
  • Recognize the importance of biodiversity by investigating the resources found in productive ecosystems.
  • Explore habitat loss and how it affects species’ survival by comparing several case studies in habitat fragmentation.
  • Identify the importance of sustainability by comparing our resources today with what we had in the past and what we might not have in the future.
  • Analyze the Linnaean system of classifying species by examining several examples of similar species.
  • Interpret a cladogram by outlining its individual pieces and creating one as an example.
  • Explain how DNA provides a basis for phylogeny by examining several examples where DNA has provided the evidence for evolution.
  • Analyze the pathogens that can cause diseases by comparing and contrasting viruses, bacteria, viroids, and prions.
  • Explore bacteria and archaea by examining their structures and how they both move.
  • Describe the survival strategies of prokaryotes by analyzing their reproductive methods and other adaptations.

Unit 4: Essential Content and Skills

  • Differentiate between animal-like, plant-like, and fungus-like protists by comparing and contrasting them to animals, plants, and fungi.
  • Explore the methods by which fungi have adapted to the environment by describing how fungi obtain nutrients.
  • Identify the four main types of fungi by investigating examples of each.
  • Investigate the possibility that land plants evolved from algae by exploring the similarities between algae and land plants.
  • Explore how other organisms have co-evolved along with land plants by examining several examples of insects and organisms that have survived because of these plants.
  • Investigate the adaptations of flowering plants by examining several case studies and how the flowering plants dominate the plant world.
  • Investigate how the domestication of plants changed the way humans lived by comparing the agricultural revolution to the hunter-gatherer society.
  • Identify the importance of plants by examining the multitude of ways humans use plants and plant resources.
  • Analyze the different reproductive strategies of plants by examining several examples of plants with unusual life cycles.
  • Investigate the ways that plants can be manually or intentionally produced asexually by examining several case studies of plants that are grown with these methods.