• Dr. Betsy Sullivan Contact: bsullivan@madison-schools.com

    Welcome to my class. The first thing you need know is that I love science. It doesn't even matter what aspect of science. I simply find science exciting. 
    You see, science is constantly changing. We find more information every day; from medical to astronomical  to geological to environment, there is always something new!

    I hold a PhD in Science Education/Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi. I am certified to teach most of the sciences. (Like I said, it doesn't matter what science, I love science!) I teach Advanced Placement Biology, Biomedical Research and Chemistry at MCHS. Each class is unique and takes effort, but as one of my students, I will do my best to help you master the material for the course in which you are enrolled. 

    However, this doesn't mean that you will have an easy A. You are required to put forth effort. 

    I look forward to working with you this school year.


    Summer Assignment:
    AP Biology


    2018 AP Biology Summer Assignment


    Thank you for joining my class! This will be a busy year for us. This summer assignment will get you going. AP Biology is all about living systems. This includes everything from the molecules inside cells, to the workings of human body systems to the interactions in ecosystems. In the course, everything we learn will be connected to one of four themes of biology: evolution, energy use, information, and interactions.


    This full year course is designed to cover the same material as a two semester college level course. The class is a flipped classroom, where you will have assignments in advance to prepare for the next lesson. In order to be successful you will need to put in a lot of time and effort. This class is not about simply memorizing information, but you will be asked to think critically, read, write well, do math (eek!) and formulate your own ideas about the living world. To do well in the class, you need to ask lots of questions and think about what you are learning.


    Laboratory exercises will be an integral part of the course. You will complete the written lab assignments and then develop an inquiry component for the lab and test it. What does that mean? You will change the variables of the written experiment and run it again. This inquiry part of each lab will be written in a lab report. We will discuss lab reports during class.


    Now for the summer assignments (yes, there are 2):


    Part 1: Reading


    Evolution is a major theme throughout biology. Evolution, by definition, is modification through descent. This will be embedded in all lessons, especially our genetics units.



    • a single-subject, spiral notebook or composition book to be your reading journal. Number the pages in the upper, outer corner of the journal.
    • Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin


    1st page: Your name, book title, author of book

    2nd page: table of contents

    3rd page: your thoughts about evolution. I am asking for your ideas before reading the book. Don’t worry. This is your ideas and cannot be counted as wrong.


    Each chapter should have its own page(s). Do not put the questions from 2 chapters on the same page. Each chapter should be marked within the table of contents. All work must be handwritten. Write each question and underline it. Then follow up with your answer using complete sentences. Also include images (rough sketches) of one thing from each chapter.


    As you read each chapter of Your Inner Fish, answer following questions:



    Chapter 1: Finding your Inner Fish

    1. What types of rocks are likely to contain the fossil the author is looking for?
    2. What was special about tiktaalik?
    3. How is tiktaalik like us?


    Chapter 2: Getting a Grip

    1. How did the theory of evolution by natural selection (Charles Darwin’s) explain the similarities observed by Richard Owen?
    2. What did tiktaalik’s fins tell us about its lifestyle?


    Chapter 3: Handy Genes

    1. Describe the experiments done on chick embryos in the 1950’s and 1960’s that showed how the pattern of development was controlled by two specific spots of tissue.
    2. What is the significance of the hedgehog gene? Sonic hedgehog gene?


    Chapter 4: Teeth Everywhere

    1. Why do teeth make great fossils?
    2. What are conodonts? How are conodonts connected to us?
    3. What is the connection between scales, feathers, breasts and teeth?


    Chapter 5: Getting Ahead

    1. What is strange about the trigeminal and facial nerves in humans?
    2. What structures in humans form from the four embryonic (gill) arches?
    3. What are HOX genes?
    4. What is so important about amphioxus?


    Chapter 6: The Best Laid (Body) Plans

    1. What are the three germ layers in animals and what organs develop from each?
    2. What is a blastocyst?
    3. What is the Noggin gene?
    4. Even though sea anemone and humans are very different, explain why we can say they have similar body plans.


    Chapter 7: Adventures in Bodybuilding

    1. What is the most common protein in the human body?
    2. How do cells stick to each other? Give a specific example.
    3. Explain how cells communicate with each other.
    4. What environmental conditions would have favored the evolution of “bodies”?


    Chapter 8: Making Scents

    1. How do we perceive a smell?
    2. Why do mammals have so many odor genes compared to fish?



    Chapter 9: Vision

    1. Why do humans and old world monkeys have such similar vision?
    2. Where do we find the Pax 6 gene and what does it do?


    Chapter 10: Ears

    1. What part of the ear is unique to mammals?
    2. What evidence is there to suggest that the parts of mammal’s ears are actually the parts of the jaws of reptiles?
    3. Explain the function of the Pax 2 gene.


    Chapter 11: The Meaning of it All

    1. What is Neil Shubin’s biological “law of everything”?
    2. There are many examples of human diseases that are the result of our complex evolutionary history.


    Video component of the reading journal:

    There has been a series of videos based on this book. Follow this link to watch the first episode in this series.




    Why was this ancestral fish found in the artic region? What was its original habitat? Describe this habitat.


    Choose two ailments from those below and explain how our evolutionary heritage “gave” us this problem. Research these on the internet. Be sure to create a resource page that identifies the sites you used to gather information. Please know that wiki, about, or other sites are not valid sources of information.


    Obesity Hernias

    Heart Disease

    Type 2 Diabetes


    Sleep Apnea

    High blood pressure

    Varicose veins




    Final part of the reading journal: Now that you’ve read this book and watched a video, respond to this final question:


    What are your views on evolution? Again, there is no incorrect response to this – as long as you have a response!


    This completes Part 1.


    Part 2:

    Pictorial Scavenger Hunt


    In this part of the assignment you are to take original images with your device. Emphasis on the ORIGINAL. To prove originality, you must either 1) be in the photo or 2) have your ID/License in the photo. Taking a picture of an image on your computer screen or a book doesn’t count!


    This is due the first week of school.

    Natural items only! Some specimens may be used for more than one item, but all must be from something that you have found in nature. If you use an image more than once, then you have to make a copy of the picture to fit that term. One term = one image.


    Where should you look for these images? OUTSIDE! Most can be found around your house, but there are many lovely local parks as well as state and federal parks that you can visit. Do you have to be in the state to do this? No. Where ever you travel during the summer you can work on this assignment. I would love to see images of your travels.


    Create a power point (Microsoft), keynote (Apple), or Prezi using your images. You may also use google slides or open office.



    The opening slide of this project must be the “coversheet” that will include your name, grade level, and an image of yourself outside.

    Create one slide for each term. You will select 50 terms from the list below. For each term you will take a photo that connects to that image. Some of these will be difficult. For example, if you chose the term phloem, you could submit an image  you have taken of a leaf or plant stem. For each image and term, you must provide on the slide an explanation how the image represents the term.


    Recap: 51 slides total

    Slide 1: your cover page

    Slides 2-51: term, image, explanation per slide


    You will have to do some research on terms with which you are unfamiliar. You have a computer. Use it!


    Terms are on the next page


    Email me if you have questions. Also, as soon as you finish the project email it to me as a pdf. That way it won’t change from your vision of the project. If you are doing this as a Prezi or other online media, send me a link with the final product.


    1. Adaptation of an animal
    2. Adaptation of a plant
    3. Adaptive radiation
    4. Allopatric Speciation
    5. ATP
    6. Amylase
    7. Amino Acids
    8. Animal that has a segmented body
    9. Active Transport
    10. Anther & filament of stamen
    11. Aquaporins
    12. Archaebacteria
    13. Autotroph
    14. Auxin producing area of a plant
    15. Biodiversity
    16. Batesian mimicry
    17. Bee Waggle Dance
    18. Cells
    19. C 4 plant
    20. Calvin cycle
    21. Carbohydrate – fibrous
    22. Carrying Capacity
    23. Cellulose
    24. Chitin
    25. Chloroplast
    26. Cell cycle
    27. Cell Division
    28. Chromosome
    29. Commensalism
    30. Connective tissue
    31. Cuticle layer of a plant
    32. Dominant/recessive
    33. Diffusion
    34. Dicot plant with flower & leaf
    35. Diploid chromosome number
    36. Echinoderm
    37. Ectotherm
    38. Endosperm
    39. Endotherm
    40. Enzyme
    41. Epithelial tissue
    42. Ethylene
    43. Eubacteria
    44. Eukaryote
    45. Exoskeleton
    46. Food Chain
    47. Fermentation
    48. Fossils
    49. Glands
    50. Greenhouse Effect
    51. Genetic Variation
    52. Genetic Diversity
    53. Genetically modified organism
    54. Gibberellins
    55. Glycogen
    56. Genotype
    57. Haploid chromosome number
    58. Homeostasis
    59. Hermaphrodite
    60. Insect
    61. K-strategist
    62. Keratin
    63. Keystone Species
    64. Leaf – gymnosperm
    65. Lichen
    66. Lignin
    67. Lipid used for energy storage
    68. Littoral zone organism
    69. Long-day plant
    70. Lac Operon
    71. Modified leaf of a plant
    72. Modified root of a plant
    73. Modified stem of a plant
    74. Mitochondria
    75. Monocot plant with flower & leaf
    76. Mutualism
    77. Migration
    78. Mitosis or Meiosis
    79. Myosin
    80. Mutation
    81. Niche
    82. Nymph stage of an insect
    83. Parasite
    84. Parenchyma cells
    85. Phloem
    86. Phenotype
    87. Populations
    88. Pollen
    89. Photosynthesis
    90. Phospholipids
    91. Prokaryote
    92. Protein – fibrous
    93. Protein – globular
    94. Predator - Prey
    95. Positive Feedback Loop
    96. Phototropism
    97. R-strategist
    98. Radial symmetry
    99. Scale from animal with two chambered heart
    100. Spore
    101. Symbiosis
    102. Stem – herbaceous
    103. Stem – woody
    104. Succession
    105. Sympatric Speciation
    106. Immune System
    107. Unicellular organism
    108. Vascular plant tissue
    109. Virus
    110. Xerophyte
    111. Xylem
    112. Zygote