Building Blocks of Life Unit

In this unit we will be investigating the building blocks of life; molecules and cells.  We will explore the topics of macromolecules, cells, and membranes while emphasizing the relationship between structure and function.  We will work to address the following essential knowledges from AP Biology curriculum:

  • Organisms must exchange matter with the environment to grow, reproduce, and maintain organization (2.A.3)
  • The subcomponents of biological molecules and their sequence determine the properties of that molecule (4.A.1)
  • Variation in molecular units provides cells with a wider range of functions (4.C.1)
  • Eukaryotic cells maintain internal membranes that partition the cell into specialized regions (2.B.3)
  • The structure and function of subcellular components, and their interactions, provide essential cellular processes (4.A.2)
  • Cell membranes are selectively permeable due to their structure (2.B.1)
  • Growth and dynamic homeostasis are maintained by the constant movement of molecules across membranes (2.B.2)
  • Signal transduction pathways link signal reception with cellular response (3.D.3)
  • Changes in signal transduction pathways can alter cellular response (3.D.4)

Chapter 2 – The Chemical Context of Life

Readings & Videos:


Learning Activities:

Chapter 3 – Carbon & the Molecular Diversity of Life

Readings & Videos:


Learning Activities:

Chapter 4 – A Tour of the Cell

Readings & Videos:

 Learning Activities:

Chapter 5 – Membranes & Transport

Reading & Videos:


    • Calculating Water Potential

Learning Activities:

    • Membrane Structure POGIL
    • Membrane Function POGIL
    • Water Potential Practice Problems
    • Investigating Diffusion & Osmosis Laboratory

The Unit Exam will consist of approximately 30 +/- multiple choice questions, 3 grid-in questions, 1 long response FRQ, and 3 short answer FRQs.


About ryanwoodside

I help students learn science. I teach at Windham High School in Maine.
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