As with the rest of my curriculum, I’ve gone through the College Board’s Course and Exam Description for AP Biology and extracted the following learning objectives, Enduring Understandings, and pieces of essential knowledge. This is what I’m using to inform the development of my on-line tutorials about DNA, and the instruction I’m delivering to my own students at BHS. I’d love to know what you think.

DNA-related learning objectives

  1. LO 3.2:2 The student is able to justify the selection of data from historical investigations that support the claim that DNA is the source of heritable information  (EK: 3A1)
  2. LO 3.3:The student is able to describe representations and models that illustrate how genetic information is copied for transmission between generations  (EK: 3A1)
  3. LO 3.1:The student is able to construct scientific explanations that use the structures and mechanisms of DNA and RNA to support the claim that DNA and, in some cases, that RNA are the primary sources of heritable information.  (EK: 3A1)

DNA-related enduring understandings and essential knowledge

  1. Genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next through DNA (or RNA) (3.A.1)
  2. DNA in eukaryotes is organized into multiple, linear chromosomes. Prokaryotes have circular chromosomes [note: Archaea too?] (3.A.1.a)
  3. Plasmids are small, extrachromosomal circles of DNA found in Bacteria (and some viruses and eukaryotes) [note: check that]
  4. Discovery of DNA’s structure came about through a series of experiments by Watson, Crick, Wilkins, and Franklin; Avery-McCleod, McCarty; Hershey-Chase experiments (3.A.1.a)
  5. DNA replication (3.A.1.a.6)
    1. Semiconservative model
    2. DNA replication is enzymatically controlled, and involves bidirectionality, leading/lagging strands, and enzymes such as DNA polymerase, ligase, RNA polymerase, helicase, topoisomerase

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