Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Note: some or all of the courses in the subjects marked as "Transfer" can be used towards a transfer degree: Associate of Science and Arts or Associate of Engineering Science at DACC. Transferability for specific institutions and majors varies. Consult a counselor for this information.

Areas of Study | | BIOL102 syllabus

COURSE TITLE:Principles of Biology
IAI CODE(S): L1 910L BIO 910
DELIVERY MODE:In-Person, Hybrid

This is a one semester preparatory course for students planning to do further study in science. A wide variety of biological topics will be covered that will introduce students to fundamental concepts of biology including, but not limited to: cell structure and function, genetics, metabolism, etc. Class meets 3 lecture hours per week, and 2 lab hours. This class is the first semester in a sequence (including BIOL103) that can be used to transfer as a biology majors introductory course, but will also stand alone as a life science with a lab.

Placement into MATH107 and ENGL101 or a grade of C or better in GSCI100. GSCI100 is recommended if biology coursework is older than five years.

NOTES: A lab is required for this course. Some sections will require a separate lab, while other sections will include the lab. This course covers scientific material quickly. Some sections have a computer based component.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the scientific method to solve a problem
  • Demonstrate the ability to use scientific equipment in a lab setting
  • Describe and/or identify the basic intermolecular forces associated with biological systems as used to build macromolecules and stabilize important structures
  • Give multiple examples of how organisms work to maintain homeostasis, including but not limited to
    • enzymes
    • osmoregulation
    • buffers
    • use of biomolecules
    • biochemical pathways
  • Explain the concepts surrounding the inheritance of genetic material and expression of genes
  • Identify and/or utilize concepts, ideas, and technology in current events that relate to course/lab work

  • Introduction to Biology (5% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the scientific process as well as the diversity of life on our planet
    • This topic will include a discussion of what is alive
  • Basic Chemistry (6% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with introductory ideas of chemistry from a biological perspective
    • material will include elements common to biology
      • electronegativity
      • bonds
      • pH
      • buffers
  • Organic Molecules (7% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the macromolecules associated with biology
      • We will cover their structure
      • how they are built and broken down
      • examples
      • their role in the body
      • any specific characteristics unique to the biological molecules
  • Enzymes and Energy (6% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the major concepts of thermodynamics and how these concepts apply to a biological system
    • This topic will also introduce enzymes and how they function in a living organism
  • Photosynthesis (6% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the process of photosynthesis; material will include
      • where it occurs
      • how it occurs
      • the stages
      • the reactants and products of the stages
      • how it is used
      • the different processes used in plants such as photorespiration
      • CAM
      • C4 plants
  • Cellular Respiration (7% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the process of cellular respiration; material will include:
      • where it occurs
      • which organisms use it
      • why it is used
      • the stages
      • the reactants and products of the stages
      • different molecules that can be broken down during cellular respiration
      • the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration
  • Cell Structure and Function (6% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the different types of cells
      • what they do
      • what structures are typically associated with the different cell types
      • what those structures do in each cell
  • Cell Transport (7% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the cell membranes and their properties
      • we will discuss types of transport and when each is used
      • a thorough discussion of osmosis and its importance in maintaining homeostasis will be included
      • we will end with a brief discussion of cell communication
  • Cell cycle and Cell division (6% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with the cell cycle including mitosis; material will include
      • cell division in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
      • the importance of regulation in the cell cycle
      • what happens when regulatory signals are ignored in a cell
      • the role of mitosis from reproduction to growth and development
      • what happens when division goes out of control
  • Meiosis & Sexual Reproduction (7% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with how gametes are produced; material will include
      • comparison of meiosis and mitosis
      • independent assortment and crossing over
      • genetic variation and sexual reproduction
      • oogenesis and spermatogenesis
      • basics of fertilization
      • alternation of generations
  • Mendelian Patterns of Inheritance (7% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with genetics; material will include
      • Gregor Mendel and his work in understanding genetics
      • basic mechanisms of inheritance
      • Punnett squares
  • Chromosomal Patterns of Inheritance (7% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with pedigrees
    • inheritance of genetic disorders
    • testing options available for detection of genetic disorders in developing offspring
  • DNA Structure and Function (7% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with DNA and its role in an organism; material will include
      • structure of DNA
      • replication of DNA
      • central dogma of biology
  • Gene to Proteins, gene regulation (6% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with how proteins are created from genes and some basic regulatory mechanisms of genes
  • Biotechnology and Genomics (5% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with current applications of biology from a technological standpoint; material will include:
    • DNA fingerprinting
    • creation of genetically modified organisms
    • gene therapy
    • future implications for health benefits
  • Introduction to Evolutionary Theory (5% of class time)
    • This topic will familiarize students with Charles Darwin and the evidence he collected that brought him to the mechanisms responsible for the biodiversity on our planet; material will include
      • Darwin and his voyage
      • individual influential to the development of Darwin’s hypothesis
      • evidence supporting evolutionary theory
  • Data Presentation and Analysis
    • In this lab students will apply the scientific method to answer a questions
    • analyze their data to draw conclusion
    • present it in the proper format
    • They will develop a scientific hypothesis and prediction
    • then choose an appropriate experimental design to test their prediction
    • They will then be required to determine the correct graph to use to display their data
    • Graphs will be collected and graded
  • Units of Measurement
    • In this lab students will become familiar with the metric system
    • They will be required to identify and use standard equipment to measure
      • length
      • volume
      • mass
    • and convert those measurements to different metric units and into English units of measurement
    • Equipment used includes
      • various sized beakers
      • flasks
      • graduated cylinders
      • various volumes if pipettes and pi-pumps
      • triple beam balance and electronic scale
  • Solution Chemistry
    • This lab will explore how to make and dilute solutions
    • taking pH readings
    • buffer capacity
    • Students will make a stock solution and dilute it
    • They will take and record pH values of various solutions and determine if they are acids or bases
    • They will use different “buffers” to determine which is the most effective at limiting pH change
    • they will explore the effectiveness of various over-the-counter antacids
    • They will use the findings to draw conclusions of the importance of buffers in living systems
  • The Cell
    • This lab will teach students how to use a microscope and allow them to discover the differences among different types of cell
    • The students will be taught the proper way to focus and care for the microscope
    • they will compare characteristics of prokaryotic cells and eukaryotic cells
    • they will also make several slides and use those slides to compare plant and animal cells
    • Students will learn to use a compound binocular focus microscope and will make slides of
      • onion epidermis stained with IKI
      • Elodea
      • cheek cells stained with methylene blue
  • Histology
    • This lab will help students to identify plant and animal tissues
    • Students will look at sample tissues from the major plant tissue groups
      • vascular
      • dermal
      • ground
      • meristematic
    • Students will look at sample tissues from the major animaltissue groups
      • epithelial
      • muscle
      • connective
      • nervous
    • Students will gain further practice using microscopes in this lab
  • Cell Transport
    • This lab will explore diffusion and osmosis; students will gain an understanding of tonicity
    • The students will carry out several exercises that demonstrate the properties of diffusion and osmosis
    • They will, as a group, determine the effect of a hypotonic and hypertonic environment on a raw egg with its shell removed
    • They will use different volume cubes to demonstrate how "cell size" affect the ability to interact with surroundings
    • They will place potato cores into hypotonic and hypertonic environments and draw conclusions about how the changes in the environment caused the changes in the cell structure and that resulted in the physical changes they observed in the potato core
    • Equipment used includes
      • beakers
      • dialysis tubing
      • electronic scales
      • pipettes
      • hot plates
      • droppers
  • Enzymes
    • This lab will explore how environmental conditions impact the function of enzymes
    • The students will use a spectrophotometer to determine the reaction rate of an enzyme and manipulate environmental conditions to see how that changes the rate of the reaction
    • Students will use an indicator (guaiacol) and a spec 20 to estimate the functioning of an enzyme (perixodase) in different environmental conditions
      • altered temperature
      • altered pH
      • altered enzyme concentration
    • Equipment used includes
      • cuvettes
      • test tubes
      • pipettes
      • droppers
      • hot plates
      • spectrophotometer
      • timer
  • Photosynthesis
    • This lab will explore the requirements for photosynthesis to occur and gain an understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum and which wavelengths of light are used during photosynthesis using a spectrophotometer
    • Students will use chromatography to identify various pigments present in a leaf
    • Students will use the extracted chlorophyll along with a spectrophotometer to determine the absorbance spectrum of chlorophyll
    • Equipment used includes
      • beakers
      • hot plates
      • droppers
      • pipettes
      • spectrophotometer
  • Cellular Respiration
    • This lab will explore the requirements of cellular respiration
    • The students will develop a hypothesis and prediction about different sweeteners and their metabolic activity and then test their predictions using yeast as a model
    • Lab will begin with a demonstration of explosive release of energy (via a gummy bear and phosphorous) and a discussion of the necessity of measured release of energy from glucose
    • Students will establish baseline respiration rates/pulse/carbon dioxide outputs and then measure how exercise impacts cellular respiration based on their baseline measurements
    • The students will draw conclusions about the validity of their hypotheses
    • Equipment used includes
      • beakers
      • indicators
      • timers
  • Mitosis
    • This lab will help students to identify plant and animal cells going through different stages of mitosis
    • Students will identify each stage of mitosis in both plant and animal cells
    • Equipment used includes
      • microscopes
      • slides
  • Genetics
    • This lab will help students to connect the concepts of meiosis to genetics
    • Using a model, students will explore the phenotype-genotype relationship and haploid-diploid relationship
    • They will produce gametes by modeling meiosis and then swap gametes to create model offspring
    • The importance of meiosis in genetic variation will also be explored
    • Students will use a model organism (Mr. Potato Head) to relate genotype to phenotype using popsicle sticks to represent chromosomes with genes on them
    • They will carry out meiosis and produce gametes to explore independent assortments role in the production of genetic variation
    • They will then exchange gametes with other lab groups (2) and determine the resulting genotype and phenotype of the 2 offspring produced
  • DNA Electrophoresis
    • This lab will explore DNA fingerprinting
    • The students will do a variety of activities from building DNA models using a given DNA sequence and beads
    • They will also replicate their strands of DNA
    • Students will extract their own DNA using
      • salt water
      • soap
      • ethanol
    • They will also carry out a gel electrophoresis and determine the paternity of a child by comparing the resulting banding pattern to mother and potential fathers
    • Equipment used includes
      • micropipettes
      • beakers
      • test tubes
      • electrophoresis trays
      • power sources
  • Anatomy
    • This lab will explore anatomy by requiring students to dissect a fetal pig and identify the major bones in a human skeleton
    • Students will be required to identify the major structures
      • organs
      • body regions
      • anatomical position
      • veins/arteries
    • They will also be required to correctly identify disarticulated human bones
    • Equipment used includes
      • scalpels
      • dissecting pins
      • probes
      • dissecting pans
  • Evolution
    • This lab will help the students gain an understanding of the evidence that supports evolutionary theory
    • Students will explore natural selection and learn how it has shaped current biodiversity
    • Students will use different colored backgrounds to represent different environments and then model predator choices of prey based on what they can easily see on the background
    • They will determine the impact that the backgrounds have on the phenotypes of the prey in the population


Biology for Majors OpenStax
LRNR Access Code
Lab Manual Custom Printing written by instructor

See bookstore website for current book(s) at

Final Exam
Lab Practical
Lab Assignments

Grading Scale:
A- 90%-100%
B- 80%-89%
C- 70%-79%
D- 60%-69%
F- 59% and below


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Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Testing & Academic Services Center at 217-443-8708 (TTY 217-443-8701) or stop by Cannon Hall Room 103. Please speak with your instructor privately to discuss your specific accommodation needs in this course.

Spring 2019

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