Week 1: Introduction to the Science of Biology
Imagine you are beginning your daily late afternoon jog on a wooded path near your home. As you begin your long strides, you breathe in the crisp air, feeling your leg muscles stretch and your heart pound. You look around and notice that leaves on the trees are beginning to change color. A squirrel scampers through the grass to your right. A startled deer on the left raises its head, staring briefly at you before turning to run with its white tail bobbing behind. This may be a daily routine, but it is an exhilarating experience. It feels great to be alive and experience nature.
You may not take much time to think about the life in your body or the life around you, but it is there, and it is amazingly complex. Biology is the science that studies life, and it would have a lot to say about the scene described above. This week, you begin to explore biology and the process of science. You learn what the scientific method is and how scientists use it to learn more about the nature of life. You also begin to learn about the building blocks of life.
Note that this course contains three different graded assessment items in addition to Discussions and Assignments. Each week, you complete a 10-question Self-Assessment Quiz and a 20-question Weekly Exam. In Week 6, you complete a 60-question Final Exam that covers content for the entire course.
The following schedule outlines your assignments and due dates for Week 1.
Due ByAssignmentDay 2Post your Discussion Spark response.Day 3Complete the Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab.Day 3Begin Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab.Day 4Post your Discussion Assignment.Day 5Complete Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab and begin Part 2.Day 5Complete the Self-Assessment Quiz.Day 7Post responses to at least two of your colleagues’ Discussion posts.Day 7Complete the Weekly Exam.Day 7Complete Part 2 of the Osmosis Lab. Then, complete the Osmosis Lab Report and submit it as the Assignment.
- Apply the scientific method to solve a problem or answer a question
- Distinguish science from non-science
- Explain the role of biochemistry in cell biology
- Demonstrate mastery of concepts related to the scientific method, cell types, structures, and functions
Belk, C., & Maier, V. B. (2019). Biology: Science for life (6th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc
Chapter 1: “Can Science Cure the Common Cold?”
This chapter explains the process of science and includes information regarding the scientific method, hypothesis testing, and the evaluation of scientific information.
Chapter 2: “Science Fiction, Bad Science, and Pseudoscience”
This chapter identifies the basic requirements of living organisms. The chapter also explains the structure and function of macromolecules and the structure and function of cells.
Chapter 3: “Is It Possible to Supplement Your Way to Better Performance and Health” Section 3.3 Transport across Membranes
This section of Chapter 3 explains how molecules pass in and out of the cell.
Rutherford, F. J., & Ahlgren, A. (1990). Chapter 1: The nature of science.Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap1.htm?txtRef=&txtURIOld=%2Ftools%2Fsfaaol%2Fchap1.htm
This chapter provides a basic description of scientific inquiry and identifies influences on this process, such as societal values and public opinion. The author emphasizes that science is a systematic process for gaining knowledge about patterns in all of nature and that science is not a process applied to gain knowledge in all areas, such as philosophy or the supernatural. (Science is technically an offshoot of philosophy, originally called Natural philosophy.)
Indiana University Evolution and the Nature of Sciences Institute. (n.d.). How can we tell science from non-science? Retrieved December 1, 2011, from http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/conptt.html
This resource defines six criteria to use to distinguish science from non-science: consistency, observability, natural, predictability, testability, and tentativeness. Readers are challenged to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific statements.
Document: Osmosis Lab Instructions (Word document)
This document contains instructions for the Osmosis Lab you complete for your Assignment this week. Note: The Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab may assist you in understanding the Osmosis Lab. You must also start this Osmosis (at-home) Lab by Day 3.
Document: Osmosis Lab Report (Word document)
You complete and submit this document for your Assignment this week. Note: Be sure to save this document to your computer, as you will be completing and submitting an electronic version of this document.
Lab Materials: You must obtain or purchase a few inexpensive items for the Osmosis Lab this week. Also, Part 1 of the lab takes 48 hours to complete, so start the lab no later than Day 3.
Osmosis Lab: Obtain the following materials before starting the lab. Note: This list is included in the Osmosis Lab Instructions document.
Salt or sugar
Piece of string (for measuring)
Pen or pencil
3 clear jars or glasses (large enough to contain 1 cup of water and an egg)
Aluminum foil (or other covering for glasses/jars)
Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Cell structure and function. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 20 minutes.
You complete this lab as part of your Assignment for this week. Note: You must complete this virtual lab by Day 3 of this week. This lab includes interactive activities that focus on cell structure and function and a knowledge check on this topic.
(Note: A brief knowledge check within the lab helps you to review the lab’s content and prepares you for the weekly exam. Do not confuse the questions within the lab with the Self- Assessment Quiz you must complete by Day 5.)
This virtual lab also contains the Osmosis Lab Instructions document that you will need to complete your at-home lab, which is also part of the Assignment for this week. You must start the Osmosis Lab by Day 3 of this week.
Document: Transcript (PDF)
Assignment: Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Imagine you are making plans to take care of your home as you prepare to leave for a long vacation. You realize there are two things in your home that require special attention: your pets and your houseplants. These need special attention because they are alive. Have you thought closely about what distinguishes a living organism from a non-living thing?
“Biochemistry is the study of the structure, composition, and chemical reactions of substances in living systems” (American Chemical Society, 2012). This week, you begin to explore biochemistry as you learn about the fundamental unit of all living things—the cell. You discover what all cells require for life, learn about the cell’s structure and how it functions, and pay special attention to a critical cell component, the cell membrane.
For this Assignment, you complete the Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab and complete a hands-on lab about cell function, the Osmosis Lab. You also complete and submit a lab report based on the Osmosis Lab.
Reference: American Chemical Society. (2012). Careers in Chemistry: Biochemistry. Retrieved January 17, 2012, from http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=1188&content_id=CTP_003379&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=046229e5-a4d2-4fb3-b0ef-52004408a6fd.
To prepare for this week’s Assignment:
- Review Chapter 2, “Science Fiction, Bad Science, and Pseudoscience” to learn about the cell and the basic requirements of all living things.
- Review Chapter 3: “Is It Possible to Supplement Your Way to Better Performance and Health” Section 3.3 Transport across Membranes (pp. 61-64) to learn about cell membrane structure and how molecules pass in and out of the cell.
The following schedule outlines your assignments for this week’s Assignment.
Due ByAssignmentDay 1Download the Osmosis Lab Instructions and begin gathering the required materialsDay 3Complete the Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab.Day 3Begin Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab.Day 5Complete Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab and begin Part 2.Day 7Complete Part 2 of the Osmosis Lab. Then, complete the Osmosis Lab Report and submit it as the Assignment.
By Day 3
- Complete the Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab. See the Required Resources section for the link to this activity. (Note: A brief knowledge check within the lab helps you to review the lab’s content and prepares you for this week’s graded Self-Assessment Quiz and Weekly Exam.)
- Start Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab. This is a lab you complete at home.
- Osmosis Lab Instructions—The Cell Structure and Function Virtual Lab will help you understand the Osmosis Lab.
- Osmosis Lab Report—You may complete this lab report by hand as you complete the Osmosis Lab; however, by Day 7, you submit an electronic version of this document for your Assignment.
NOTE: You must obtain or purchase a few inexpensive items for this lab. See the list of lab materials under the Required Resources section. Also, Part 1 of the lab takes 48 hours to complete, so start the lab no later than Day 3.
By Day 5
- Complete Part 1 of the Osmosis Lab and begin Part 2.
By Day 7
- Complete Part 2 of the Osmosis Lab.
- Submit your completed Osmosis Lab Report as your Assignment.
Questions about this assignment? Post the questions in the Contact the Instructor area, so all class members may benefit from the Instructor’s response.
Refer to the Week 1 Assignment Rubric for grading details.
Following the instructions below, submit your Assignment. In order to receive full credit, all assignments are due on time. Should you encounter an unanticipated and uncontrollable life event that may prevent you from meeting an assignment deadline, contact the Instructor immediately to request an extension. Contact information for your Instructor can be found under the Contact the Instructor area. For a full description of the late policy, please refer to the “Policies on Late Assignments” section of your Syllabus.
Submission and Grading Information
To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:
- Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
- Click the Week 1 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
- Click the Week 1 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
- Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
- If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
- Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
To access your rubric:
Week 1 Assignment Rubric
Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity
To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:
Submit your Week 1 Assignment draft and review the originality report.
Submit Your Assignment by Day 7
To submit your Assignment:
Week 1 Assignment
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