Biology for Non-Science Majors I

BIOL 1408

Updated July 05, 2012

  • State Approval Code: 2601015103
  • Semester Credit Hours: 4
  • Lecture Hours per Week: 3
  • Lab Hours per Week: 3
  • Contact Hours per Semester: 96

Catalog Description

A presentation of selected topics in biological sciences including the cell concept,the study of basic chemistry as it relates to biology, an introduction to genetics, cellular processes, and plant and animal reproduction. Recommended for non-science majors (Lab fee) (2601015103) Lecture hours = 3, Lab hours = 1

Course Curriculum

Basic Intellectual Compentencies in the Core Curriculum

  • Critical thinking

Perspectives in the Core Curriculum

  • Recognize the importance of maintaining health and wellness.
  • Develop a capacity to use knowledge of how technology and science affect their lives.
  • Use logical reasoning in problem solving.
  • Integrate knowledge and understand the interrelationships of the scholarly disciplines.

Core Components and Related Exemplary Educational Objectives


  • To recognize the limitations of mathematical and statistical models.

Natural Sciences

  • To understand and apply method and appropriate technology to the study of natural sciences.
  • To recognize scientific and quantitative methods and the differences between these approaches and other methods of inquiry and to communicate findings, analyses, and interpretation both orally and in writing.
  • To identify and recognize the differences among competing scientific theories.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the major issues and problems facing modern science, including issues that touch upon ethics, values, and public policies.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of the interdependence of science and technology and their influence on, and contribution to, modern culture.

Instructional Goals and Purposes

Panola College's instructional goals include 1) creating an academic atmosphere in which students may develop their intellects and skills and 2) providing courses so students may receive a certificate/an associate degree or transfer to a senior institution that offers baccalaureate degrees.

General Course Objectives

1. To help students become better informed citizens by providing opportunities to learn the differences between science as a way of knowing and other disciplines such as art, philosophy and religion
2. To provide students an opportunity to understand and appreciate the complexity and relationships of living systems.
3. To help students understand cellular and organismal processes including energy proceses, genetics and metabolism and to recognize the connection of those process to themselves and to the living world around them.
4. To make students aware of changing technology in science and the responsibilities and ethical decisions that come with the use of various technologies.

Specific Course Objectives

Unit I: An Overview of Life and Science, Chemistry and Diversity
A View of Life
1. identify characteristics that are shared by living organisms
2. describe the process of natural selection as proposed by Darwin
3. identify levels of biological organization
4. identify the importance of photosynthesis
5. define taxonomy; identify the organizational levels of the taxonomic system
6. compare hypothesis and theory; identify the importance of the scientific method
7. compare inductive and deductive reasoning; identify the significance of utilizing a control
The Chemical Basis of Life
1. define matter; identify the most common elements that comprise living organisms
2. identify characteristics of the most stable subatomic particles
3. differentiate between atomic number and mass number
4. define and give examples of isotopes and their uses
5. identify the importance of electrons that are located in the outermost shell
6. interpret chemical formulas and equations
7. compare and contrast the following major bonds: covalent, polar covalent, ionic bonding and hydrogen
8. identify the properties of water and their importance to living systems
9. define acids, bases and buffers; correctly interpret the pH scale
The Organic Molecules of Life
1. compare inorganic and organic molecules
2. compare monomer and polymer; identify the basic monomers that are used to construct macromolecules
3. differentiate between condensation and hydrolysis reactions
4. identify the importance of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids; identify the major building blocks associated with these molecules and give examples
5. identify the importance of enzymes to chemical reactions
6. identify and contrast the four levels of protein structure
7. compare DNA and RNA; identify the importance of ATP
Unit II: The Cell: Cell Components and Basic Energy Concepts
Inside the Cell
1. define cell and state the cell theory
2. explain why a large surface-to-volume ratio is needed for the proper functioning of cells.
3. compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; give examples representing each group
4. describe the general structure and function of the plasma membrane
5. list six types of proteins found in the plasma membrane and briefly describe their funcitons
6. identify the internal structures of eukaryotic cells and describe the functions of each
7. differentiate between animal cells and plant cells
8. briefly describe extracellular features associated with plant and animal cells
The Dynamic Cell
1. define energy
2. contrast postential and kinetic energy
3. recognize the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics
4. explain how the Second Law of Thermodynamics is related to entropy
5. describe the structure of ATP and its significance in cellular energy
6. define coupled reactions
7. define metabolic pathway and describe the significance of these pathways in the metabolism of a cell
8. describe the characteristics of enzymes and the factors that affect enzyme activity
9. identify some methods of enzyme inhibition
10. compare and contrast simple diffusion with facilitated diffusion
11. describe the relationship between a solute, a solvent, and a solution
12. compare and contrast endocytosis and exocytosis
13. compare and contrast passive transport, active transport, bulk transport
Unit III. Energy
Energy for Life
1. define photosynthesis and describe its significance to living systems
2. list three major groups of photosynthetic organisms
3. identify the structure and function of chloroplasts and their relationship to photosynthesis
4. name the molecules necessary for photosynthesis to begin
5. name the most significant end product of photosysnthesis
6. list the two sets of reactions that are carried out during photosynthesis and recognize the significance of each set
7. differentiate between the functions of the chlorophylls and the carotenoids pigments
8. identify the products of the light reaction that are used in the light-independent reaction (Calvin Cycle Reaction)
9. explain the importance of the splitting of water (photolysis) in photosynthesis
10. identify the 3 major events in the Calvin Cycle
11. list the products that a plant cell can make from G3P (glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate)
12. name some plants that use a method of photosynthesis other than C3
Energy for Cells
1. define cellular respiration and recognize the generalized chemical formula for cellular respiration in its aerobic form
2. list the 4 phases of complete glucose breakdown and state where each occurs in the cell
3. identify the beginning and “end” products of each of the 4 phases of aerobic respiration
4. what is the significance of oxygen in aerobic respiration
5. contrast the energy-investment steps of glycolysis with the energy-harvesting steps
6. contrast the fate of pyruvate when oxygen is available with the fate of pyruvate when oxygen is not available
7. compare the ATP production in each of the 4 phases
8. identify alternative metabolic pathways
9. compare and contrast aerobic and anaerobic respiration in terms of complexity and energy production
Unit IV Reproduction
Cellular Reproduction
1. define cellular reproduction and describe its uses
2. describe the two major parts of cellular reproduction
3. state the Cell Theory
4. describe the importance of chromosomes to cellular reproduction
5. contrast the appearance of chromatin with a chromosome that is ready to undergo cellular reproduction
6. compare and contrast chromosome, homologues, chromatids
7. briefly describe the parts of the cell cycle and the major events in each part
8. contrast cytokinesis in animal cells and plant cells
9. identify some of the checkpoints and some of the signals in the cell cycle control system
10. define apoptosis
11. describe how cancer relates to the cell cycle
12. list the characteristic features of cancer cells
13. contrast the modes of action of various cancer treatments
14. list the major protective strategies you can employ to reduce your risk of cancer
Sexual Reproduction
1. explain why homologous chromosomes occur in pairs
2. compare and contrast mitosis and meiosis in terms of steps and their contributions to the human life cycle.
3. describe the chromosome number of the next generation if meiosis did not occur
4. describe the major differences between meiosis I and meiosis II
5. describe two ways in which meiosis results in gametes that are genetically different
6. describe how a zygote could receive an abnormal chromosome number
7. contrast monosomy with trisomy
Unit V Genetics
Patterns of Inheritance
1. state Mendel's laws of inheritance
2. define allele; compare homozygous and heterozygous alleles
3. contrast genotype and phenotype
4. predict the probabilities of results from a monohybrid cross and a results from a dihybrid cross
5. explain the significance of a testcross
6. define intermediate dominance
7. explain the difference between incomplete dominance and codominance
8. recognize a description of and some examples of polygenic inheritance
9. state some examples of environmental influences on phenotype
10. define pleiotropy and state some examples of this condition
11. define sex-linked inheritance and give some examples
12. explain the significance of the X chromosome in sex-linked inheritance
13. explain the importance of gene linkage
14. explain the significance of crossing over in meiosis
15. define and give examples of monosomy, trisomy, nondisjunction and polyploidy
DNA Biology and Technology
1. compare and contrast the structure and functions of DNA and RNA
2. state Chargaff’s Rules
3. explain the significance of DNA replication
4. list the major steps and end product of DNA replication
5. describe the respective roles of mRNA, tRNA, rRNA in protein sysnthesis
6. describe the products and functions of replication, transcription and translation
7. explain how a protein’s function is determined by amino acid sequence
8. represent a replication, transcription and/or translation sequence (when given a codon chart)
9. recognize different mechanisms of genetic mutation and provide some examples of phenotypic results from each
10. define genetic engineering , transgenic organism, recombinant DNA, restriction enzymes, DNA ligase
11. explain the significance of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), give a brief description of the process and some examples of the use of PCR
12. give some examples of transgenic organisms and the benefits of having such organisms
Gene Regulation and Cancer
1. compare and contrast reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning and give examples of uses for each
2. briefly compare and contrast the control of genetic expression in prokaryotes with that of eukaryotes
3. define heterochromatin, euchromatin
4. explain how mRNA processing can influence the types of gene products made by a cell
5. recognize the functions of transcription factors, transcription activators and enhancers
6. compare contrast proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes
7. briefly describe how proto-oncogenes become oncogenes
8. give some examples of substances or situations that can cause tumor suppressor genes to mutate or become inactive
9. recognize descriptions of the genetic changes often associated with cancer cells
10. give examples of hereditary forms of cancer
Unit VI: Evolution
Darwin and Evolution
1. describe the pre-Darwinian view of the world
2. describe Cuvier’s contribution to evolutionary theory
3. describe Lamarck’s idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics
4. explain why Lyell thought the Earth was very old.
5. explain why Darwin’s observations about Galapagos finches were significant to him
6. outline Darwin’s theory of natural selection
7. describe the main difference between artificial selection and natural selection
8. explain why evolution is no longer considered a hypothesis
9. explain how biogeographical information about Galapagos finches supports the theory of evolution
10. explain how vestigial structures support the theory of evolution
11. contrast homologous structures with analogous structures
Evolution on a Small Scale
1. explain briefly how microevolution occurs when allele frequencies change from one generation to the next
2. briefly explain the significance of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium
3. recognize the 5 conditions which must be met for the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium to be maintained
4. explain the significance of mutations in terms of evolution
5. explain how gene flow alters allele frequencies
6. explain why assortative mating is a type of nonrandom mating
7. explain why genetic drift is more likely to happen in a small population
8. describe the evolutionary consequences of natural selection
9. contrast directional selection, stabilizing selection, disruptive selection
Evolution on a Large Scale
1. explain the major differences between microevolution and macroevolution
2. define species, common ancestor
3. describe the limitations of the biological species concept
4. briefly compare and contrast prezygotic isolating mechanisms and postzygotic isolationg mechanisms
5. recognize types of prezygotic and postzygotic isolating mechanisms
6. briefly compare and contrast allopatric speciation, sympatric speciation, adaptive radiation
7. list the categories of classification, in order, from the largest category to the smallest
8. explain the purpose of a phylogenetic tree
9. describe how cladists classify organisms
10. explain how cladists employ the principle of parsimony
11. contrast tradionalists with cladists
The laboratory activities in BIOL 1408 are intended to provide students an opportunity to survey basic concepts of biology and selected representatives of the 6 kingdoms of life through lecture, reading, and hands-on activities. Students will:
Exercise #1 – Scientific Method
1. Outline the steps of the scientific method
2. Distinguish among observations, hypotheses, conclusions, and theories
3. Using “pillbug” observations, formulate a hypothesis.
4. Design an experiment to test said hypothesis
5. Reach a conclusion based on “pillbug” observations and experimentation
Exercise #2 – Metric Measurement and Microscopy
1. State and use metric units of measurement for length, weight, and volume
2. Convert between metric units using metric prefixes
3. Note differences between optical and non-optical microscopes
4. Name and give the functions of the basic parts of the compound light microscope
5. List and properly apply the steps used for bringing an object into focus with the compound microscope
6. Using prepared slides of the letter e and colored threads, note image inversion and depth of field
7. Using ocular and objective magnification, calculate the total magnification of a given lens combination
8. Prepare a wet mount slide
9. Use the binocular-dissecting microscope and the compound light microscope to observe and differentiate between sample cells
Exercise #3 – Cell Structure and Function
1. State the cell theory
2. Differentiate between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells using description and/or examples
3. Identify and state the function of animal cell parts
4. identify and state the function of plant cell parts
5. Define and describe the process of diffusion
6. Define isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic solutions and give examples in terms of NaCl concentration
7. Predict and note the effects of these solutions on red blood (animal) cells and on Elodea (plant) cells
8. Using experimentation, note the importance of buffer solutions
Exercise #4 – Enzymes
1. Discuss the function of an enzyme, and explain the role of the active site in enzyme specificity and activity
2. Differentiate between substrate, enzyme, and product
3. Note the effect of temperature on enzyme activity
4. Note the effect of concentration on enzyme activity
5. Note the effect of pH on enzyme activity
Exercise #5 – Cellular Respiration
1. Differentiate between fermentation and cellular respiration
2. Identify the overall equation for fermentation and/or cellular respiration
3. Connect, both, fermentation and cellular respiration to the production of ATP
4. Note the role of oxygen in, both, fermentation and cellular respiration
Exercise #6 – Photosynthesis
1. Observe the separation of plant pigments by paper chromatography
2. Note that white light is composed of many colors of light
3. Note the color, spectrum, affinity of photosynthesis
4. Note the role of Carbon Dioxide in photosynthesis
5. Describe the relationship between cellular respiration and photosynthesis
Exercise #7 – Mitosis and Meiosis
1. Identify the four stages of the cell cycle
2. Using models, slides, and hand signals, name and describe the phases of mitosis (cell cycle – M)
3. Note the movement of chromosomes during the phases of mitosis (cell cycle – M)
4. Describe, compare, and contrast animal and plant cell mitosis
5. Using models and slides, name and describe phases of meiosis I and II
6. Compare and contrast mitosis and meiosis
Exercise #8 – Patterns of Inheritance
1. Differentiate between genotype and phenotype
2. Describe and predict the results of a monohybrid cross
3. Using classroom and genological data, determine genotypes
4. Describe and predict the results of a dihybrid cross
5. Using Punnett squares, solve simple genetic problems
6. Note the effect and presence of X-linked crosses
7. Solve genetic problems involving X-linked recessive alleles
8. Describe and predict the results of an X-linked cross
Exercise #12 – Microbiology
1. Relate the structure of a bacterium to its ability to cause disease
2. Observe and describe different bacterial cell shapes
3. Observe the Gram staining protocol
4. Differentiate algae by color/organization
5. Observe varied protozoan locomotion
6. Note the multi-nucleic nature of plasmodial slime mold
7. Compare contrast the structure/nature of Bacteria, Protists, and Fungi
8. Survey samples of Bacteria, Protists, and Fungi
Exercise #13 – Seedless Plants and Seed Plants
1. List the four main events in the evolution of plants and note their relation to the major plant groups
2. Describe the plant life cycle
3. Contrast the adaptations of the moss and fern to a land environment
4. Contrast the adaptations of the pine tree and the flowering plant to a land environment
5. Survey samples of seedless and seed plants.
Exercise #14 – Plant Anatomy and Growth
1. Distinguish between the root system and the shoot system of a plant
2. Identify the, basic, external anatomical features of a flowering plant
3. Note the functions of a leaf, a steam, and a root
4. Compare and contrast monocots and eudicots
5. Name the zones of a eudicot root tip
6. Explain the continuous water column in xylem
7. Compare/contrast the tissues/organization of herbaceous eudicot, herbaceous monocot, and a woody stem
8. Distinguish between primary and secondary growth of a stem
9. Explain the occurrence of annual rings, and determine the age of a tree from a trunk cross section
10. Compare/contrast a monocot and a eudicot leaf
Exercise #15 – Animal Diversity
1. List the anatomical features that serve as a basis for the classification of animals
2. Note the hierarchal organization of the above features
3. Explain how clams and squids are adapted to their way of life
4. Compare/contrast the external anatomy of the crayfish and the grasshopper, indicating how each is adapted to its way of life
5. Compare/contrast complete and incomplete metamorphosis
6. Relate sample organisms to their appropriate vertebrate class
7. Compare/contrast crayfish anatomy with a sample of vertebrate anatomy

General Description of Each Lecture or Discussion

Course content will be taken from the adopted text and lab manual, scientific journals, current popular periodicals, appropriate online sources and pertinent reference literature.

Methods of Instruction/Course Format/Delivery

Instruction for this course will include formal instructor lectures, question/answer sessions, small group discussions, videos and interactive software.


Lecture assessment may include face-to-face and online testing including multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer and short essay questions as well as short reports. Lab assessment may include observations of student work, written and/or oral quizzes, graded exercises and/or reports.

40% from average of Unit Exams (5 or 6 exams)
20% from the Final Exam (comprehensive over all but the last unit)
20% from the Laboratory Average (50% from quizzes, 50% from written or observed activities)

Service Learning: (This requirement may be waived for short summer sessions.) Students are expected to complete a course-related service learning project which they select and have approved by the instructor. Points will be awarded based on the nature of the project, quality of the effort, the number of hours required by the project and the appropriate completion of the required documentation and reflection paper. Points will be added to a low unit test score. Failure to complete the service learning project will result in 10 points being deducted from a unit test score.

Text, Required Readings, Materials, and Supplies

Text: Biology:A Guide to the Natural World 5th ed ; David Krogh; 2011; Pearson Benjamin Cummings
Lab:   Explorations in Basic Biology 12th ed; Stanley Gunstream; 2012; Pearson Benjamin Cummings
Required supplements:  Access Code to Mastering Biology with Virtual Labs; Pearson
                                  Benjamin Cummings
                                  Get Ready for Biology; 2007; Pearson Benjamin Cummings
                                  Into the Jungle; Sean B. Carroll; 2009; Pearson Benjamin


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