Biology 100 Lecture Syllabus
Great Experiments in Biology 2 Summer Session 2008
Time and Place: Monday and Wednesday: Sections H03, 5:30-8:40PM (2nd Session); Hurst 2
Instructors: Jorge A. Santiago-Blay, Ph.D. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: After class or by appointment
Web Pages: http://paleobiology.si.edu/staff/individuals/santiagoblay.html
Siobhan Shampine will be teaching the laboratory section. E-mail:
email@example.com. Office hours by appointment.
Class Website and Blackboard, one Blackboard site for the lecture and one Blackboard site for the
Communication: laboratory. It is your responsibility to check both sites regularly.
Lecture Book: Cain, M. L., H. Damman, R. A. Lue, and C. K. Yoon. 2007. Discover Biology (Core
Topics). W. W. Norton & Company. New York, NY. USA. 483 pp. (ISBN-13:978-0-
393-92868-6). Unfortunately, the bookstore is selling the thick (= more expensive)
version of this book.
Laboratory Book: Zeller, N. K. 2008. A laboratory manual to accompany Great Experiments in Biology.
BIO 100, 2007-2008. American University. Department of Biology. Washington, DC.
USA. 83 pp. Must be bought online at http://www.universityreaders.com/students. The
laboratories will be handed in to you the day before each lab. As far as I understand, you
will not have to purchase the lab manual.
Great Experiments is a foundation course in Curricular Area 5; the Natural Sciences in the University’s
General Education Program. Completion of this foundation course will serve as a prerequisite for a second level
course in Area 5. General Education courses within the foundation level of Curricular Area 5 are designed to
introduce students to the basic concepts used in the Natural Sciences. In the Great Experiments lectures, we will
discuss many of the fundamental principles and topics used routinely by biologists, such as the scientific method,
the structural components of cells and how they work, genetics, disease and the immune system, evolution,
ecology, and conservation biology. In the laboratory, you will perform hands-on experiments that are closely
related to the lecture material. At the end of the semester, you will have some appreciation for the biological
sciences and have a good basis for understanding scientific findings presented in the media.
Course satisfying the General Education requirements in Curricular Area 5 (Natural Sciences) will help
1. Understand how science works through explicit examination of scientific concepts, methods, and the
underlying principles that govern scientific practice;
2. Examine the scientific paradigms that shape scientific inquiry, with attention to their historical
development and change.
3. Experience hands-on scientific experimentation, through laboratory exercises.
4. Practice problem-solving using quantitative methods, statistical analyses, and computer data
manipulations where appropriate.
5. See relationships between scientific thinking and similar analytical models in other fields.
6. Understand how the sciences replicate, control variables, explain error, and build explanatory models
through successive experimentation.
7. Better understand the science behind current events.
8. Develop a respect for the finite resources of our planet, responsible use of technology, the limits of
humane research, and the fragile wonders of the natural world.
This course is a prerequisite for the following Second Level Curricular Area 5 courses: ANTH-250G Human
Origins, BIO-200G Structure & Function of the Human Body, BIO-220G The Case for Evolution, BIO-240G
Oceanography, BIO-250G Living in the Environment, CHEM-200G Human Biochemistry and Health, CHEM-
220G Environmental Resources and Energy, and HFIT-205G Current Concepts in Nutrition.
It is important to attend all lectures. Students are responsible for all materials covered in lecture and those
assigned by the instructor. At times, material may appear in class that is not covered in the book and may appear
on exams. Worksheets will be handed out on days when we will be watching a movie. On days that worksheets
are handed out, you must complete the worksheet and turn it in before leaving class. Class notes are an outline of
what is discussed in class. Do not substitute the notes for coming to class. Students who choose not to attend
lecture typically do not earn a grade of C or lower.
In the laboratory, arriving late may result in your missing a quiz. So be on time! Note that if you miss three
laboratories, you will automatically fail the entire course. If you cannot avoid missing a laboratory period,
please see your laboratory Teaching Assistant (TA) at least a week in advance of the scheduled laboratory period.
You will not get credit for a laboratory report if you do not attend the corresponding laboratory. For each
laboratory, there may be a quiz at the beginning of the laboratory period that will cover the assigned readings for
that day. Laboratory reports are due within the first 10 minutes of class at the beginning of the next laboratory
period and must be handed to the TA when you arrive in laboratory. Laboratory reports must be word-processed
or typed. Additional information on regulations and assignments will be provided during the first week of the
laboratory. Laboratories are conducted by teaching assistants (TAs) and overseen by Dr. Zeller. For issues
relating to laboratory, first ask your TA and if your TA is unable to resolve the issue then contact Dr. Zeller
(firstname.lastname@example.org, x2191, Hurst 106C).
• No late assignments will be accepted. Any assignment handed in after the due date will not be
graded and will receive a grade of zero.
• Examinations will be given during the first hour of the lecture period. Students arriving late to an
exam will not be given extra time to finish the exam. Make-up exams will be given only under limited
circumstances as outlined by University rules (e.g. illness, religious observance, etc.;
http://www.american.edu/handbook/policies_guidelines.htm). In any case, a written statement from a
physician, clergy, or University official is required. A note from the Health Office indicating that you
were there at a given time is not enough—it must be accompanied by a note from the attending physician
or nurse. If you know in advance that you cannot be present for an exam or turning in of assignments,
please contact me before that date so that other arrangements can be made. Make up tests will only be
given with a note from a physician, clergy, or university official and must be taken within one week of
the missed exam. If a conflict is anticipated, arrange with the instructor to take the exam at least a week
before the scheduled day.
• I will return your exams within one week from the date the exam was taken. You have one week
from receiving the graded exam to see me about questions regarding the grade. Requests for re-grading of
exams (for reasons other than math errors) must be submitted in writing, identifying specific reasons for
the request. In such cases, the whole exam will be graded not just specific questions. After that, the grades
• No extra credit assignments will be given.
• Late assignments, due either in laboratory or in lecture, will not be accepted.
• Laboratory attendance is mandatory. If you miss more than three lab classes you will automatically
receive an F for the course.
Lecture (total 60% of final grade)
Quizzes (12% each) x 6 (eliminate worst score) 60%
Laboratory (total 40% of final grade)
Lab. reports (4% each) x 3 12%
Worksheets (2% each) x 5 10%
Quizzes (1% each) x 9 8% (drop lowest grade)
Terrarium Presentation 5%
A 93% - 100% B+ 87% - 89.9% C+ 77% - 79.9% D 60% - 69.9%
A- 90% - 92.9% B 83% - 86.9% C 70% - 76.9%
B- 80% - 82.9% F < 60%
Note: If you take this course pass/fail, you must earn a final grade of C (70% - 76.9%) to pass the
class. If you take the course A-F, you need a D to get credit for the class.
If you experience difficulty in this course for any reason, please don’t hesitate to consult with me. In addition
to the resources of the department, a wide range of services is available to support you in your efforts to meet the
Academic Support Center (x3360, MGC 243) offers study skills workshops, individual instruction, tutor referrals,
and services for students with learning disabilities. Writing support is available in the ASC Writing Lab or in
the Writing Center, Gray Hall 206.
Counseling Center (x3500, MGC 214) offers counseling and consultations regarding personal concerns, self-help
information, and connections to off-campus mental health resources.
Disability Support Services (x3315, MGC 206) offers technical and practical support and assistance with
accommodations for students with physical or psychological disabilities.
If you have a disability and might require accommodations in this course, please notify me with a letter from
ASC or from DSS within a week of the beginning of the term so that we can make arrangements to address your
needs promptly and carefully.
Statement of Academic Integrity:
Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the University's Academic Integrity Code. By registering, you
have acknowledged your awareness of the Academic Integrity Code, and you are obliged to become familiar with
your rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code. Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be
treated lightly, and disciplinary actions will be taken should such violations occur. For more information, see:
Exams and worksheets will be done individually, without communicating with anyone. Be aware that
worksheets are not taken lightly and the same rules for academic integrity apply to them. For example, if you
miss part of the video that goes with a worksheet, do not try to get the information from your classmate. This is
considered academic dishonesty and both you and your classmate can be brought up on integrity charges.
Dates for Topic Assigned Reading
June 30 Introduction, Scientific Method Chapter 1
Organizing the diversity of life Chapter 2
Chemical building blocks Chapter 4
July 2 Quiz # 1
Cell structure and compartments Chapter 5
Cell membranes, transport, and communication Chapter 6
Cell respiration and photosynthesis Chapter 8
July 7 Cell division and cancer Chapter 9, Interlude B
Immune system, HIV Chapter 28
July 9 Quiz # 2
Patterns of inheritance, pop genetics Chapter 10
Chromosomes and human genetics Chapter 11
DNA Chapter 12
July 14 Genes to proteins Chapter 13
Video and Worksheet
July 16 Quiz # 3
DNA technology Chapter 15, Interlude C
Evolution Chapters 16 and 17
July 21 Evolution: Adaptations and speciation Chapter 18, Interlude D
Video and worksheet
Organizing Life Chapter 3, Interlude A
July 28 Quiz # 4
Ecology: Biosphere Chapter 20 (33 in thick book)
July 30 Population ecology / Growth of populations Chapter 21 (34 in thick book)
Video and worksheet
Interactions among organisms Chapter 22 (35 in thick book)
August 4 Quiz # 5
Ecology / Ecosystems Chapters 23 & 24 (36 & 37 in thick book)
August 6 Global warming Chapter 25 (38 in thick book)
Video and worksheet
Quiz # 6 (take home), due date, send via email, August 8, 2008