BIO 171 -
General Biology 2
Molecules and Cells
NOTE - Course has undergone MAJOR REVISIONS starting Spring 2013!!!!
Professor M. McDarby
Office: C-231-N (and C- 239)
Office (or Lab) Hours:
Monday / Wednesday / Friday, 9 AM - 10 AM;
office extension 8970 (preferred), lab extension 8864.
Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10:00 - 11:00, C- 121.
Tuesday, 2-5 PM;
Link: How to Succeed in the Course
About the Course...
BIO 171, is the second-semester introductory course for students preparing for
academic majors in the sciences or other technical fields. In most universities
and many colleges, a large proportion of students taking this course would
consider themselves pre-med. The course will cover basic foundation aspects of
the biological sciences, concentrating on those most relevant to today’s
scientists and technicians. The basic subject matter will resemble that of many
high school biology courses, but the depth and slant will probably be different.
Basic facts and terminology will be important, but the most successful students
will be able to apply scientific reasoning, critical thinking, and analysis of
The broad basics of the first semester will be
focused on molecular and cellular processes.
Assignments for credit toward a final mark
include lecture exams, lab tests, and written abstracts of print articles and
major science websites. Here is the
FMCC Catalog Description.
This course fulfills the
SUNY Education Guidelines for Natural Sciences.
Biology - Molecules
April 15th, May 10th.
This is a somewhat intensive introduction to the science of biology, laying a foundation necessary for later courses in this and related sciences. This will focus on foundation knowledge, such as scientific method as it applies to biology, basic biochemistry, and basic life processes at the cell level. This course should give you the foundation knowledge to go on to more specific biological coursework, including human-oriented courses, and the academic preparation to deal with the requirements of most upper-level courses as well.
* Given if, at semester’s end, all due work has been handed in.
Notice that the course grades add up to 1000 total Points, so each 10 Points gained (or lost) is the equivalent of 1% of your final grade, which will be figured this way:
"D" is considered passing, but often only
"C" or higher are accepted as transfer credits!
Attendance & Make-Up Policies:
Lectures are not marked for attendance per se, but exams derive much more from the lectures than the textbook, so it is extremely difficult to do well if you miss many classes. Laboratory classes all have associated marked reports, so missing them will lead to lost points. Make-ups are usually possible if set up immediately - several labs use perishable materials and may not be available if you wait too long. All marked assignments and exams are scheduled in advance and those dates are on these sheets - hang on to them and/or mark your personal calendar. Exam conflicts (including lab quizzes) may be easily resolved as long as they are brought up prior to the exams - call or see or at the very least get a message (with a return phone number) to Mr. McDarby as soon as you know that you may miss a date! Resolutions are much easier if dealt with before due dates, even if only by an hour. If you leave the matter until after the exam, only medical and other emergencies with documentation will allow you to make up an exam. Make-ups must be arranged before exams are passed back, which is usually within a week of the exam.
Due materials (lab reports, proposals, papers) may be handed in past the due date, but will lose 5% per FMCC day, down to 25% for a complete and appropriately done but really late assignment. NO MATERIALS WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER NOON, MAY 7th.
Spring 2013 Schedule
Fri Jan 25 - Chapter 1-1, Atoms & Molecules
Mon Jan 28 - Chapter 1-2, Bonds
LAB JAN 29 - Introduction & Metacognition. (1)
Wed Jan 30 - Chapter 1-3, Water Properties
Fri Feb 1 - Chapter 1-4, Intro to Organic Chemistry
Mon Feb 4 - Chapter 1-5, Major Organic Molecules
LAB FEB 5 - Using Electronic Resources. (2)
Wed Feb 6 -
Fri Feb 8 -
Mon Feb 11 - Chapter 1-6, Dynamic Processes
FEB 12 -
Wed Feb 13 -
Fri Feb 15 - FIRST EXAM.
Mon Feb 18 - NO CLASSES
LAB Feb 19 - Metrics. (4)
Wed Feb 20 - Chapter 1-7, Energy Systems
Fri Feb 22 -
Mon Feb 25 -
Wed Feb 27 - Chapter 2-1, Life Processes
Fri Mar 1 - Chapter 2-2, Taxonomy
Mon Mar 4 -
LAB Mar 5 -
Wed Mar 6 - Chapter 2-3, Research Methods
Fri Mar 8 -
Mon Mar 11 - Chapter 2-4, Evolution
LAB Mar 12 -
Wed Mar 13 - SECOND EXAM
Fri Mar 15 - Chapter 3-1, Microscopes
Mon Mar 18 -
LAB Mar 19 - Epidemiology. (8)*Calculator Needed!*
Wed Mar 20 - Chapter 3-2, Cell Basics
Fri Mar 22, Mon - Tue - Wed - Fri Mar
25, 26, 27, 29 -
Mon Apr 1 - Chapter 3-3, Cell Structures
LAB Apr 2 - Microscope Introduction. (9)
Fri Apr 5 -
Mon Apr 8 - Chapter 3-4, Cell Functions
LAB Apr 9 -
Fri Apr 12 - Chapter 3-5, Cell Interactions
Mon Apr 15 - THIRD EXAM.
LAB Apr 16 - Histology. (11)
Wed Apr 17 - Chapter 4-1, Inheritance
Fri Apr 19 - Chapter 4-2, Protein Production
Mon Apr 22 -
LAB Apr 23 -
Wed Apr 24 - Chapter 4-3, Life Origins
Fri Apr 26 -
Mon Apr 29 -
LAB Apr 30 -
Wed May 1 - Chapter 5-1, Careers
Fri May 3 - Chapter 5-2, Protein Analysis
Mon May 6 - Chapter 5-3, DNA Analysis
NO LAB - Last Week of Classes
Tue May 7 - Final Deadline for all late materials.
Wed May 8 - NO CLASS - Study Day
Fri May 10 -
Can start at 9:30 if you want.
BIO 171 - General Biology 2
Written Assignment - Abstracts
Your writing assignments for this course are abstracts, which are paragraphs that summarize things - in this case, either print articles or major internet websites. Abstracts are routinely written for science journal articles - that way, someone searching for particular material can quickly tell from the abstract if an article is something they need to read. Abstracts give the theme and "high points" of an article or site without the details. You are going to abstract two biology-oriented articles and two biology-oriented internet websites, summarizing as briefly as possible while still covering all of the sources’ subjects.
You will read an article or check out a website concerning some aspect of the biological sciences (pick something you can understand!), then reduce it to a single paragraph of information. The trick here is to be brief - try to keep your abstract under 100 words, and definitely hold it under 200 words.
For a magazine/newspaper article:The article you pick must fit the following FOUR CRITERIA: 1) it must be about some aspect of biology; 2) it must be from a reputable source - hard news or science magazine or newspaper - if you’re not sure about a source, ASK!!!; 3) the article must be more than one full page of text (or half a page of text for newspaper articles); 4) it must have been published this year.
For a website:When you pick a website, it must fit criteria 1 & 2 above (check the source to determine reliability); for 3, it must consist of more than ten subsidiary web pages (that is, it needs to have subsites with their own separate internet addresses); and for 4, it must have been updated sometime this year.
Theformat of your abstract will consist of: 1) your name; 2) the title of the article/ website you’re abstracting, written as stated in the next paragraph; 3) the actual written part of your abstract (one paragraph, typed, double spaced!), checked for spelling and grammar; 4) a photocopy of the entire print article, or the entire magazine it came from - torn-out pages are not acceptable! For websites, printouts are not necessary for websites - instead, the address must be absolutely perfect. For details, see below.
For the article abstracts will be written in a format like those found in science journals - make sure you follow these directions! Use the following order: 1) the author(s), last name first - all authors must be listed; 2) the year that the article was published (that should be this year); 3) the title of the article, capitalized like a regular sentence would be; 4) the title of the magazine or newspaper the article was in; 5) the volume and issue numbers of the magazine (dates are all right only for newspapers); 6) the pages that the article was on.
The title for the website abstracts will use this order: 1) the website name (this often will appear across the top of the screen at the "home" website, but it may just be on the screen at that site); 2) the date that the site was last updated; 3)the author, if there is one; 4) the support site, if this website is part of a yet larger site (this often won't be true for these abstracts - check with Mr. McDarby if you have a small site contained in a much larger one!); 5) the full web address ( this is in the long white box and starts "http..." - it's very important to get this exactly right!!); 6) the date that you accessed the site last. Use ONLY sources that can be shown to be reliable!
THE BODY OF THE ABSTRACT: Double spaced!
For the article, give a brief but comprehensive summary - briefly tell the basic theme of the article, then state all of the major points or features, including charts, tables, and sidebars. You do not need to go into much detail on anything except, occasionally, major unusual theories.
NOTE: You are either doing an abstract from an ARTICLE from a paper source or a huge WEBSITE - NOT an article from a website!!!
For the website, start from the main website’s home page (NOTE: if there’s more than two slashes beyond the middle of the address, chances are that you’re not on a home page). Give the basic theme of the site and then all of the major points or features, including types of subsites and links. Even sites with many, many subsites can usually be summarized easily.
Your NAME is on it.
Your article / website concerns some aspect of BIOLOGY.
Your article / website comes from an APPROPRIATE SOURCE. If a website, it is the main central page, not just a page within the site!
Your article contains MORE THAN ONE FULL PAGE OF TEXT (If newspaper, more than half a page of text), or your website has more than five webpage subsites.
Your article was PUBLISHED THIS YEAR, or your website has been updated this year.
You’ve written the TITLE ACCORDING TO THE PROPER FORMAT (see list on first handout sheet).
Your abstract is completely CHECKED FOR SPELLING AND GRAMMAR, and it is DOUBLE-SPACED.
Your abstract is BRIEF but COVERS THE THEME AND MAIN POINTS of the article or website, and main subsites for the website.
You’ve INCLUDED A PHOTOCOPY of the article, or the whole publication it’s from, or the COMPLETELY ACCURATE WEB ADDRESS.
ABSTRACTS - MARKING DEDUCTIONS:
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
ARTICLE OR WEBSITE TITLE:
Format Errors, each . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .-1 . . . . . . . . -1 . . . . . . . . .-2 . . . . . . . . .-2
Format Completely Wrong . . . . . . . . . . . -8 . . . . . . . . -8 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . -12
CHOSEN ARTICLE / WEBSITE:
Not on Biology Topic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -15 . . . . . . . . -20 . . . . . . . . -25 . . . . . . . . . -30
Inappropriate Source . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -5 . . . . . . . . . -8 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . . -12
Source TOO SHORT (just barely) . . . . -6 . . . . . . . . -12 . . . . . . . . -18 . . . . . . . . . -24
Source MUCH too short . . . . . . . . . . . -8 to -10 . . . -12 to -20 . . . -22 to -30 . . . -30 to -40
Main Theme is Wrong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -6 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . -14 . . . . . . . . -18
Points / Features not covered, each. . . -1 to -2 . . . . . -2 to -3 . . . . . -3 to -4 . . . -4 to -5
It isn’t quite an abstract. . . . . . . . . . . . -2 to -6. . . . . -6 to -10 . . . . -8 to -12. . -10 to -14
Not even close to being an abstract. . . . -10 . . . . . . . -20 . . . . . . . -30 . . . . . . . -40
Almost Random Statements . . . . . . . . . -12 . . . . . . . . -24 . . . . . . . . -36 . . . . . . -40
Spelling and grammar errors, each. . . . -1 . . . . . . . . -1 . . . . . . . . -2 . . . . . . . . -2
PHOTOCOPY / ACCURATE WEB ADDRESS:
Missing or Incomplete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -5 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . -15 . . . . . . . -20
Pages Ripped from Source. . . . . . . . . . . . -5 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . -15 . . . . . . . -20
Plagiarism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -15 to all Points
Falsified Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -10 to all Points
Other Dishonesty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -10 to all Points
Other Form Errors, Each. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -1 to -10
Questions and Helpful Hints:
Question - What sort of article, exactly, am I looking for?
First, make sure that you are looking in the right place. Science magazines are good sources, but may be much more technical than you're ready to handle. You want something that you'll be able to understand. "Hard news" magazines or newspapers can be good, too - anything that should be a reliable source for science information. Once you have a source, make sure that any article you might pick is long enough - it's got to have at least one full page of text - and that it is about biology in some way - in other words, it deals with the workings of living things.
Question - How do I know if I’ve got an appropriate website?
First, check the address - anything with a long address with a bunch of slashes in it is not a main site, but a subsite - find the main site by looking for a "HOME" link or by "peeling back" the address by deleting parts after a slash - work your way back slash by slash until you’ve hit what’s obviously a main website. Then, make sure that it’s biology-related and check - usually near the end somewhere - to see that it was updated this year. Then you must figure out who put the site up - who wrote it? Is there a good reason to think that the person or organization would be a reliable science resource? If you can't find any real information about the writer(s), even if references are cited, don't use the site.
Question - So this is like, some sort of report?
No, it's not like anything you've probably written - the closest assignment to an abstract would be the first part of a book report, where you're very briefly telling what the book is about. An abstract is about article content and coverage, not a report about the subject of the article. You also don't get to editorialize - your opinions about the article are irrelevant in an abstract.
Question - How much do I need to tell?
Not much. It's as if someone looked over your shoulder as you were reading and asked, "What kind of article is that?" Your answer would be brief, but a good answer would let the person know the basic theme of the article and all of the major points it covers, so they could tell if it was something they might want to read. Keep it short - you don't need to really explain things, just mention the main theme and any well-covered subjects.
Question - Are there any "tricks" to writing a good abstract?
There are many different tricks. What you want to do is break the article down to "the bare bones," and that can be done by outlining, or by making notes on a photocopy, or by reading and then waiting before you write (that last one is tricky). One definite trick is to use the checklist on the first handout page - if you can check everything off, you'll get a good mark.
ABSTRACTS - EXAMPLES.
Couzin-Frankel, Jennifer. 2011. A pitched battle over life span. Science, Vol 333, Iss 6042, p 549-550.
This article is about how life expectancies may change in the future – will they rise, or level off? The background of the two sides and major scientists involved are discussed, as well as what sorts of near-future results would support the sides.
Sachs, Jessica Snyder. 2011. There’s a shot for that. Discover, Vol 32, Iss 8, p 51-56.
This article discusses research on developing vaccines for several conditions. There are sections on vaccines for cancer, allergies, heart disease, obesity, and addiction. A sidebar supplies a glossary of vaccine-related terms.
Exploratorium. The Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception. 2011. Palace of Fine Arts. www.exploratorium.edu January 24, 2012.
This is the online site for a science museum in San Francisco. There is some information about the actual museum, but the site is primarily online content: “Hands-on activities, online exhibits, articles, videos, and more,” divided among several different types of science. There is also special content for a number of demographic groups: “Educators,” “Teens,” “Artists,” “Scientists,” and “Geeks.”
Human Genome Sequencing Center. 2011. Baylor College of Medicine. www.hgsc.bcm.tmc.edu January 24, 2012.
This website covers a wide range of human genetics research done in this medical college. There are specific sites dealing with cancer genetics and the genetics of the bacteria that live on and inside humans, as well as many pages of general information covering basics and background for genetics research.
Small, Meredith F. 1997. Our babies, ourselves. Natural History, 106(9), pp 42-51.
This article is about how caregiving for infants varies among cultures. Many contrasts between hunter-gatherer cultures and western cultures are given. A brief retrospective of how anthropological studies in this area have changed in focus appears. All of this is integrated into the biology of newborns, in such areas as nutrition and bond development. The suggestion is made that western rearing techniques may be ignoring the cues that come from the babies themselves. Several sidebar articles by other authors accompany the main article - subjects in the sidebars: practices among the Gusii people of Kenya; the rest-centered approach of the Dutch; teaching pediatricians to deal nonjudgmentally with varied approaches in different ethnic groups; effects of different approaches on crying; how long to breast-feed; and effects of parents sleeping with babies.
Rome, Lawrence C. 1997. Testing a muscle's design. American Scientist, 85(4), pp 356-363.
This article reviews the research done by the author connecting the design of a muscle system with the system's particular function. After a brief introduction to muscle mechanics, examples from frog jumping, fish swimming, and toadfish vocalizing are examined in some detail.
MedHist. 2004. http://medhist.ac.uk. No Author Given. Wellcome Trust. August 29, 2004.
This British site, allied with several other major sites with links on the homepage, calls itself the "guide to history of medicine resources on the Internet." It has mainly a search function in this field, but it also offers a "Browse by Category" option with the categories "Diseases," "Electronic publications" (sic), regional breakdowns, miscellany, "Education & research," by periods of history, "Medical speciality & technique," "People," and "Science & technology." Each category offers major reference sources and many subcategories as well. There are many sources that are modern, rather than historical.
Copyright 2013, Michael McDarby.
Old Online Textbook