Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BI 101H
Course Title:
Biology: Honors
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

An honors laboratory science course designed for non-biology majors. Introduces the properties of life, morphology and physiology of cells, cell chemistry, energy transformation, and the basic principles of ecology. Course explores the application of biological principles to other disciplines. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores AND 3.25 GPA.

Addendum to Course Description

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Biology Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences.
· Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
· The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation "science" is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation "science" is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).
Biology instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Biology Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.
Lab B Notes: The lab for this course has been approved as "Lab B". This means that Faculty effort in preparation and evaluation generally occurs outside of scheduled class hours. Class format is a combination of Faculty lectures and demonstrations, guided student interactions and supervised student application of lectures. Students produce written work such as lab notebooks, reports, and responses in writing to assigned
questions, and the Instructor is expected to comment on and grade this written work outside of schedule class hours. This evaluation will take place on a regular basis throughout the term.

Intended Outcomes for the course

  • Differentiate between and appropriately use inductive and deductive reasoning in decision making
  • Gather information, assess its validity, and differentiate factual information from opinion and pseudo-science by learning and practicing methods used by biological scientists
  • Apply biological principles and generalizations to novel problems
  • Practice the application of biological information in life (personal and professional)
  • Develop informed positions or opinions on contemporary issues and communicate effectively using appropriate biological vocabulary

Additional Honors outcomes

  • Utilize leadership and collaborative working skills and knowledge of sustainability, population biology, and community ecology to influence public policy at local and regional levels.
  • Apply knowledge of biological systems to solve problems in sustainable resource use, materials design, and building design.
  • Develop connections between the life sciences and future academic disciplines.
  • Conduct and synthesize research independently.

Course Activities and Design

The format of this course, the content and the outcomes are designed under the assumption that students will be able to learn the traditional course content more quickly. This frees up some class time from a traditional didactic format to one where the classroom community can take the content
and rigorously apply it to solve new problems. It also allows the opportunity to explore the connection between that content (basic biological principles) and other disciplines of interest to the students, such as economics, literature, history, and architecture.
A significant portion of class time will be devoted to student-led discussions and critical thinking exercises related to these topics. Course work will include writing, research and student presentations. Effective leadership will be explored as we examine historical figures who have successfully influenced public policy regarding natural resource use based on understanding of biological systems.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

· tests
· oral presentations
· papers
· journals
· group projects
· practical exams
· case studies
· "team based"

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Students who have successfully completed biology 101 will be able to:
· Use the scientific method to look for the answers to questions
· Use scientific instruments safely and appropriately including microscopes
· Study effectively
· Communicate effectively (including using the metric system to communicate)
· Read and interpret scientific information (including information in the metric system)
· Synthesize to solve problems
· Organize ideas to achieve a specific purpose
· Apply theoretical and conceptual models and frameworks to real world situations.
· Analyze problem solving/decision making situations.
· Identify situations/concepts where science does and does not apply.
· Recognize scientific information and its role in decision making
Themes, Issues, Concepts:
Science as a way of knowing:
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· recognize science as an evolving model of how the world works and be able to differentiate between scientific and non-scientific models.
· describe how scientific models are created, tested, and modified.
· outline the steps of the scientific method.
· develop a hypothesis.
· design a simple experiment to test a hypothesis.
· apply the scientific method to their everyday lives.
· identify the role of science in potential careers/professions.
· explain the criteria used to distinguish living organisms from nonliving matter.
Biological Chemistry
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· describe the basic structure of an atom.
· explain how the structure of an atom leads to its chemical properties.
· identify the main types of atoms found in biological systems.
· describe the 3 basic types of chemical bonds and their role in biological systems.
· describe the 4 basic classes of macromolecules and their role in cells.
· explain the basic mechanisms of reactions and how enzymes catalyze them.
· describe the methods that cells use to control enzymatic reactions including pH.
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· differentiate between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
· describe the generalized structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
· describe the function of the components of a generalized eukaryotic cell.
· demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of osmosis and diffusion.
· describe the role of the plasma membrane in cell transport.
· explain the cell theory.
· identify structures specific to cells of different kingdoms
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· define a biome & relate this definition to ecosystems by giving examples of biomes in Oregon or elsewhere.
· communicate their experience of a biome found in Oregon or elsewhere.
· characterize an Oregon or other ecosystem and generalize this knowledge to world biomes.
· compare and contrast biomes found in Oregon or elsewhere.
· communicate an understanding of some of the tools scientists use to investigate biomes
· identify the major roles organisms play in their ecosystem.
· identify the common types of organisms, the role of each organism, and the kingdom to which each organism belongs.
· explain how organisms relate to each other within a biome.
· characterize the abiotic components associated with a particular biome.
· characterize the biotic components associated with a biome.
· explain how abiotic components structure biomes and the biotic components found there.
· correlate biomes to the biosphere.
· identify the role humans play in specific ecological issues
· develop solutions for given ecological issues and understand the pros and cons of each solution
Nutrient Cycles / Interconnectedness/Energetics:
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· identify and describe the nitrogen, carbon, water, and energy cycles.
· describe these cycles within a specific Oregon ecosystem.
· discuss the flow of energy in an ecosystem and in the biosphere.
· describe a food web.
· demonstrate an understanding of the relation of the laws of thermodynamics to energy cycling
· define entropy.
· communicate an understanding of the role of photosynthesis and cell respiration in energy cycling.
· explain how all organisms in the biosphere are interconnected.
Population ecology:
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· define species
· describe how scientists characterize populations.
· characterize a population in terms of size, density, distribution, age structure and sex ratio.
· explain how populations change over time and what factors can lead to these changes.
· explain how population size is limited.
· demonstrate an understanding of the limits of scientific models of populations to describe real populations.
Community ecology:
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· explain how scientists characterize communities.
· explain how populations within communities can interact.
· describe how population interactions can change population growth curves.
· identify the ways that population interactions shape communities over time.
· explain how interactions within a community effect the distribution of populations in an ecosystem.
· give examples of the use of community ecology as a tool to manage biomes/ecosystems.
Behavior (optional):
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· understand the adaptive nature of behavior
· hypothesize about the adaptive value of a novel behavior
· define behavior.
· recognize and give examples of behavior associated with, communication, navigation, feeding, mating, defense...
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (optional):
Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
· identify regions with high disease rates
· communicate an understanding of factors that affect disease rates
· explain the mode of transmission for common STD s
· identify symptoms of common STD s and describe treatments
· recognize behaviors that will increase and decrease chances of catching an STD