Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
BI 103
Course Title:
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Course Description

Presents the evolutionary relationships among the kingdoms. Includes a comparison of biological systems across kingdoms. Designed as a laboratory science course for non-biology majors. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores, and BI 101. Audit available.

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.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students will be able to:

1. Use classification and evolutionary relationships among taxa to identify strategies that organisms employ to sustain life.
2. Communicate an understanding of biodiversity and conservation and its value to the student, to our society, and to the natural environment.
3. Gather and apply knowledge of form and function to qualitatively and quantitatively explain how organisms live.
4. Use laboratory experiences comparing species characteristics to organize an understanding of evolutionary relationships.
5. Appreciate aesthetic value of living organisms in the natural world.
6. Use scientific knowledge of body systems to critically evaluate experimental outcomes and apply them to human health and the environment.

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 103 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

Course Content:

  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Describe the common modes of reproduction in each significant kingdom
  • Differentiate between sexual and asexual reproduction
  • Describe conditions favoring asexual and sexual reproduction

Growth and Development

  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Understand the principles that guide the development of an organism
  • Define cell differentiation
  • Describe cell differentiation as it appears in each of the kingdoms
  • Understand the differences between determinant and indeterminate growth and the implications for each organism
  • Explain the control systems that influence growth and development
  • Describe aging and its causes (in a broad sense)
  • Describe the factors that influence aging


  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Define homeostasis
  • Identify some factors that are kept in homeostasis within the various kingdoms
  • Describe systems that are used to maintain homeostasis
  • Discuss transport of materials on a cellular level

Nutrition and Energetics

  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Define a nutrient
  • Differentiate between a macronutrient and a micronutrient
  • Discuss how organisms acquire their nutrients
  • Describe how and where organisms obtain their energy
  • Compare some energy storage strategies across the kingdoms

Internal Transport/Circulation

  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Identify materials that are transported within organisms from various kingdoms
  • Explain why circulation is necessary
  • Explain the mechanism through which organisms achieve circulation

Gas Exchange and Excretion

  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Identify gases that are required by various organisms
  • Describe specialized structures that are used for gas exchange in the different kingdoms
  • Identify common waste products created by organisms from the various kingdoms, and explain the necessity for removing these wastes
  • List some strategies that various organisms use to get rid of wastes
  • Explain how excretory systems adjust their outputs for different physiologic conditions

Support and Locomotion

  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Explain why organisms need physical support
  • Describe the various support systems in various organisms from different kingdoms
  • Explain how an organismês environment affects its need for support
  • Describe the connection between support and locomotion
  • Describe how changes in the environmental conditions cause an organism to change its support systems
  • Identify the uses of locomotion
  • Provide example of locomotion in organism from various kingdoms
  • Distinguish between movement and locomotion
  • Compare various strategies of movement in organisms from various kingdoms
  • Discuss how support systems in various species facilitate their movement

Control Systems

  • Students who have successfully completed this topic can:
  • Explain ways in which information is passed between cells
  • Explain how cellular communication help integrate various functions within an organism
  • Describe how control systems allow organism to monitor and respond to their environment
  • Discuss how control systems vary among organisms from different kingdoms
  • Describe the implications of increasing complexity of nervous systems