Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for BI 101H Summer 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
BI 101H
Course Title:
Biology I: Honors
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

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

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

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Explain fundamental biological concepts using appropriate vocabulary.
  • Solve problems related to biodiversity and sustainability using biological principles.
  • Assess the validity of information and differentiate factual information from opinion and pseudoscience.
  • Develop and communicate informed positions on current biological issues.
  • Describe connections between the life sciences and other academic disciplines.
  • Conduct experiments using the scientific method to collect and analyze data.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to analyze questions or problems that impact the community and/or environment using quantitative information.

General education philosophy statement

Biology 101H introduces the properties of life, morphology and physiology of cells, cell chemistry, energy transformation, and the basic principles of ecology. Students design experiments, test hypotheses, collect data, draw conclusions and interpret their findings. Both qualitative and quantitative reasoning is consistently used to analyze current research in biology and experiments conducted in the course. Students assess the environmental and societal impacts at individual, local and global scales and propose potential actions and solutions. Biological theory and models are used to organize and describe natural phenomena. This course lays the foundation for further study of environmental science and biology, but also provides a valuable and complete perspective for students who pursue different areas of study.

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 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.  

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 successfully complete 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 using the metric system
  • Synthesize biological concepts 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.

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, etc.