SCI 135 - Introduction to Biology (Molecules & Cells)

Fall 2020

Professor M. McDarby Office: C-231-N,  C-239 (Lab).

NOTE - The official syllabus is on Blackboard.  This is First-Day information and information on abstract assignments.

Check updates on the Prof McDarby YouTube Channel.

Office (or Lab) Hours:  These are remote office hours.
Mon, Wed, 9 - 1;  Tues, Thurs, 11 - 2.  

Call into the lab - I won't be in my office.

Telephone: 762-4651, Extension 8864 (lab), 8970 (office / voicemail). 
Lab has students in it 8-11 and 2-5, please don't call it then.

e-mail
E-mail will be acknowledged - if you send one and get no reply, assume it did not get through!

Lectures: Posted on Blackboard. 
Dates correspond to when material would have been covered if we had in-person lectures.

Labs:  Tuesday, 8-11 or 2-5, C-239.

LINK TO OLD EXAMS 

LINK - HOW TO SUCCEED IN THIS COURSE

 

 
 


About the Course...

Introduction to Biology, Cells, SCI 135, is an overview of the science of living things that concentrates mostly on the general processes found in everything on the cellular level. This is a course for non-science majors, intended to give an introduction to the topics. It is not an in- depth biology course and is not part of a sequence: there are three SCI-level biology courses, but they are each stand-alone courses that look at different aspects of the science. Of the three, SCI 135 is most intended as a "from scratch" course - students here are not expected to have some background from a previous biology course. We will build from simple concepts upward, creating a basic science vocabulary while trying not to get too technical. Often, subjects will be presented with a view toward their impact on humans. Laboratories are set up to present concepts for discussion and/or exercises for hand-on investigation, and please note that this course does not expect students to perform dissections.

Link to FMCC Catalog Description.   The course learning outcomes.  This course fulfills the SUNY Education Guidelines for Natural Sciences.

 

Course Objectives:

When you have successfully completed this course, you should have an overview understanding of the basic workings of biology and science, as well as the basic differences between the major groups of living things. You should have a basic working knowledge of how biologists think the world works, including current theories on the cell processes and how they relate to health and the environment. You should understand how basic science works through the scientific method.  You should also increase your biology vocabulary and general understanding of basic biological processes, including those at work in and around human beings. We hope that you will better be able to follow current events related to biology, such as medical breakthroughs, ecological issues, and such topics in lower-level science education as young people you know may be exposed to.

 

The Book:   Introduction to Biology,  Molecules and Cells, McDarby, Online.

Important Dates:  Lecture Exams:  Posted on Blackboard for these dates:
                                                                                         October 2, October 26, November 13, December 16.
                                                       Assignment Due Dates on calendar, below.

Grading:  The Lecture portion of the course will count toward 44% of the grade (4 100-Point Exams), with laboratory and abstracts amounting to the remaining 56%.


Lecture Exams (4) 100 Points Each - 400 Points - 44%

Lab Reports (12*) 25 Points Each - 300 Points - 33%

Abstracts (4*) 50 Points Each - 200 Points - 22%

Completion Grade (All due work handed in) (1) 10 Points  - 10 Points - 1%

*One additional optional abstract to replace lowest abstract grade.


Overall:

%

GRADE

 

%

GRADE

90 & up

A

 

74 - 76

C+

87 - 89

A-

 

70 - 73

C

84 - 86

B+

 

60 - 69

D

80 - 83

B

 

59 &

Below

F

77 - 79

B-

 

"D" is considered passing, but often only "C" or higher are accepted as transfer credits!
Grades may also be severely affected for students violating FMCC's Academic Integrity Policy.


 
Attendance & Make-Up Policies:

Laboratory classes all have associated marked reports, so missing them will lead to lost points. Make-ups will be remote versions - 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 and posted with the Blackboard assignments - hang on to them and/or mark your personal calendar. No late materials will be accepted after Dec 14th.

 
 
 
Fall 2020 Lecture Schedule
Mondays Fridays
  Sep 4 -  Introduction
Sep 7 - NO CLASS
Labor Day
Sep 11 -   Chap 1, Life
Sep 14 - Sep 18 -  Chap 2, Science
Sep 21 - Sep 25 - Chap 3, Classification
Sep 28 - Chap 4, Chemistry Intro Oct 2 -  FIRST EXAM
Oct 5 -  Chemistry continued Oct 9 - Chap 5, Organic Chemistry
Oct 12 - NO CLASS (Columbus Day) Oct 16 -
Oct 19 - Chap 6, Cells Oct 23 -
Oct 26 -    Oct 30 - SECOND EXAM
Nov 2 - Nov 6 - Chap 7, Genetics Etc.
Nov 9 - Nov 13 -
Nov 16 -  Chap 8, Energy Nov 20 -  THIRD EXAM
Nov 23 - Nov 27 -  NO CLASS
(Thanksgiving)
Nov 30 - Chap 9, Cellular Respiration Dec 4 -
Dec 7 - Dec 11 - Chap 10, Photosynthesis
Dec 14 - Dec 16 - FOURTH EXAM
 
 

 
 
 

McDarby - SCI 135 - Fall 2020 Lab Schedule

DAYS

EXERCISE SKILLS STRESSED
Sep 8 INTRODUCTION Class requirements;  safety.
Sep 8 Writing Abstracts Doing the class assignments.  Use of research databases and search engines.
Sep 15, 22 Experiment Design
 
Terminology and concepts of scientific method;  designing experiments.
Sep 15, 22 Measurements
*REMOTE*

 

Conversions between systems;
application to real measurements.

CALCULATOR NEEDED.

Sep 29,

Oct 6

Classification
FIRST ABSTRACT DUE

Use of diagnostic key;  Biological groups.
 

Sep 29,

Oct 6

Ethics
*REMOTE*

 
Analysis of moral issues in medicine and science.
Oct 13 NO LABS Faculty Development Day
Oct 20, 27 Organic Molecules 
SECOND ABSTRACT DUE
Simple chemistry techniques and analysis of results.
Oct 20, 27 Metacognition
 
Self-analysis;  Application of concepts.
Nov 3, 10 Microscope Introduction Use of lab instruments.
Nov 3, 10  Genetics
*REMOTE*
Principles of dominant/recessive crosses, applications;  Other genetic processes.
Nov 17, 24 Diffusion
THIRD ABSTRACT DUE
Interpretation of experimental results;  Connection to basic concepts.
Nov 17, 24 Mitosis
 

Microscope application;  Cell concepts.

Dec 1 TBA
*REMOTE*
FOURTH+ ABSTRACT DUE
Dec 8 TBA
 

Schedule is tentative - exams will cover the actual material covered rather than the scheduled material. Remote versions available on Blackboard.

 
 

Written Assignment - Abstracts

Your writing assignments for this course are abstracts, which are paragraphs that summarize things - in this case, either written articles or major internet websites. Abstracts are routinely written for science journal articles - that way, someone searching for particular material can quickly tell 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, being as brief as possible while still covering all of the sources’ main discussion points.

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 REQUIREMENTS: 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 in 2019 or 2020.

For a website: When you pick a website, it must fit requirements 1 & 2 above; for 3, it must consist of more than ten subsidiary web pages (that is, it needs to have subsites, within the main site's basic address but with their own separate internet addresses); and for 4, it must have been updated sometime this year.  For requirement 2, make sure your site is reliable - does it come from a person or organization that can be trusted for biology information?


The format of your abstract will consist of: 1) your name; 2) the title of the article/ website you’re abstracting, following the rules given in the next paragraph; 3) the actual written part of your abstract (one paragraph, typed, double spaced!), checked for spelling and grammar; 4) for abstracts based on articles, a photocopy of the entire article, or the entire magazine it came from (torn-out pages are not acceptable!), and for websites, the full address of the main page. (Printouts are not necessary for websites - instead, the address must be absolutely perfect.) For details, see below.

 

THE ABSTRACT TITLE:  Use ONLY sources that can be shown to be reliable!

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 2019 or 2020); 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;  7)  the database that the article came from if you used a library database to access it.


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 (should be this year); 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. 

 

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.

 

 

 

 
ABSTRACT CHECKLIST:

 

________________ 
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 ten webpage subsites.
________________ 
Your article was PUBLISHED in 2019 or 2020, 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 a BRIEF SUMMARY 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:

 

                                                                                                        DEDUCTIONS

                                                                      1st               2nd                3rd                 4th

ARTICLE OR WEBSITE TITLE:

Format Errors, each . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .-1 . . . . . . . .  -2 . . . . . . . .  .-3 . . . . . . . .  .-3

Format Completely Wrong . . . . . . . . . . . -8 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . -12 . . . . . . . . -15

CHOSEN ARTICLE / WEBSITE:

Not on Biology Topic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -15 . . . . . . . . -20 . . . . . . . . -25 . . . . . . . . . -30

Inappropriate Source . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -6 . . . . . . . . . -9 . . . . . . . .  -12 . . . . . . . . . -15

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

ABSTRACT:

Title Format Errors, each . . . . . . . . . . . -1 . . . . . . . .  -2 . . . . . . . . .  -2 . . . . . . . . . . -4

Main Theme is Wrong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -6 . . . . . . . . -12 . . . . . . . . -18 . . . . . . . . -24

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 . . . . . . . .  -1 . . . . . . . .  -1

PHOTOCOPY / ACCURATE WEB ADDRESS:

Missing or Incomplete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -5 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . -15 . . . . . . . -20

Pages Ripped from Source. . . . . . . . . . . . -5 . . . . . . . . -10 . . . . . . . . -15 . . . . . . . -20

OTHERS:

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. 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.

 

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 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 them.

 

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.

 

Format
     
  NOTES
EXAM SIGN