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Concepts And Methods Of Biology

Concepts and Methods of Biology


Objectives

By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Describe     the basic characteristics of living organisms and the levels of     organization of living things.
  • Name     the molecules that sets living things apart from the nonliving world and     explain why the DNA molecule is important.
  • Explain     the interdependence of life on Earth, and describe the flow of energy.
  • Explain     how living things are scientifically classified, and list the three domains     and four kingdoms and the basis characteristics of organisms found within     each classification.
  • Discuss     the limits of science. 
  • List     the three foundational ideas of modern biology, and explain their     significance.
  • Explain     the four main points that are the foundation of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
  • Explain the use of the scientific     method.
  • Explain     how a theory is different from a hypothesis.
  • Explain the importance of     the basic concepts, processes, and principles of biology to everyday life.

Introduction

Welcome to general biology!   Biology, the scientific study of life, is one of the most exciting scientific disciplines.  Advances in technology have led to accomplishments that, not long ago, were the stuff of science fiction.  Sequencing of the human genome, successful cloning of several species of animals, and in vitro fertilization are just a few of the recent accomplishments of biological investigations.  As our scientific knowledge has increased, so has our ability to recognize and treat a wide variety of diseases.  The energies of a vast community of biological scientists are currently focused upon finding treatments and cures for cancers.  When a new disease emerges,  such as mad cow disease, SARS, AIDS, or Ebola virus, biologists apply all their knowledge, skill, and investigative powers to deal with the disease.  From monitoring the safety of our air and water to helping us maintain our health or recover from a disease, the biological sciences provide myriad applications that are practical and important to our lives.

Everyone has some interest in biology.  For those with an interest in physical fitness, a basic knowledge of biology will help to distinguish between pseudoscience and sound science claims made by health supply companies.  For those concerned about the environment, a greater knowledge of biology will help to identify and address the most pressing environmental issues.  If a loved one develops asthma, knowledge of biology will aid in the understanding of the disease, the treatments, and to better communicate with the physician.  Are genetically engineered foods safe?  Are low-carbohydrate, high protein diets healthy?  Is mold build-up in basements a health concern?  Why is the exhaust from automobiles bad?  Is “global warming” a concern?  What is ‘DNA fingerprinting’ used in last night’s episode of CSI?  These, and many other questions, are explored within the biological sciences. 

The biological sciences answers questions, introduces new ones,  and often challenges our societal mores by the answers and abilities it provides.  This course will provide a foundation for the understanding of the basic concepts of biology.  These concepts will provide tools to enable the student to be a better informed consumer of the fruits of biological investigations.  This biology foundation will continue to grow in the future as long as there remains a curiosity about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the myriad processes of life itself.

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