Principles of Biology 1

Springfield Technical Community College, Department of Biological Sciences

Principles of Biology I

BIO 101: D03/D04 Lecture and Lab Syllabus Spring 2019

Professor: Reena Randhir, Ph.D.                                     


Office/hours: 2/615- by appointment.                              

Telephone #: 413-755-5606

Lecture Hours:  TTh 11am -12.15 pm (2/601)                

Lab: DO4 TH 2:40- 4:20 pm (2/612)        

Course Description: Principles of Biology is an introductory course designed to meet the needs of the student who has no background in chemistry or biology. This is a first part of a two-semester presentation of the basic concepts of life science for the transfer student who does not wish to major in science, and for the health career program candidate for whom biology is a prerequisite. The first semester provides an introduction to fundamental biological concepts including: the modern concept of life the structure and function of cells, biochemistry, cell reproduction, patterns of inheritance, and modern cell theory.

Prerequisites: MAT-073 or MAT-078 (minimum grade C-) or placement at MAT-081 or higher. Take DRG-091 (minimum grade C-) or placement at DRG-092 or higher. Co-requisites: BIO 101L.

Course Credits: Lecture -3 credits/ Lab- 1 credit


Course Organization: This course will be composed of lecture and laboratory material.  The topics in both lecture and lab will be coordinated to reinforce student understanding of the material. 

Methods of instruction: will include lecture presentations, power point, classroom discussions, small group seminars, question-answer sessions, video clips, maker-space activities and problem-based learning tools focused on enhancing student critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Online materials will be available through the course Black Board site.  In addition, the laboratory portion of this course will reinforce concepts by allowing hands on exploration of materials presented in lecture. 

Students are encouraged to take responsibility for increasing their own comprehension by careful reading of assigned materials and by:

(1) Taking advantage of opportunities for asking questions for clarification, answering questions posed in text and supplementary sources such as the online resources that the text book offers.

 (2) Active participation in class discussions, participating in small study groups, review sessions, and seeking out peer tutoring if necessary.

(3) Utilizing resources available in the library and tutoring center.

Student Learning Outcomes

For Lecture: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to 

1. Demonstrate critical thinking skills through their accomplishments on assignments and their contribution to discussions. 

2. Describe how living organisms are identified and grouped according to their DNA and other similar characteristics. 

3. Distinguish the four types of biological molecules and describe the covalent bonds that form them. 

4. Explain the Cell Theory, distinguish prokaryotic from eukaryotic cells, and describe organelles and their functions. 

5. Explain the cell cycle as well as the processes of cell division during mitosis and meiosis, including how genetic information is replicated and distributed through these processes. 

6. Summarize the history and the basic principles of human genetics and be able to solve monohybrid genetic problems. 

7. Gain use of the scientific terminology in biology. 

8. Explain how an organism’s DNA relates to its protein complement and heredity, as well as how an organism’s DNA can be useful for biotechnology. 

9. Apply what they have learned about cells and cell division to understand some of the causes of and treatments for cancer. 

10. Explain how climate change is occurring as well as how climate change relates to the actions and processes of living things. 

For Lab: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to 

1. Describe the variety of life forms on our planet and relate them to their cell types and evolutionary relatedness. 

2. Describe the purpose and steps of the scientific method, as well as form hypotheses, carry out experiments, and write a lab report. 

3. Distinguish the four types of biological molecules, explain what tests can be used to understand these molecules, and describe the relevance of these molecules to cell and organismal processes. 

4. Explain how an organism’s DNA relates to its chromosomes and proteins, as well as how an organism’s DNA can be useful for biotechnology. 

5. Use a microscope, carry out assays, identify organisms, and describe visible cell components. 

6. Acquire information from a lab book, prepare for lab quizzes and lab practicals, and complete lessons with their classmates.

Requirements and Policies

Attendance Policy:  Lecture and Laboratory attendance is mandatory. A student who misses more than four lectures and/or two labs will be withdrawn or fail the course. This allowance includes medical emergencies. When absent it is the student’s responsibility to acquire all missed assignments and notes from Blackboard and their classmates. Arriving late, leaving early or using cell phones during class will be considered as an absence. There is no excuse for tardiness (except for real emergency) since it disrupts the learning of your classmates.  In order to maintain an ideal learning environment please turn off cell-phones and other electronic devices while in class. Students using cell phones, surfing the web, listening to music or sleeping during class will be marked absent and asked to leave. Please respect your instructor and class-mates by not talking/interrupting them during class discussions. 

Eating and drinking are not permitted in lecture or lab classes. Students are expected to follow the code of conduct outlined in the college catalog. To ensure the free and open discussion of ideas, students may not record classroom lectures and discussions without advance written permission of the instructor. Any student persisting in unsafe, distracting or disrespectful behavior may be asked to leave the classroom and will be considered absent. Improper behavior can be used as grounds for academic dismissal from this course.

Grading Policy: The biology department policy on grading is to calculate a combined grade for lecture and lab so that the same grade is given for both parts of this course.  Lecture grade is comprised of 4 exams, weekly assignments, oral presentation, participation, good learning attitude and attendance. The lab grade will be comprised of weekly lab quizzes, weekly assignments, and 2 lab practicals. Extra credit opportunities will be made available to the entire class throughout the semester (there are no individual extra credit assignments). Students must pass both portions of the class in order to pass the course.

Lecture (70 % of combined grade) 

4 Exams = 50 % 

Homework Assignments/Attendance = 10 % 

Oral Presentation/Written report = 5 %

Participation/Good Learning Attitude = 5%

Laboratory (30 % of combined grade)

   Lab Quizzes/assignments/reports = 10 % 

   Pre-lab assignments/participation = 5 %

   Lab Practical 1 = 7.5 % 

   Lab Practical 2 = 7.5 % 

Exams: There will be 4 exams during the semester. Format for the exams will be multiple choice questions/short answers. Each exam will be 50 min long with 25- 50 questions. There will be one exam given at the end of each unit and the final exam will be given during the designated final exam period. There are no make-up exams, unless in the case of a real emergency with proper documentation (within a week of the missed exam in short answers/essay format). Students should bring their own pencils and erasers. 

Homework: Home work on the read-ahead chapters will be collected on the day of the assigned lecture and must be submitted before lecture begins. This part of the grade is for attendance and showing up to class prepared. Late submissions will not be graded. 

Oral Presentation: Research the assigned topic from current scientific journals. The 10 min oral presentation can be in any format the student chooses (PPT- maximum of 8 slides, poster etc.) and must be presented on the day assigned for full credit. A typed 2-page report on the topic must be submitted before the talk. The assessment rubric and sign-up sheets will be given in class. 

Interaction Plan/Participation in Small Group Seminars/ Class Discussions: Every lecture class includes student directed discussions on the concepts investigated in that class. Active participation is expected in these student debates. Reading ahead is vital for ideal participation. In addition, students will form small groups to discuss the lecture concepts and case studies.

Lab Quizzes:  The weekly quizzes comprising of 10 -20 short answer questions (15 min) will be given on the lab exercise covered in the previous lab at the beginning of the lab. Students who come late will not be given extra time to complete. One lowest quiz grade (including any zero for absences) will be dropped during final grade calculation. Students are expected to complete all lab activities as directed to receive credit for the quiz and participation. There are no make-up quizzes. 

Lab Practical: There will be 2 lab practicals. This assessment requires the students to move from station to station (model, specimen etc.) to identify structures or name function. There will be 20-25 stations with a total of 50 short answer/multiple choice questions. Time limit is 60 minutes. There are no make-ups. Detailed information regarding practical will be given in class.     

Grades and required Numerical score:

A = 93-100

A- = 90-92

B+ = 87-89

B = 83-86

B- = 80-82

C+ = 77-79

C = 73-76

C- = 70-72

D+ = 67-69

D = 63-66

D- = 60-62

F = 59 and below 

No Incompletes.

Equipment Policy: Please handle our expensive lab equipment with utmost care.  Any student caught willfully defacing or destroying any lab equipment will be reported to the Dean of Students and may be removed from the course. Students are expected to return equipment used to the proper place and clean their entire work area before leaving lab. 

BIO 101 Lecture Tentative Schedule- Course Topics, Readings, Assignments and Exams Spring 2019

Week of 

Lecture Topic



Assignments, Exams

1. Jan 20 

Meet and Greet, Syllabus

The Study of Life

Chapter 1

2. Jan 27

The Study of Life

Chapter 1 contd.

Homework Ch 1 due

3. Feb 3

The Chemical Foundation of Life

Chapter 2 


Homework Ch 2 due

4. Feb 10

Biological Macromolecules

Chapter 3 

Feb 12 Exam 1 (Chapters 1, 2)

Homework Ch 3 due

5. Feb 17 

Feb 19-No class

Chapter 3 


6. Feb 24

Cell Structure

Chapter 4

Homework Ch 4 due 

Cell Activity Project due

7. Mar 3

Structure and Function of Plasma Membranes

Chapter 5

March 5 Exam 2 (Chapters 3, 4) 

Homework Ch 5 due

Mar 10 – 16

Break – No Classes

8. Mar 17

Metabolism- Enzymes

Chapter 6

Homework Ch 6 due

9. Mar 24

Cell Reproduction, Mitosis

Chapter 10

Homework Ch 10 due

10. Mar 31


Chapter 11

Homework Ch 11 due

11. April 7

Mendelian Genetics

Chapter 12

April 9 Exam 3 (Chapters 5, 6, 10, 11) 

Homework Ch 12 due

12. April 14 April 18- No class

DNA Structure and Function 

Chapter 14

Homework Ch 14 due

13. April 21

DNA Technology

Chapter 15

Homework Ch 15 due

14. April 28

Microbial Life

Chapter 23


Homework Ch 23 due

15. May 5


Class Celebration!

Chapter 44


Homework Ch 44 due

16. May 12

Date to be announced

FINALS (Chapters 12, 14, 15, 23, 44)

Please note that all homework is due before the lecture and is for attendance/ showing up prepared.

Late homework will not be graded.

BIO 101 Principles of Biology Lab Schedule Spring 2019

Thursday Lab

Lab Title

Evaluation- Assignments, Quizzes, Practical


Lab 1: Introduction

Lab Safety, Natural Selection Activity

How to succeed in BIO 101?


Lab 2: Scientific Method

Complete Pre-lab assignment


Lab 3: Diversity

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 2


Lab 4: Microscopes

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 3


Lab 5: Macromolecules

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 4


Lab 6: Cells #1

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 5


Lab 7: Cells #2

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 6


Spring Break


Lab 8: Lab Practical #1


Lab 9: Passive Transport

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 7


Lab 10: Experiment

Read Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 9


Lab 11: Mitosis

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Report due


No Lab


Lab 12: DNA Technology

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 11


Lab 13: Protists

Complete Pre-lab assignment

Lab Quiz on Lab 12


Lab 14: Lab Practical #2

Please note: Lab quizzes will be on the concepts covered in the previous lab. There are no make-up lab quizzes. Pre-labs are due during the beginning of the current lab. Late work will not be graded.

Policy on academic dishonesty

Students are required to perform all exams, home works and assignments with integrity and honesty. In cases of suspected violation of academic integrity, proper action will be taken following the college policy on academic honesty. 

Class Cancellation Policy

When there is severe weather alert, please check the college website for class cancellation information. If there is a class cancellation, then the scheduled lecture including exams or homework will be postponed to the next class. 

If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please contact the Office of Disability Services. They are in Building 19/Rm 141 and can be reached at (13) 755- 4785.  The offices are open 7:30am - 5pm, Monday through Friday. Evening hours by appointment. Please inform me during the first week of classes. 

All students should be aware of exit procedures in case of fire or any other emergency. Safety goggles and gloves should be worn in lab whenever needed. Students must follow all lab safety protocols, procedures and correct disposal of biohazard materials always.

The instructor reserves all rights to make changes in the syllabus during the semester and the students will be notified of the changes. It is my goal to help everyone succeed in this course, so please do not hesitate to ask me for extra help. Best Wishes.

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