Bio 161 Principles of Biology: Cell Structure and Function

Spring 2014
Instructor: Dr. William Patrie
Office FSC 152
Phone x1400

Web page

Office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 1:30-3:00; Friday  9:00-9:50, by appointment, and by chance (I'm often in FSC2 or FSC132)

Required Text: Biology, 9th ed., Campbell and Reece 

Required Lab Manual:  Principles of Biology 161 Lab Manual, Pitkin et al., provided on D2L

Required Lab notebook: An inexpensive "marble" quad-ruled notebook with a sewn in binding. Staples, Amazon, and the bookstore have these.  Do NOT use loose-leaf or wire-bound notebooks as a lab notebook.  

Recommended: A Student Handbook for Writing in Biology 3rd Ed., Knisely  978-1429234917

A binder for your printed out lab manual and PowerPoints.

The goal of this course is to introduce you to the basic concepts and the scope of modern biology. This goal includes the following objectives:

1) to understand the basics of biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, and evolution
2) to apply the scientific method for solving biological problems
3) to use common scientific instrumentation in order to obtain data
4) to interpret, utilize and report biological information
5) to develop good habits of study and observation

I make use of our online class management system, D2L, for this course. In general, I do not provide printed copies of material unless I have made last minute changes. I use PowerPoint slides in lectures, and you will be able to download these before class. I will post them at least the night before class.  We are also editing our lab manual, and the labs will likewise be posted on D2L by at least the Friday before lab.   I occasionally post additional documents or updates to the syllabus. I will have quizzes for you to take (see below). You can also access your grades. Do this frequently to be certain there are no recording errors and that you have not missed turning in an assignment. Be sure to check your grades after completing the online quizzes. Let me know ASAP if there are any discrepancies. 

If anyone in this class has a need for note-taking or test-taking accommodations, please feel free to discuss this with me.


Final grades will be based on the percentage determined by dividing your point total by the total points in the course, approximately 750. A= 90% and above; B=80-89.9%; C=70-79.9%; D=60-69.9%; F= less than 60%.  I do not grade on a curve,  but I do use +/- in a favorable manner (e.g., an 89.9 would likely end up as a B+ instead of a B, but a 90 will be an A, not an A-).  You will be able access your grades at any time through D2L. Do this regularly to ensure none of your assignment grades are missing.  Please note that I do not regularly nag or chase down individuals who skip class or fail to turn in assignments.

Exams (450 points): There will be three one hour exams each worth 100 points. Exams will cover lecture, text and lab material. The final exam will be comprehensive and worth 150 points. Exams typically include multiple choice questions, matching, and short essays or problems. You need prior approval to reschedule an exam.

Quizzes and Homeworks (total, approximately 250 points):

D2L Chapter quizzes (approx. 90 points):    Approximately 18 quizzes worth 5 points each, will be given  on-line via D2L. The quizzes on D2L are open book and open note and must be done within the allotted period (minimum 48 hours)  they are open.  You will have 2 opportunities to take each quiz during this time period, and the highest grade will be recorded.  Your response to each question, and whether it is right or wrong, will be provided as feedback after each attempt. The main purpose of these quizzes is to help you review material in a timely manner.  My advice for taking them is to thoroughly study the appropriate material from your notes and textbook and to then take the quiz without use of your notes.  How well you perform on this first attempt will reflect how well you have prepared, and will also reflect how well you would do on an in-class exam with similar preparation.  Make use of your notes for the second attempt and look up the material you had not mastered.  Be sure to check your grades after completing the online quizzes and let me know ASAP if they don't show up.

In-class Quizzes (approx. 50 points): These quizzes will be very short (1 or 2 questions)  and given at the start of most classes. If you are late, you will miss the quiz.  The quizzes will  cover information from the previous lecture.   Quiz format will be multiple choice and short answer.    Makeup quizzes will not be given unless you are missing class due to a conflicting sports schedule or verifiable illness.  Be prepared- read over your notes one more time before coming to class!

Other quizzes and homeworks (approx. 60 points):   You will have a major genetics problem homework assignment worth 50 points. Any major in-class quizzes will be announced, and I will let you know the format beforehand.


Laboratories are an essential part of biology. Labs are designed to provide experience with commonly used techniques and to reinforce important concepts. We are currently in the process of revising the lab manual, and the lab instructions will be posted weekly on D2L.

Lab Notebooks (50 points): Preparation prior to lab is essential for understanding the experiment and for its successful execution.  Detailed recording of procedures, data, and results are essential to the evaluation and interpretation of your lab. To this end, you are expected to keep a detailed lab notebook. A separate detailed handout will be provided. Briefly, a written lab plan (purpose, hypotheses, brief outline of procedure) and answered prelab questions are required prior to each lab (some labs excepted). You need to record your procedures and your data in your notebook before you leave the lab, and complete your analysis with a brief conclusion as soon as possible, including post-lab questions to be answered before the next lab period. Lab notebooks will be checked periodically during labs for completness, and will be collected and graded at the end of the semester.

Lab Quizzes (50 points): At the start of most labs you will take a short, timed quiz covering that day's pre-lab and the previous weeks post-lab. The questions will be based on specific pre- and post-lab questios in the lab manual.  You may use your lab notebooks (not the lab manual) during the quiz. These quizzes will primarily be multiple choice and short answer format.

Lab Reports (65 points): One complete formal lab report (The enzyme lab- 25 points)) will be turned in for grading towards the end of the semester. You will also be assigned minireports which may include graphs, introduction, results and discussion for other labs. DO NOT plagiarize the lab manual or other students. A grading rubric and a description of what needs to be in the report will be provided for each lab. A grading rubric and a description of what needs to be in the report will be provided for each lab. You will receive an F on the assignment if there is evidence of plagiarism; more than one violation will result in an F in the course and will be reported to the Dean's Office.  Consult sections on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism in the college catalog.

Lab Practical (35 points): A lab practical will be given toward the end of the semester. This lab practical will cover techniques such as microscopy and spectrophotometry, as well as factual information from the previous labs.

Extra Credit (up to 15 points): There will be 3 extra credit opportunities (5 points each) tied in to biology seminar attendance or student research presentations and subsequent timely (within a week) writeup. Students unable to attend due to class or sports team schedule conflicts will be provided an alternative assignment, if you come to me during the week of the presenation. I will not repond to extra credit requests past three days after the presentation.  The only opportunities for extra credit/additional assignments will be those assigned by me and available to the entire class. Please note that extra credit points have a minor effect on your overall grade. I do not give extra credit points on an individual basis, so don’t ask.


Attendance: There is a high correlation between class attendance and class performance (i.e., grade). Students who regularly miss class even once a week rarely get better than a D.  The short in-class quizzes will allow me to take attendance on a regular basis.  Do not miss labs. Make arrangements in advance if you need to miss a lab. In many cases labs can not be made up unless we can fit you into another lab section that same week. Each unexcused absence (up to 2) from a lab will result in a 25 point deduction from your gradeThree or more unexcused absences will result in an F in the course.

Classroom etiquette: Please turn off cell phones, ipads, etc. during lecture.  Please refrain from talking in class.  Ringing cell phones, texting, and talking during class are unnecessary  distractions.  You may be asked to leave the class for violations.  If you use a laptop for taking notes, check with me beforehand and sit near the front (it's easy to get distracted with the internet and games just a click away) .  Likewise, let me know if personal situations necessitate keeping a cell phone on.  During exams, electronic devices other than a calculator should be off and put away in a bag or backpack.  I will assume any texting or cell phone/ipad use during an exam is for the purpose of cheating. 

Lab periods are generally less formal and you will obviously need to talk to your lab partners.  In addition, many students find that cell phone cameras can be useful for documentation of lab results, and with practice, often take decent photos through a microscope.  However, labs do have quizzes and a lecture component, and the rules above will be applicable for those times. 


Put in the time you need to succeed- The rule of thumb is about two hours minimum per hour in class. For this biology class this means about 10 productive hours of work per week, plus in-class and lab time. For a 16 hour load this is about 40 hours of out-of-class time. Unlike many of your high school classes, out-of-class study time is really when you do most of your learning. College is a full time job - be sure to treat it as one.

Works with other students- Many students find that a study partner or two facilitates learning. Meet at a regular time in a place with minimal distractions. In some cases, you may be able to work in a group with a tutor.

Come to class prepared- This involves at least reading the appropriate part of the text book before class and reviewing your notes from the previous class.  The in class mini-quizzes are primarily an incentive to keep up.

Take notes in class- The PowerPoint slides are available on D2L. I will post these at least by the night before the lecture.  Downloaded and printed out, these can be used to facilitate note-taking in class.   They are not a substitute for note-taking. The slides contain figures and brief outlines, but generally lack the detailed descriptions provided in the lecture.  In this class you will be introduced to themes and concepts most of you have not seen before. I do my best to explain concepts such as oxidative phosphorylation, lagging-strand DNA synthesis, and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. These concepts are neither intuitive, nor simply memorized. Taking notes when I explain these concepts will aid you in mastering them. I will often write out diagrams, key definitions and concepts, on the chalkboard, and I give numerous examples and illustrations that are not on the slides.  The PowerPoints provide illustrations and organization. Some students find the PowerPoint handouts to be a distraction to note-taking. If so, put them aside, take notes in a regular notebook, and then consolidate your notes with the PowerPoints later on.

Take notes when reading your text- The textbook is well-written and is an important resource. You will use it in both Principles of Biology courses, and your upper level courses will build upon these courses (don't sell it back!). It is most useful when read at the time we cover the material in lecture. A quick skimming of the chapter before class with a more detailed reading immediately after the topic is covered is a good approach. The figures are especially useful, as these often sum up the topic or concept. Being able to reproduce key figures from memory, with appropriate labels, is a start at understanding. Explain to someone else what it means.  Ask questions as you read. If the section you are reading is about amino acids, read the section with the intent of answering "What is an amino acid? What is the structure of an amino acid? What is the significance of amino acids?" Write down questions as you read.

Compile your notes- Organize your lecture notes and notes you took from the text. I always found that recopying my notes reinforced information and helped me determine what I didn't understand.This can also include a listing of terms/definitions, and writing them out as flashcards.  However, do not simply memorize one-line definitions: they tend to be over-simplifications that don't describe the relationships, mechanisms, or structures in adequate detail. 

Get help early- See me during office hours, email me, or see a biology tutor. Biology tutors are available in the LAC in the library, through our graduate student assistants, and through Beta Beta Beta (information outside FSC 248). The night before the exam is ok for memorizing the fine details, but too late for figuring out major concepts!

Lecture, Exam  and Lab Schedule. 
Major deadlines for lab assignments are indicated.  D2L quizzes and other assignments will be announced in class and on D2L.



Labs - Tuesday 8:30-10:30; 11:00-1:00

M 1/20

MLK – no class

Lab- Overview of the scientific method, record keeping, and reports

W 1/22

Introduction and Chapter 1


F 1/24

Chapter 2 Basic Chemistry


M 1/27

Chapter 3 Water

Primary Literature Discussion/ Microscope Overview

W 1/29

Chapter 3 Water


F 1/31

Chapter 4 Carbon Chemistry


M 2/3

Chapter 4 Carbon Chemistry

Cells and Organic Molecules
Lab notebook check

W 2/5

Chapter 5 Macromolecules


F 2/7

Chapter 5 Macromolecules


M 2/10

Chapter 8 Intro to Metabolism

Osmosis Lab-

Minireport - Graphs (in D2Ldropbox) due Thursday 2/13.  Mini lab report (Results with graphs and rates, and discussion - Hard copy only)  for Osmosis Lab due Friday  2/21  

Lab notebook check

W 2/12

Chapter 8 Intro to Metabolism


F 2/14

Chapter 6 Cell Structure

M 2/17


Enzyme I - Graphs (in D2Ldropbox) due for Enzyme Lab I Friday 2/21

Lab notebook check

W 2/19

Exam 1 Chapters 1-5,8


F 2/21

Chapter 6 Cell Structure

M 2/24

Chapter 7 Membrane Structure and Function

Enzyme II - Graphs (in D2Ldropbox) due Friday 2/28. Full Lab report due in class Wednesday 3/5.  Hard copy only.
Lab notebook check

W 2/26

Chapter 7 Membrane Structure and Function


F 2/28

Chapter 9 Cellular Respiration

M 3/3

Chapter 9 Cellular Respiration

Photosynthesis & Respiration- Mini lab report for Photosynthesis Lab due Tuesday 3/11 in lab.  Hard copy only.  Lab notebook check

W 3/5

Chapter 9 Cellular Respiration


F 3/7

Chapter 10 Photosynthesis

M 3/10

Chapter 10 Photosynthesis

Cell reproductionLab notebook check

W 3/12

Exam 2 Chapters 6-10

F 3/13

Chapter 12 (Part of Chapter 19) Cell Cycle



Spring Break


M 3/24

Chapter 12 (Part of Chapter 19) Cell Cycle

Human Genetics

W 3/26

Chapter 13 Meiosis


F 3/28

Chapter 14 Mendelian Genetics


M 3/31

Chapter 14 Mendelian Genetics

Mendel's Peas- Mendel's Peas Mini Lab report due Tuesday 4/8 in lab.  Hard copy only.  Lab notebook check

W 4/2

Chapter 15 Chromosomal Basis of Inheritance


F 4/4

Chapter 15 Chromosomal Basis of Inheritance


M 4/7

Chapter 16 Molecular Basis of Inheritance

PV92  I / Ch. 20 DNA Tech.  Lab notebook check

W 4/9

Chapter 16  Molecular Basis of Inheritance


F 4/11

Chapter 17 Gene to Protein

M 4/14

Chapter 17 Gene to Protein

PV92  II / Ch. 20 DNA Tech. Lab notebook check

W 4/16



F 4/18

Exam 3 Chapters 12-17


M 4/21

Chapter 20 DNA Technology

PV92 III/Population genetics  

W 4/23

Chapter 22 Evolution


F 4/25

Chapter 23 Evolution of Populations


M 4/28

Chapter 23 Evolution of Populations


Lab notebooks due in lab

W 4/30

Chapter 21 (21.3-21.6) Genome organization and evolution


F 5/2

Final Review