Biology 138

Welcome to Biology 138!

This Biology course may be very different from previous experiences in science. This class follows a collaborative model whereby students will be expected to keep a science notebook and work with classmates to investigate various scientific phenomena. 

Below are some guidelines of what this class is and what it is not to help students realize their full academic potential.

Stage of the Instructional Model

The BSCS 5E Instructional Model

What the Student Does

consistent with this model

inconsistent with this model


  • Asks questions such as Why did this happen? What do I already know about this? What can I find out about this?

  • Shows interest in the topic

  • Asks for the “right” answer

  • Offers the “right” answer

  • Insists on answers or explanations

  • Seeks one solution


  • Thinks freely, but within the limits of the activity

  • Tests predictions and hypotheses

  • Forms new predictions and hypotheses

  • Tries alternatives and discusses them with others

  • Records observations and ideas

  • Suspends judgment

  • Lets others do the thinking and exploring (passive involvement)

  • Works quietly with little or no interaction with others (only appropriate when exploring ideas or feelings)

  • “Plays around” indiscriminately with no goal in mind

  • Stops with one solution


  • Explains possible solutions or answers to others

  • Listens critically to others’ explanations

  • Questions others’ explanations

  • Listens to and tries to comprehend explanations that the teacher offers

  • Refers to previous activities

  • Uses recorded observations in explanations

  • Proposes explanations from “thin air” with no relationship to previous experiences

  • Brings up irrelevant experiences and examples

  • Accepts explanations without justification

  • Does not attend to other plausible explanations


  • Applies new labels, definitions, explanations, and skills in new but similar situations

  • Uses previous information to ask questions, propose solutions, make decisions, and design experiments

  • Draws reasonable conclusions from evidence

  • Records observations and explanations

  • Checks for understanding among peers

  • “Plays around” with no goal in mind

  • Ignores previous information or evidence

  • Draws conclusions from “thin air”

  • In discussion, uses only those labels that the teacher provided


  • Answers open-ended questions by using observations, evidence, and previously accepted explanations

  • Demonstrates an understanding or knowledge of the concept or skill

  • Evaluates his or her own progress and knowledge

  • Asks related questions that would encourage future investigations

  • Draws conclusions, not using evidence or previously accepted explanations

  • Offers only yes-or-no answers and memorized definitions or explanations as answers

  • Fails to express satisfactory explanations in his or her own words

  • Introduces new, irrelevant topics


Additional Resources:

For Students with an iOS Device (Apple)