NS 254 - Biology and Lab  


This course provides a basic foundation in the area of the biological sciences. It focuses primarily on areas of biochemistry, the organization and function of cells, the transmission of genetic information as well as a basic introduction to evolution. The lab component emphasizes the use of the scientific method, experimental design, lab safety and the use of basic scientific equipment.

Biology and Lab Syllabus 

Spring 2013


Instructors:      Charlotte Rosendahl and Jody Stoddard

Teaching Assistant:   Allyson Makuch

Class website:  biologyandlab.weebly.com


Course Description:

This course provides a basic foundation in the area of the biological sciences. It focuses primarily on areas of biochemistry, the organization and function of cells, and the transmission of genetic information. The lab component emphasizes the use of the scientific method, experimental design, lab safety and the use of basic scientific equipment.

Course Objectives:

As a prerequisite for upper level science classes, this course gives the students an overview of the cellular processes and stresses the connections between the topics mentioned in the course description. The students will develop an understanding of how experiments are designed and start to explorer how statistics plays a key role in this. Students will become familiar the basic vocabulary of biology and use this knowledge to start reading scientific literature and write their own. The course will relate the topics discussed to the everyday life of the student and thereby emphasize the importance of understanding the topics. Through this, the major objective of establishing a sound foundation of knowledge of basic cellular and molecular biology, that the student can build on throughout their degree, will be achieved.

Text required:

Life: The Science of Biology Vol. I ISBN-10: 1429246456                       

Expectations of students:

Students are expected to have read the written material provided BEFORE coming to class. Students are responsible for the contents of the text assigned and the contents of the lectures. To maximize learning, regular attendance is required at all class meetings. Late assignments are NOT accepted and make-up tests are not possible except in the event of serious injury or illness.


Assignments and points: TOTAL POINTS POSSIBLE - 770

Mini-exam: Each exam will be about 30 minutes long and will be administered at the end of the class.  There will be 2 quizzes total and each are worth 50 points. Points 100. 

Midterm and a Comprehensive Final each worth 100 points.

Online Homework (OH):  Every week there will be online homework on the class website.  The Homework content will be based on the topic cover in class that particular week and is designed to help you learn the material in a different way. You need to have done the home work (and submitted what is requested) before Sunday at midnight. Each Online Homework is worth 10 points – total of 100 points.

Vocabulary Definition Reflections (VDR): When we start a new topic you will be handed a vocabulary definitions list that you need to have filled out for the following class. The definitions need to be written in your own words - not copied from the back for the book or the internet. You will be paired up with another student and you will together reflect on any disagreements, misconceptions or difficulties you had understanding the vocabulary given. You will hand in your VDR with your reflection. 12 VDR – 5 points each – total of 60 points.

Lab Write-up:  Every lab there will have a pre-lab and the actual lab exercise available on the class website – see schedule below for an example of a study week. The pre-lab is due at the beginning of the lab and it is meant to help you review material needed to understand the lab, to assure that you have read the lab before coming to class and to prepare you for the discussion portion of the lab. The rest of the write-up is due at the beginning of the following week’s lab. No points will be given if a lab session is not attended. 7 lab write-ups each worth 25 points – total 175. 

Scientific Papers: There will be three scientific papers. These are different from the lab write-up since they are done on experiments designed by you (or us). This assignment will teach you how you would present the findings after conducting real research. Each report is worth 45 points – total 135.

Lab Safety and Skills Test:  This test is part of the risk management procedure developed for the lab and you have to PASS this test. A failure to do so will result in an incomplete in the class until the test has been passed. You can take the test as many times as you would like. The test will be administered at the end of the class, but in each lab we will discuss safety issues and build skills that will be part of the final test. This test is also required for you to be able to use the lab for independent studies as well as senior projects.

Other things that will help you learn:  The books website has lots of material to be used to help you learn and the end of the chapter questions are good to use to review the chapters.  After each topic there will be an assessment quiz given in class.  Completing the assessment quiz will earn you extra credit if you do well and also help identify areas that you need to re-visit. Also please, use our office hours and ask questions in class.


Example of a study week for Biology (example has lab on Tuesday):






8:30-10:00 pm Biology


Review your notes

Read Biology text for Tuesday

8:30-10:00 pm


 Review your notes

Start the Online Homework

1-2:30 pm




Finish your biology lab – turn in Tuesday


Read biology text for Monday

Finish your answer to the blog by Sunday at midnight


Print, read and do pre-lab for Tuesday


A   = 93-100                            B-  = 79-83                   D+ = 66-69

A-   = 89-93                               C+ = 76-79                   D  = 63-66

B+  = 86-89                              C  = 73-76                    D- = 60-63

B   =  83-86                             C- = 69-73                    F   = < 60


There will be no curving of the grades. A straight percentage scale will be used.

Academic integrity:

Scholastic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. You are expected to have read and understood the current issue of the student handbook regarding student responsibilities and rights, and the intellectual property policy, for information about procedures and about what constitutes acceptable on-campus behavior.  

Students with disabilities:

Students bring a variety of learning styles to class.  We do our best to support different learning modes by mixing lecture, discussion, hands-on work, and visual information.  Please feel free to let us know what mode works best for you—we will do our best to accommodate your learning style.   If you have a learning challenge or documented disability, please check in with Leland Peterson, Learning Support Coordinator. Leland can help you determine accommodations that can be helpful in this course.


Information contained in this syllabus other than the grading, late assignments, makeup work and attendance policies may be subject to change with advance notice as deemed appropriate by the instructor.