Principles of Biology

Course Number: BI 211
Transcript Title: Principles of Biology
Created: September 1, 2013
Updated: December 5, 2016
Total Credits: 5
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 30
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 95 or higher or equivalent placement test scores

Prerequisite / Concurrent

CH 100 or higher; or instructor permission

Course Description

Includes introduction to science, biochemistry, metabolism, the cell, molecular biology, and reproduction. Includes inheritance, the genetic code, modern and classical genetics. The first course of a three-course sequence for students majoring in biology and the sciences, including pre-medical, pre-dental, chiropractic, pharmacy, and related fields. Recommended: High school biology and chemistry within the past seven years. Prerequisites: MTH 95 or higher or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121; CH 100 or higher, or instructor permission. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Apply biological theories and concepts from biochemistry and cell biology to novel problems in their lives and community (personal, work, and career).
  2. Use the scientific method, including experimental design, data collection, and presentations of results and conclusions while analyzing their individual thinking and learning styles and how their styles can be integrated with methods used in science.
  3. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of scientific studies in biochemistry and cell biology and critically examine the influence of scientific and technical knowledge of biochemistry and cell biology on human society and the environment.
  4. Develop informed positions and opinions on contemporary issues in biochemistry and cell biology, while considering ethical, scientific, community, and cultural implications.
  5. Communicate concepts in genetics, biochemistry and cell biology using appropriate terminology in both written and verbal forms.
  6. Competently enter and complete further work in the sciences, including Biology 212 and upper level courses in biochemistry and cell biology.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)
4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Open-ended essay questions and multiple-choice exams
  • Scientific papers that follow standard scientific format presenting independent investigations and may include peer-review(s)
  • Oral presentations of biological information, informed positions on contemporary issues, and/or laboratory results
  • Classroom assessments, such as, quizzes, one minute summaries, pre-test/post-tests, etc.
  • Major independent projects, such as, experiential learning plus journals, botany collections with ecosystem reports, library research term papers, and field journals.
  • Scientific article critiques
  • Laboratory practical exams
  • Small projects and homework assignments.

Course Activities and Design

This course will be taught in a traditional lecture and laboratory format. Lecture will be presented utilizing a variety of multimedia and interactive presentations. Laboratory experiences will be largely hands-on and team-based, utilizing a variety of resources including (but not limited to): multimedia, prepared microscope slides, plant, human and animal specimens.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Themes and Concepts include:

  1. The properties of living things
  2. Basic chemistry
  3. How properties of water affect living things
  4. Basic organic chemistry
  5. Functional characteristics of organic macromolecules
  6. Biochemical pathways and enzymes
  7. Cell microanatomy
  8. Membrane structure and function
  9. Aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration
  10. Photosynthesis
  11. Binary fission and mitosis
  12. Meiosis and sexual life cycles
  13. Introduction to genetics including Mendelian genetics
  14. Genetics of viruses and bacterial (optional)
  15. Gene expression in eukaryotes (optional)
  16. DNA technology (optional)


Biology 211 is relevant to many contemporary issues that may be discussed and explored during the course, such as, effects of pollution in aquatic systems, applications of gene therapy, dwindling biodiversity, global warming, acid rain, overpopulation, unknown impacts of genetically modified organisms, etc.

Competencies and Skills:

  • Read scientific literature
  • Apply the scientific method
  • Use laboratory techniques and equipment
  • Locate and access biological information
  • Think critically
  • Collaborate with peers -- work effectively in groups
  • Articulate scientific processes in written and oral format
  • Present data in papers using the scientific format
  • Present conclusions logically

Department Notes

Columbia Gorge Community College Science Department stands by the following statement about regarding science instruction:

Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. Theories (such as biological evolution and geologic time scale) are developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance. As such, scientific theories can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation. “Creation science", “Intelligent design” or similar beliefs are not considered legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

The Science Department at Columbia Gorge Community College, therefore stands with organizations such as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula except to reference and/or clarify its invalidity.