Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval

Department or Program: Biology

Course Number: BIOL 242

Number of Credits: 4

Course Title: Principles of Biology II

Catalog Description: Principles of Biology 242 - 4 S.H. One of two introductory courses, both of which are required of all biology majors. Introduces ways in which organisms carry out basic life processes (e.g., gas exchange, nutrition) and interactions between organisms and their environment.  Lecture and laboratory. Offered each semester

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2: Yes

This is a new course proposal: No.
(If this is a new course proposal, the WSU Curriculum Approval Form must also be completed as in the process prescribed by WSU Regulation 3-4.)

Department contact Person for this course: Michael D. Delong


A2C2 requires 55 copies of the proposal

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The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in (select one area only):

Course Requirements:

A. Basic Skills:
     1. College Reading and Writing ____
     2. Oral Communication ____
     3. Mathematics ____
     4. Physical Development and Wellness ____

B. Arts & Sciences Core:
     1. Humanities ____
     2. Natural Sciences    X  
     3. Social Science ____
     4. Fine & Performing Arts ____
C. Unity and Diversity:
     1. Critical Analysis ____
     2. Science and Social Policy ____
     3.a. Global Perspectives ____
        b. Multicultural Perspectives ____
     4.a. Contemporary Citizenship ____
        b. Democratic Institutions ____
D. Flagged Courses
     1. Writing ____
     2. Oral ____
     3.a. Mathematics/Statistics ____
        b. Critical analysis ____
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Approval/Disapproval Recommendations

Department Recommendation:  Approved   Yes           Disapproved _____       Date 22 Sept 2000

Dean's Recommendation:  Approved             Disapproved           Date                   

USS Recommendation:  Approved             Disapproved           Date                   

A2C2 Recommendation:  Approved             Disapproved           Date                   

Faculty Senate Recommendation:  Approved             Disapproved           Date                   

Academic Vice President's Recommendation:  Approved             Disapproved           Date                   

President's Decision:  Approved             Disapproved           Date                   

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Material Submitted for Course Approval

Overview of BIO 242 Principles of Biology II: BIO 242 Principles of Biology II is designed to the meet the needs of several populations of students. BIO 242 satisfies the needs of biology majors in all of the various options by providing one of two courses which together cover the breadth of biology at a level appropriate for first year college students with strong backgrounds in high school chemistry, biology and mathematics. The course also meets the needs of education majors who will someday be certified to teach science classes at the K through 12 levels. The course meets the needs of highly motivated and well-prepared students desiring to satisfy their Natural Science Core requirement.

Principles of Biology II begins by examining and introducing some of the common themes in biology. These themes include: bulletscience as the pursuit of knowledge and as a body of knowledge, bullethierarchial levels, bulletdevelopment of evolutionary thought, bulletmicroevolution and macroevolution bulletproperties unique to life bulletorganismal diversity, bulletphylogenetic relationships of organisms, bulletmechanisms for carrying out life processes, bulletorganismal/environmental interactions, bulletand an introduction to ecological principles.

There is some overlap of these principles with those described for BIO 241, but that is to be expected given the interdependency of the disciplines of biology (e.g., cell, genetics, ecology).  One important area of commonality is the discussion of evolution.  This is also expected because "nothing in biology makes sense without the light of evolution."  The areas examined within this topic, however, do differ between the two courses.

BIO 242 uses a "building block approach" for much of its content.  This begins with examining the history of the development of evolutionary thought before and beyond Darwin and continues with phylogenetic relationships from the bacteria to multicellular eukaryotes.  This approach emhpasizes the hierarchical nature of much of what we see and study in biology.

The course also emphasizes the diversity of organisms and the properties within each group that allows for this diversity.  Important within this is an examination of organismal form and function; that is, the mechanisms present within different group for carrying out basic life processes.  This is overlapped with the role of the environment since so many of the mechanisms responsible for life processes are a reflections of adaptations for a given set of environmental conditions.

BIO 242 closes by laying the groundwork for the first course in the biology major sophomore sequence, general ecology.  Students are given a very brief introduction to ecological principles primarily to demonstrate interactions that are evident between organisms.

BIO 242 also includes a required laboratory component.  The laboratory provides an opportunity to do hands-on activities related to the topics covered in lecture.  The laboratories focus emphasize a "learning by doing" approach.  Laboratory exercises also encourage the development of scientific thought and reasoning, including student-initiated investigations and inquiry-based learning.

Course Syllabus Link for BIOL 242 Principles of Biology II

Syllabus - Outcomes Grid

Topics: Outcomes
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Lectures X X X X X X X
Laboratories X X X X X X X
Lecture Assignments X X X X X X X
Investigative Project X X X X X X X
Laboratory Assignments X X X X X   X
Exams and Quizzes X X X       X
Writing/Editing Assignment X X X X X X X


1. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:
understand how scientists approach and solve problems in the natural sciences.

This is such an integral component of the course that it is the first item discussed in both lecture and laboratory.  Students are introduced to the scientific method and the importance of using the existing body of knowledge in developing their perception of science.  The goal is to instill these thoughts early so that students will use the scientific approach in all of their investigations and studies throughout the course.   This is examplified by the first laboratory assignment.



2. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:
Apply those methods to solve problems that arise in the natural sciences.

Application of scientific principles is essential at this level if students are to truly understand them.  This is the primary benefit of having a laboratory as part of this course.  While the lecture provides the concepts and discussion of applications, the laboratory provides the opportunity for first-hand demonstrations of these principles through the performing of various exercises.



3. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:
use inductive reasoning, mathematics, or statistics to solve problems in natural science.

All of these components are essential to a thorough understanding of biology and are included in the BIO 242.  An example can be seen in the natural selection laboratory.



4. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:
engage in independent and collaborative learning.

BIO 242 promotes both independent and collaborative learning in the lecture and laboratory.  Individual assignments and projects encourage students to work on their own to address key questions.  Laboratory assignments are commonly addressed in a group environment, allowing students to offer and discuss hypotheses and conclusions.   An excellent example of collaborative learning is their work on group research projects.



5. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:
identify, find, and use the tools of information science as it relates to natural science.

Many lecture and laboratory assignments require students to search information from library or web-based resources.  Reading of relevant scientific literature is strongly encouraged and often required.  A key component in this as been the implementation of laptop-assecible materials through the laptop initiative.



6. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:
critically evaluate both source and content of scientific information.

This is done specifically in the research paper associated with this course.  Other assignments throughout the semester promote student inquiries into scientific literature, including basic interpretation.



7. Requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:
recognize and correct scientific misconceptions.

The initial steps in this course - what is scientific investigation, how is it done, and what is a theory - are intended to help students use scientific rather than emotional judgments of scientific content.   If students better understand the process, they will be able to recognize misconceptions and poor applications of scientific information.