Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Search Course IDs and descriptions for:

Find complete words only

Note: some or all of the courses in the subjects marked as "Transfer" can be used towards a transfer degree: Associate of Science and Arts or Associate of Engineering Science at DACC. Transferability for specific institutions and majors varies. Consult a counselor for this information.

Areas of Study | | BIOL100 syllabus

IAI CODE(S): L1 900L

This is an introductory course in life science emphasizing scientific inquiry of selected topics. Topics include the scientific method, ecology, animal behavior, and cellular biology. The course is designed for non-science major students and is less theoretical and more practical for this reason. Biological, political, ethical, and social issues will be integrated throughout each topic. Students will be required to read current news articles, participate in class discussions, and be able to think critically about these concepts. 3 lecture hours, 2 lab hours.

Place into ENGL101 and MATH107.

NOTES: A lab is required for this course. Some sections will require a separate lab, while other sections will include the lab.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe the core concepts of evolution, the scientific method, organism structure and function, ecology, animal behavior, chemistry of life, and cellular biology, respiration and photosynthesis.
  • Use appropriate terminology to communicate biological principles.
  • Apply the process of science through observation, experimentation and hypothesis testing
  • Operate basic laboratory equipment to execute biological studies.
  • Use evidence to develop informed opinions on contemporary biological issues
  • Distinguish scientific studies from pseudo science.

Weeks 1-2: Introduction, the Scientific Process & Experimental Design
The student should be able to:
  • list the characteristics of living things
  • relate the importance of science to everyday life --Societal Component
  • identify myths of scientific inquiry --Societal Component
  • describe the general steps of the scientific method
  • identify controls and variables of an experiment
  • describe the statistical methods used to analyze data
Weeks 3-6: Ecology
The student should be able to:
  • define ecology, populations, communities, ecosystems, biomes, and biosphere and give examples of each
  • trace the flow of energy through an ecosystem utilizing a food web with at least 4 trophic levels
  • differentiate between the species, population and community components of an ecosystem
  • list and describe the characteristics of major terrestrial biomes and discuss human impact on each biome
  • describe primary and secondary succession, and contrast pioneer vs.climax communities
  • describe how a biomass pyramid indicates distribution of biomass in an ecosystem
  • describe or discuss how living organisms are limited or adapted to particular physical conditions within a given ecosystem
  • outline major biogeochemical cycles and discuss recycling as it occurs through the trophic levels, and the implications of this to man --Societal Component
  • list and discuss the factors which may affect a population growth
  • describe various ways population sizes are determined by sampling
  • discuss intraspecific and interspecific interactions, including symbioses
  • explain the concept of ecological footprints and what they mean to the future of Earth --Societal Component
  • explain the types of human activities that affect biodiversity --Societal Component
  • discuss how habitat loss occurs --Societal Component
  • describe why it is important to sustain intact ecosystems rather than an individual species --Societal Component
  • explain how different sizes and shapes of habitats can affect biodiversity --Societal Component
  • discuss the importance of extinction as a normal biological event and that humans have accelerated it in many cases --Societal Component
  • explain the factors that lead to species extinction --Societal Component
  • describe how invasive species can cause habitat loss --Societal Component
  • explain the impacts of global climate change on biome--Societal Component
  • compare the direct and indirect economic values of biodiversity--Societal Component
  • explain why biodiversity on the planet has ethical and aesthetic values--Societal Component
  • be able to cite some examples to support these values --Societal Component
Weeks 7-9: Animal Behavior
The student should be able to:
  • explain the beliefs of the 3 or 4 most important men in the science of ethology
  • differentiate between animal behavior (ethology) and psychology
  • list four basic criteria for instinctive behavior
  • differentiate between instinctive and learned behavior
  • compare and contrast advantages and disadvantages of learned and instinctive behavior in different groups of animals
  • define anthropomorphism and discuss pitfalls involved in this type of thought
  • describe taxes, reflexes, and kineses types of behavior in various animals
  • list a series of fixed action patterns in man or another animal and be able to interpret these
  • discuss the survival value of behavior
  • discuss ways in which sense organs, nervous systems, muscles, and glands contribute to the behavior of animals
  • cite evidence for behavioral modification in animals --Societal Component
  • classify examples of learning as, habituation, conditioning, trial and error, and insight learning
  • describe various methods of communication between animals
  • describe the impact of environment upon behavior
  • describe the internal workings of a typical animal hierarchy, peck order, or social system
  • define sociobiology and relate it to altruistic behavior --Societal Component
Weeks 10-11: Chemistry of Life
The student should be able to:
  • Describe matter and elements
  • Describe the interrelationship between protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the ways in which electrons can be donated or shared between atoms
  • Describe the properties of water that are critical to maintaining life
  • Describe the ways in which carbon is critical to life
  • Explain the impact of slight changes in amino acids on organisms
  • Describe the four major types of biological molecules
  • Understand the functions of the four major types of molecules --Societal Component
  • Explain how the macromolecules relate to the energy and cellular needs of our everyday life
Weeks12-14: Cellular Biology
The student should be able to:
  • list the four major organic chemical groups that make up living tissue
  • describe the functions of the above four groups within a cell
  • discuss the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • diagram and properly label a typical animal cell
  • differentiate between plant and animal cells in at least four ways
  • list the functions for each part of a typical cell
  • compare and contrast osmosis and diffusion as necessary process in cell function
  • give actual examples of diffusion and osmosis using living cells in differing situations
  • describe facilitated diffusion and active transport
Weeks 15-16: Respiration and Photosynthesis
The student should be able to:
  • briefly outline the process of photosynthesis relating its role to ecology
  • locate the site photosynthesis in a plant cell
  • describe the role of plant pigments in photosynthesis
  • outline the process of respiration in cells
  • differentiate between aerobic and anaerobic respiration
  • indicate whether energy is either used or produced in both photosynthesis and respiration
  • discuss critically, man's impact of the photosynthetic capability of the world --Societal Component
Current Events
  • All students will present contemporary news, discoveries, and issues in biology; students are expected to express informed positions or opinions and respect the positions of other students
Service Learning Component
  • Select sections of this course require students to participate in a biology-related services learning project
  • Students are required to work as a team and spend a minimum of 6 hours working with a community group related to an approved biological science topic
  • Students will present their project to the class by completing a group oral presentation
Lab Schedule:
Week Lab Title Activity Skills Delivery Method Activity Time
1 Scientific Method Students work with pillbugs to develop and test hypotheses
  • Using the scientific method
  • Working with live specimens
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
2 Mark-Recapture Students capture, mark, release, and recapture grasshoppers to estimate their population in a given area. Estimating populations
  • Using the scientific method
  • Working with live specimens
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
3 Sampling Ecosystems (forest) Students measure and compare the abiotic components of a forest and grassland ecosystem. Students also discuss how the abiotic components affect the biotic components of the areas.
  • Identifying biotic and abiotic factors of an ecosystem
  • Defining and giving examples of producers, consumers, and decomposers
  • Using equipment to measure abiotic factors
  • Using the scientific method
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
4 Sampling Ecosystems (aquatic) Students measure the abiotic components of an aquatic ecosystem. Students also discuss how the abiotic components affect the biotic components of the areas.
  • Identifying biotic and abiotic factors of an ecosystem
  • Defining and giving examples of producers, consumers, and decomposers
  • Using equipment to measure abiotic factors
  • Using the scientific method
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on and Virtual Lab 2.0
5 Symbiotic Relationships Students observe various symbiotic relationships and describe how their association affects each other
  • Defining and differentiating three forms of symbiotic relationships
  • Examining and identifying relationships of different specimens
  • Using the scientific method
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
6 Effects of Pollution Students experiment to see the effects of pollution on ecosystems
  • Identifying causes and effects of pollution
  • Determining the effects of pollution on specimens
  • Using the scientific method
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
7 Planet Earth Videos Students compare the abiotic and biotic components of different grassland and forest ecosystems across the planet
  • Hypothesizing the differences between grassland and forest biomes
  • Identifying abiotic and biotic components of each biome
  • Understanding the diversity of life and habitat within and between biomes
Video 2.0
8 Illinois Ecology -- Outdoor Stations Students learn about a variety of ecological features of Illinois and how diversity is measured
  • Evaluating data
  • Logical reasoning
  • Understanding of Illinois diverse ecosystems
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
9 Chemical Composition of Cells Students will investigate the chemical composition of everyday materials and how they relate to the macromolecules needed to maintain life.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids in cells
  • Testing the chemical composition of everyday materials for proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids
  • Using the scientific method
  • Using logical reasoning to evaluate unknown samples
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
10 Cell Structure and Function Students will investigate the components and functions of cellular components. Students will also compare prokaryotic to eukaryotic cells and plant to animal cells
  • Identify the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • Identifying differences between plant and animal cells
  • Hypothesizing and testing direction of movement of substances across membranes
  • Hypothesizing and testing pH changes
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
11 Enzymes Students investigate why enzymes are important for maintaining life. Students also investigate how enzyme activity is affected by heat, acid, and substrate concentration.
  • Discussing the relationship of substrate, enzyme and product
  • Hypothesizing and testing the effects of temperature, pH, and concentration on enzymatic activity
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on and Virtual Lab 2.0
12 Photosynthesis Students will investigate the process of photosynthesis and how this process relates to all life on the planet
  • Demonstrating the process of chromatography to separate and evaluate pigments of plants
  • Demonstrating photosynthesis in plants
  • Demonstrating the production of carbon dioxide from humans
  • Conducting experiments
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
13 Cellular Respiration Students will examine the process of cellular respiration in germinating beans and in humans
  • Demonstrating cellular respiration using beans
  • Conducting experiments
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
14 Large Animal Behavior lab Students observe and compare the innate behaviors of different small mammals
  • Hypothesizing behavioral difference of small mammals
  • Observing animal behaviors
  • Using the scientific method
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0
15 Small animal/invertebrate behavior lab Students investigate the innate behaviors of fish, crickets, fruit flies, snakes, and gecko
  • Hypothesizing innate behaviors
  • Using the scientific method
  • Observing animal behavior
  • Collaboration skills
Hands-on 2.0

Online Textbook:
Concepts of Biology, Samantha Fowler et. al,

Custom lab manual

Note Packet

See bookstore website for current book(s) at

Your grade will be determined by your scores on the following:
4 Unit exams
15 Lab reports
Quizzes, homework, in-class, professionalis
Cumulative final exam or Service Learning Project Group Presentation

Your total accumulated points will be divided by the total points possible to determine your percentage. At the end of the semester, that percentage will determine your grade as follows:
A= 90 - 100%
B= 80 - 89%
C= 70 - 79%
D= 60 - 69%
F= 60% and below


Membership in the DACC community brings both rights and responsibility. As a student at DACC, you are expected to exhibit conduct compatible with the educational mission of the College. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, is not tolerated. A DACC student is also required to abide by the acceptable use policies of copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct as contained in the DACC Student Handbook. The Student Handbook is available in the Information Office in Vermilion Hall and online at:

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Testing & Academic Services Center at 217-443-8708 (TTY 217-443-8701) or stop by Cannon Hall Room 103. Please speak with your instructor privately to discuss your specific accommodation needs in this course.

Fall 2019

Upcoming Events