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BI 221

BI 221

BI221: Principles of Biology

Course Description

BI221: Principles of Biology fills the Perspectives category of Biological and Physical Sciences. It does this by providing an introduction to fundamental biological concepts and theories about the chemical and molecular basis of life, structure and function, transformation of energy and matter and information flow at a cellular and molecular level. More specifically, we begin by answering questions including: What is the molecular basis for the function of macromolecules? How do organelles work together to carry out diverse functions of the cell? How do cells transform energy to do work? We then transition to discussing genetics, and answering questions including: What are alleles? How is genetic information transferred between generations of cells, and organisms? Can we predict genetic characteristics in future generations of offspring?

There are 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab each week. BI221 is offered during Fall term and Summer Session and is a pre-requistite for BI222 and Bi223.


This course is for life science majors and pre-professional students.

BI221 Course Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Describe the building blocks and synthesis of the major classes of biomolecules and the contribution of their three-dimensional structure to their functions. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)
  2. Model cell components, emphasizing them as a system of interacting parts. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)
  3. Predict how a molecule’s movement is affected by its thermal energy, size, electrochemical gradient, and biochemical properties. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)
  4. Describe and relate anabolic (photosynthesis) and catabolic (respiration and fermentation) pathways emphasizing the transformation of energy and matter. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)
  5. Articulate how cells store, use, and transmit genomic information. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)
  6. Illustrate how conservation of the genetic code and the varying effects of mutations facilitate evolution. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)
  7. Model the processes by which evolution allows for the emergence of cell complexity and diversity. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)
  8. Explain how mutation and genetic recombination contribute to phenotypic variation. (BCLO 1, 2,& 3)

Shared Course Learning Outcomes with BI222 and BI223

  1. Generate questions and construct testable hypotheses about biological mechanisms based on observations of the natural world. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  2. Design an experiment using appropriate methodology (experimental techniques, controls, data collection and analysis), reach conclusions and identify future lines of inquiry. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  3. Integrate subdisciplinary concepts from within and outside biology to address complex problems. (BLCO 3)
  4. Identify ways that interdisciplinary concepts are used to explain biological phenomena. (BLCO 1 &3)
  5. Defend a viewpoint on a socio-scientific issue based on biological research. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  6. Evaluate multiple representations (e.g., diagrams, physical models, mathematical relationships) by comparing the applications, strengths, and limitations of different models and their relationship to real biological systems. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  7. Create models (e.g., cartoon, schematic, flow chart, interpretive dance, etc.) to demonstrate biological concepts or systems. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  8. Apply quantitative skills to biological problems. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  9. Explain and use mathematical relationships relevant to biology. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  10. Work productively in teams with diverse perspectives.
  11. Share ideas with peers clearly and accurately using scientific conventions.
  12. Effectively communicate experimental outcomes using professional scientific formats (e.g. report, poster, presentation). (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)
  13. Read and interpret primary scientific literature. (BCLO 1, 2, & 3)