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Chapter 1

Page history last edited by Shelly Turner 7 years, 2 months ago

Chapter 1:  Biology and You



What is Biology? 

Biology – the study of living and once-living things

bio – life

ology – the study of

biologist – a person who studies living and once-living things


Lab Safety

Watch this video:  http://youtu.be/XYbOSmYme6Y


Seven themes in Biology/The Characteristics of Life 



1.     Cellular Structure and Function

a)    All living things are made of one or more cells

b)    The cell is the smallest unit if life and is highly organized

c)    Organisms may be made of one cell or many cells

2.     Reproduction

a)    All living things can make more of themselves

b)    Reproduction is essential to the survival of a species

3.     Metabolism

a)    Defined as the sum of all chemical reactions in an organism

b)    Provides energy for all life functions

4.     Homeostasis

a)    Living things must maintain a stable internal environment

b)    This balance in the internal environment is called homeostasis

5.     Heredity

a)    Defined as the ability to pass on traits to offspring

b)    Genes - sets of instructions for making proteins and the mechanism for passing on traits

c)    Mutations - any change in a gene; can be positive, negative or neutral

d)    Mutations that occur in the sex cells will be passed down to the next generation; mutations occurring in somatic (other body cells) will not

6.     Evolution

a)    Defined as change in inherited traits of a species over time

b)    Species - any group of genetically similar (same type/number of genes) individuals that can produce fertile offspring (offspring that can reproduce)

c)    Individuals with favorable genes are more likely to live, reproduce and pass on their genes; making those traits more prominent in the population.  Darwin called this natural selection.

7.     Interdependence

a)    Organisms interact with and often depend on each other

b)    Ecology - the study of these interactions



The Microscope

light microscope – a piece of equipment that magnifies small objects so they can be observed by the naked eye

stereomicroscope – used to view large objects and things through which light cannot pass


microscope parts:



      low-power objective

      high power objective


      stage clips

      coarse adjustment

      fine adjustment

      revolving nosepiece


      light source









The Metric System


International System of Units


SI – International System of Units – a measuring system based on units of 10

      length – meter (m)

      volume – cubic meter (m3) – length x width x height (1ml = 1/1000m3)

      mass – kilogram (kg)

      time – second (s)

      temperature – Kelvin (K), celcius (°c)


The Metric System


In order to be able to communicate with each other, scientists all use the same standard system of measurements known as the International System of Units (SI). This system is also known as the metric system because it is based on multiples of ten.


Common SI Prefixes:


kilo- k 1000
hecto h 100
deka- da 10
deci- d 0.1 or 1/10
centi- c 0.01 0r 1/100
milli- m 0.001 or 1/1000


Advantages of the Metric System

  1. The metric system is much easier.  All metric units are related by units of 10.
  2. Nearly the entire world (95%) uses the metric system except the United States.
  3. The metric system is used exclusively in science.  This makes scientists able to communicate no matter what their language.
  4. Because the metric system uses units relatd by factors of ten and the type of units (distance, area, volume, mass) are simply-related, performing calculations with the metric system is much easier.


Measuring Length--the common SI measure of length is the meter (m).


Measuring Volume--the common SI measure of volume is the liter (l). 


Common conversions include: 1 L = 1000 mL

Scientists use a graduated cylinder to measure liquid volume.


Measuring Mass--the common SI measure of mass is the gram (g).

Common conversions include: 1 kg - 1000 g

Scientists use a balance scale to measure mass or weight.


Measuring Temperature--the common SI measure of temperature is in degrees Celsius (°C). The boiling point of water (at sea level) is 100°Celsius, or 100°C. The freezing point of water (at sea level) is 0° Celsius. A hot day is about 30° Celsius.


Scientists use a thermometer to measure temperature.


Biology in Your World



The Scientific Method



Scientific Method – a series of steps to solve problems

1.  State the problem

2.  Gather Information

3.  Form a hypothesis

4.  Test the hypothesis

5.  Record and analyze data

6.  State the conclusion

7.  Repeat the work


Many scientists use a process know as the scientific method to solve a science experiment.  this is a five step process with the same general pattern.


hypothesis – a statement tat can be tested

experiment – a series of steps with controlled conditions used to test a hypothesis

data – recorded facts or measurements from an experiment

theory – a hypothesis that has been tested again and again by many scientists, with similar results each time.

control – a standard for comparing results

Control group – receives no experimental treatment

Experimental group - receives the experimental treatment

variable – something that causes the changes observed in an experiment

Independent variable – the factor that is varied of changed

Dependent variable – the factor that is measured (will be affected by the independent variable)












1. Asking a question(state the problem)

Any scientific experiment begins with a question. What am I looking for as I do this experiment? This scientific question must be one that can be answered by gathering information. To answer your question, you as a scientist will carry on an investigation (do the experiment) and gather information (data).

Good examples: What is the relationship between time, speed and distance? How does temperature affect melting? How can you determine the diet of an owl? 

Not-so-good examples: How far can you walk in five seconds at a normal pace, a slow pace, and a regular place? If you place an ice cube in a warm place and a cool place, which one will melt faster? What happens when you dissect owl pellets?


2.  Gather Information

Before an answers can be predicted, a scientist needs to gather information.  This process may be in the form of obeservations, gathering numerical data, or gathering informaiton from other scientists and their experiments. 

Good examples: Observing the swimming habits of salmon in a river.  Evaluating the results of another scientists experiments. 

Not-so-good examples: Not making any observations or evaluations before proceding on to step 3.


3. Developing a hypothesis (form a hypothesis)

You have a question that needs an answer. It is time for you, as a scientist, to make a guess or prediction as to the outcome of the experiment. Your prediction is really an "educated guess" that is based on your past experience and knowledge of the subject. You will then test your hypothesis.

A properly worded hypothesis begins with if and has a then in the middle of the statement. The hypothesis serves as an outline of the experiment you will be performing.


Good examples: If you walk at various speeds, then the distance and time will be affected. If you expose a substance to different temperatures, then the melting rates will vary. If you examine the contents of an owl pellet, then you will be able to determine its feeding priorities.

Not-so-good examples: If you walk fast for 5 seconds and slower for five seconds, then you will walk the five meters at different times and distances. Ice cubes in the sun will melt faster because they are not in a cool place. Owl pellets show you all the stuff inside the owl.


4. Procedure for the experiment (test the hypothesis)

The procedure is the step-by-step plan you follow in order to complete the experiment. The procedure is your designed plan to test the hypothesis. You must consider all variables when making your plan. The procedure is like a recipe. If your procedure is written properly, everyone else who follows those directions will make the same observations or measurements as you did.


Good examples:  List step by step what you did. It's like giving someone directions to your house. You must include the specific items necessary to get there.

Not-so-good examples:  omit details that are necessary. If the person following your directions ends up somewhere else, your procedure is not clear.


5. Collecting and interpreting data (record and analyze data)

The observations and measurements you take during the actual experiment are called data. You will need to determine beforehand how you will be collecting this data. The data can be shown as a chart or graph, as a model, or as a diagram. When the experiment has been completed, you will need to analyze your data to answer the question (step 1) and to support or disprove your hypothesis (step 2).


Good examples:  accurate graphs that are labeled; drawings will have detail and labels; observations will be written out clearly and with detail.

Not-so-good examples:  unlabeled drawings or incomplete charts. There will be vague or no notes about observations. It will contain inaccurate measurements or measurements that are not labeled.


6. Drawing a conclusion(state the conclusion)

A conclusion is a statement that summarizes what you have learned from doing this experiment. You will need to use the data collected during the experiment in order to prove or disprove your hypothesis. Repeat the work if necessary.

Good examples:  answer the question or the problem asked in step 1. It will explain whether or not the hypothesis stated was correct. It will refer to the data collected to support the answer.

Not-so-good examples:  simply state that the hypothesis was right or wrong. It would contain very little information to support why it was right or wrong. It would not refer to the data collected.


7.  Repeat the work

If you get the same results, you may be on to something big!



Questions to answer:

1.      What kind of object would you view with a stereomicroscope?

2.      How do scientists use cameras, nets and gardens?

3.      Explain how SI units are grouped.

4.      List the SI units of measure for length, volume, mass, time and temperature.

5.      Complete the worksheet that asks you to measure objects using SI units.

6.      Explain the steps of the scientific method.

7.      Compare the difference between a hypothesis and a theory.

8.      Explain how technology is used to solve everyday problems.

9.      What are the consequences of following improper methods and techniques?

10.  How does a student use a microscope and what are its functional parts?


Words to know:

1.      biology

2.      Celsius

3.      Kelvin

4.      control

5.      data

6.      experiment

7.      hypothesis

8.      International System of Units

9.      kilogram

10.  light microscope

11.  scientific method

12.  stereomicroscope

13.  technology

14.  theory

15.  variable

16.  volume


Review skills handbook 1-5 (pp. 704-719) 


Teacher Resources 


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