01 LC`s Course Submission to the UC - Course Outline

Semester 1: The learning objective this semester is to allow students to develop in four
areas. First, students should develop critical thinking on current topics and debates in the
public forum in which science has a major role. Second, students should become proficient on
the laboratory tools they may use to do their own research during second semester (tools
including environmental science techniques, advanced genetics equipment, and the scientific
method). Third, students should have a rigorous conceptual introduction and knowledgegathering around some scientific areas that do not fit-in to the building-block High School
topics of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Fourth, students should begin to connect science
learning with their own personal growth and self concept.
Unit 1: Biomedical Technology
This unit begins on the first day of school to get students used-to a rigorous pace. In fact, as
students enter the course having taken a genetics unit in their prerequisites that included
electrophoresis and restriction enzyme analyis, students will begin the PCR lab on the first
The learning objectives of this unit are to ensure students can understand and use assays and
equipment in the genetics area of the lab, to gain knowledge of how rDNA therapies are
developed and mass-produced, and to develop and vocalize deeper critical thought processes
around current debates in this area (for example, stem cell research).
Texts: J.Kirk Brown, Biotechnology: A Laboratory Skills Course. Chapters on Polymerase Chain
Reactions, Biotechnology Industrial Processes; Purves and Orians Chapter 16 (Recombinant
DNA and Biotechnology) and 17 (Molecular Biology and Medicine)
Lecture Topics:
History of Medicine
Genetics Review: This is a review of genetics including the structure of DNA, replication,
protein synthesis, the cell cycle, PMAT, bacterial genetics, and mutations.
Overview of Toxicology and Pharmacology, with emphasis on monoclonal antibodies and rDNA
Heart, Lungs, Liver, Kidneys Working Together (review of anatomical systems)
Modern Biotechnology Processes: from Fermentors to CHO cells
Review of laboratory techniques and description of new ones(electrophoresis, restriction
enzymes, producing rDNA in the lab, transfection, vectors and examples of how they are used,
gene libraries, making a knockout mouse, manipulating translation, PCR)
Biology of Cancer (how we use technology to study cancer, mutations, oncognees, tumor
supressor genes, carcinogens, different types of cancer, therapies under development and how
they work)
The Purves/Orians text will be used; students will outline the chapters and answer the
discussion questions.
The Edge (This is a lecture/discussion left open in each unit for current, recent research topics
in Biomedical Technology. Students will look-for articles in juried journals using nettrekker,
and will bring in a summary to share)
Discussion Forum (with short research projects): Stem Cells and Politics, Tissue Engineering.
Note that the discussion forum may update in subsequent years as topics of public debate
informed by biomedical technology change.
Lab: Biorad Secrets of the Rainforest Kit: Apply Genetic Engineering to Cure Human Diseases
(see the Laboratory Activities section for a very detailed summary of the lab). The lab
includes Microbiology Techniques, Bacterial Transformation, and Chromatography/Separations.
Unit 2 :Where We Came From
This unit introduces students to Physical Anthropology. It follows the unit on Biomedical
Technology because many current ideas in Human Evolution come-from genetics research.
The learning objectives in this unit are as follows: Students should know the most current
scientific thinking on human evolution and the scientific basis for it, including the ancestors of
humans and how humans got from the first H.sapien sapien to their current distribution.
Students should know the behavior, natural history, and distribution of primates worldwide.
Students should be able to place themselves in a cladogram of primates, understanding
similarites and differences. Students should think critically about laboratory evidence, field
observation, and anecdotal evidence and matrix vs. characterization and inquiry in how
scientific theories are developed. Primate studies and human evolution are a mixture of all
these types of evidence and provide a good springboard for discussing the complexities of the
scientific method. Students should be exposed to the work of leading scientists in this area
and know about their contributions (Jane Goodall, Nina Jablonski)
Text: Robert Jurmain, Lynn Kilgore, Wendy Trevathan and Russell L. Ciochon Introduction to
Physical Anthropology
Supplemental Reader: Staffan Ulfstrand, Savannah Lives; Jane Goodall, In the Shadow of Man
Lecture Topics:
From African Savannahs to Modern Cities (Intro of Savannah Lives): This should expand
students' concept to include the 99% of their evolutionary history that humans spent on a
Savannah in Africa. Students will take a critical look at the environment in which survival of
the fittest operated for humans, and the current environment.
Our Hominoid Friends (Physical Anthropology Text Chapter). The objective of this topic is to
trace a family tree of hominoid and ancestor apes, learning their names and traits, range,
distribution, and the scientific evidence that was used to create the story. Note that this topic
is reinforced on the bi-annual student trip to Maropeng in South Africa.
The Eve Hypothesis and Mitochondrial DNA: Tracing our Ancestry. Students are presentedwith Eve Theory, the mutation rate from mitochondrial DNA that allows scientists to compare
human populations. Students trace Humans Out-of-Africa on a map, using the mitochondrial
DNA evidence. Students are asked to think critically about some of the theories that existed
prior to DNA analysis, and compare the evidence found in old bones and the evidence
contained in mDNA. Also within this topic, students are presented with Dr. Jablonski's nobelprize-winning work on folic acid and the evolution of skin color.
The Great Apes, Leakey's Angels, and The Biology of Culture (Physical Anthropology Text
Chapter) In this topic, students will be asked to think critically about the separation of
humans and animals in human culture and whether or not scientific evidence upholds it.
Students should know the great apes and their distribution and differences, the history of
studying the great apes, their behaviors and social grouping, and should specifically examine
tool-use in different populations of apes as a springboard for discussing whether animals have
culture, and what culture is in general.
Cognition, Language in Primates (Goodall) In this topic-area students should know the work
of primatologists and physical anthropologists who have taught great apes to communicate
directly with humans, and what the results of these studies were.
A Primate Family Tree (Goodall) Students should know the major groups of primates and their
ranges and different traits and behavors. Students should be able to identify how they are
related on a cladogram.
The Edge (as in Unit 1, this is a topic-area left open for current research. Students research
an article on Physical Anthropology from the current year and present it to the class)
Discussion Forum: Race, Science, and Culture (this is a chance for students to meet at a
round table and use the knowledge they have gained in the unit to debate and discuss a topic
from the public forum that is informed by studies of Physical Anthropology)
Lab: Biorad PV92 PCR Informatics Kit Where did you get those genes? Or similar: Analysis of
our ancestry by DNA testing (see the Laboratory Activities Section for more details on the lab
Unit 3: The Biology of Consciousness, Perception, and Emotion
Text: Purves Sadava Orians Heller; Life, The Science of Biology, Seventh Edition, Chapters 42
(Animal Hormones, p804-818 on humans) , 44 (Neurons and Nervous Systems),
Rita Carter, Susan Aldridge, Martin Page, Steve Parker The Human Brain Book, Chapters 1,2,
5, 6, 10, 11
Supplemental Reader: Arthur Janov, The Biology of Love; Rick Hanson, Buddha's Brain; John
Medina, Brain Rules
Lecture Topics
A Physical Journey through the Human Brain and What It Does (Carter C1 and 2, Purves and
Orians C42, 44) In this topic, students learn the physical anatomy of the human brain and the
mechanics of how the nervous system and the brain function; they also learn about how we
know these things, and the history of how the brain has been studied by scientists. Students
should know the areas of the brain and what they do, and how we know that, and the process
of sensory perception and motor control on the level of nerve cell signaling. Also, students
should know the major human hormones, where they are produced, and what purposes they
serve in the body.
The Biology of Emotions (Carter C5) In this topic, students should learn with more detail the
anatomy of emotions in the brain, the structure and function of the amygdala in depth, the
pathways of a fear response, the circuits that play in conscious emotion, and the neural
pathways of desire and reward. The lecture follows the book chapter closely (students will
outline the chapter in their journals).
The Social Brain (Carter C6) In this topic, students study sexual attraction and oxytocin,
attachment and how neuroscience and psychology inform our understanding together, the
neural pathways of expression and reading emotion, and how this connects to prior study of
primates, the self and others, and the moral brain. Students should understand disorders
such as autism and the physical basis for them as well as the behavioral/psychological
manifestations. Students should understand the neurological basis for morality and language,
and how language is studied by neuroscientists.
Intro to Consciousness, Attention, Sleep, and The Self (Carter C10,11) In this topic, students
will understand how scientists and philosophers have attempted to define and study
consciousness, from Descartes to the Dalai Lama. Students will know the types and levels of
consciousness by scientific evidence, neural firing thresholds, techniques for studying the mind
in science, the brain anatomy significant to consciousness, the mechanisms and types of
attention (supplemental reading from Brain Rules), altering consciousness and scientific
studies (supplemental reading from Buddha's Brain), neural patterns in sleep and dreams, and
human processing of time.
Physiology of Drugs and Alcohol In this short topic of study, students will know how alcohol
and "party drugs" effect their brain and body physically. The topic will be treated with the
rigor of other topics in the unit (effects will be examined on a cellular level)
The Edge (this is a topic area left open for current research in neuroscience; students will find
an article from the current year on neuroscience and will present it to the class)
Discussion Forum: Society and the Human Brain, an examination Alzheimers' Disease and the
Law, The Biological Basis for Love. This is an opportunity for students to do research on a
topic being debated by the public and sit seminar-style to discuss it in class. An example of a
topic is how society decides when an Alzheimers' patient is no longer fit to manage their own
affairs, and how the science of the brain may inform the question.
Lab Component: Experimental Design and Human Psychology (Students design and implement
a psychology experiment according to interest, to demonstrate their understanding of the
scientific method)
Unit 4: Feeding the Human Race
This is a shorter unit that introduces Environmental Science in an area that includes genetics
and bioethics.
Text: Purves Sadava Orians Heller; Life, The Science of Biology, Seventh Edition
Chapters 46, 49, 50 and G. Tyler Miller, Scott E. Spoolman Living in the Environment, AP
Edition Chapter 12
Supplemental Reader: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; Fast Food Nation by
Eric Schlosser
Lecture Topics
Mammalian Nutrition and Adsorption (Purves and Orians). This topic area is a rigorous review
of how humans assimilate nutrients from their environment on a cellular level.
Mammalian Digestive Systems (Purves and Orians) This topic is a rigorous review of how the
human digestive system works on an anatomical level.
Biology and Environmental Science of Hunger and Malnutrition. In this topic, students
understand the body processes that come into play when food is scarce. Then, students learn
the distribution of hunger worldwide, the politics of food distribution, and the basics of food
production in an industrialized nation vs. a developing nation (this is directly correlated with
the Miller textbook).
GMOs In this topic, students understand how biotechnology is used in plants and
industrialized agrigulture to deliver food. (Miller textbook)
Humans and Food Animals In this topic, students understand the history and culture of how
humans have used animals for food across time and the world. Students learn the process
of meat production in the United States and think critically about the environmental
consequences of industrial vs. localized production, and how we know about these
World Hunger (Miller)
The Edge (this is a chance for students to do research on an article from the last year around
Food Production or World Hunger and present it to the class)
Discussion Forums: This is an opportunity to sit seminar-style and use the content of the unit
and research to debate a topic informed by the work. Some examples include: Case Study,
Monsanto and Gene Ownership; Case Study, India and Overpopulation; B.Fullers' World
Games/Modeling the Distribution of Resources
Lab: Biorad GMO Investigator Kit: Have Your Favorite Foods Been Genetically Modified?
Lab Includes: Polymerase Chain Reactions, Electrophoresis
Unit 5: Industry, Technology, and Politics
In this unit, students will know the laboratory tools and techniques used to study ecosystem
health and pollution in water, soil, and air. Students will know some of the most critical ways
in which the human population is effecting the environment, and some of the ways that
scientists are attempting to inform society about these issues and find solutions. Students will
specifically study how industrialization and outputs effect the environment. Students will
study a local issue in-depth. Students will know the history of the Environmental Movement in
the US, and how it has been informed by science.
Text: G. Tyler Miller, Scott E. Spoolman Living in the Environment, AP Edition Chapters 18, 19,
Supplemental Reader: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, A
Sand Country Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Lecture Topics:
Biogeography and Ecosystems. Students will know the major biomes and how latitude,
altitude, and atmospheric movement creates them, where they exist, and how they are
characterized. Students will know how to interpret a climatogram. Students will review
species interactions, trophic levels, succession, and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
History of the Environmental Movement Students will know the major events and timeline of
the Environmental Movement in the US, and the philosophy and science that informed each,
from Thoreau to Rachel Carson, the Clean Air and Endangered Species acts, Oil Spills, and the
Kyoto Protocol. Students will think critically about how science informs politics and public
Climate Change: Is it a Debate? How Scientists Study and Predict Climate Change. Students
will know the basic NCAR models of climate change and their basis, how ice cores are studied,
how weather research works, and how GIS can be used to study climate. Students will use
data given by SRI International as part of the STORE project (Studying Topography and
Orographic Rainfall using GIS Systems) to create models and make predictions about changes
to the local ecosystem between now and 2099.
Case Study on the Automotive Industry Students will examine the science and politics behind
production of electric vehicles and will think critically about how government and science
worked at-odds and in conjunction over the last 100 years in the US.
Environmental Ethics Students will use Aldo Leopold's work to consider Environmental Ethics
Science of Pollution: Aquatic Ecosystems Students will know the process of biomagnification,
the outputs that effect ocean and freshwater ecosystems, the different zones and levels of
these ecosystems, the process of eutrophication, and how river systems are effected by
industrial pollution and logging. Students will examine drinking water supplies around the
world and will understand the effects of global poverty on water supply.
Science of Pollution: Terrestrial Ecosystems Students will know the effects of pollution and
soil erosion on terrestrial ecosystems.
The Edge
Discussion Forums: Modeling The Kyoto Protocol; Current Local Issue (changes annually)
Lab Series:
Series 1: A Field Study of Aquatic Pollution in the Pajaro Watershed
Lab Includes: Field sample collection, secchi disks, aquatic life analysis, spectrophotometric
testing for dissolved oxygen (Winkler method),?? nitrate testing, phosphate testing, coliform
testing, chlorine testing
Series 2: STORE: Studying Topography and Orographic Rainfall Using GIS Technology
Semester 2: Capstone Project
Students will plan, initiate, execute, and present a study of their own on a research topic that
interests them. Their research must include an academically rigorous goal and a list of
deliverables. They must incorporate ongoing field or laboratory research into their project
design as well as information-gathering, reading, and writing.
Unit 1: Biorad Secrets of the Rainforest Kit (or similar). In this activity, students
transform bacteria genetically to produce Green Fluorescent Protein (via a plasmid gene, the
pGLO gene). They grow enough of the organism to extract the protein and bottle it, then they
write-up a plan for scaling-up the process as if GFP is a novel therapeutic.
Lab Session 1: Rehydrate bacterial library and streak plates to produce single colonies on
nutrient agar, incubate
Lab Session 2 :Pick a single green fluorescent protien-expressing colony from the plate using a
loop, innoculate into ampicillin-arabinose broth, grow for 48 hours
Lab Session 3 :Transfer cell culture to micro test tube, then centrifuge and pellet cells,
resuspend, add lysozyme, and freeze overnight to rupture cell membranes
Lab Session 4: Centrifuge bacterial lysate to pellet membranes and debris, add high-salt
chromatography binding buffer, load onto columns, collect three fractions
Unit 2: DNA extraction for analysis. This lab relates to the study of human evolution by
mitochondrial DNA evidence. It also prepares students for the PCR lab in the next unit by
guided practice of the first steps toward a successful analysis of GMOs.
Unit 3: Biorad GMO detector kit. Students perform a Polymerase Chain Reaction on a food of
their choice to look-for the DNA sequence that is typically inserted in genetically modified food
Unit 4: Psychology Experiment (student-designed). This unit is related to the brain and
consciousness. Students will be asked to design and implement an experiment to answer a
question they are interested-in around human psychology; this is to scaffold them for the
second semester, when they will be asked to design a more long-term experimental project of
their own. The experiment will be assessed for solid use of the scientific method and controls.
Unit 5:
Lab Series 1: Students will be taught to sample for Dissolved Oxygen Testing (Winkler
Spectrophotometric Method), nitrates, and phosphates, in the school lakes and waterways.
They will then test local areas around the Pajaro River Watershed for pollutants and will
analyze the data graphically as a class. This is in conjunction with the unit on pollution
Lab Series 2: This is a series developed at SRI called STORE (Studying Topography and
Orographic Rainfall). Researchers have compiled data from climate change models into files
students can use on Google Earth; students are asked to learn the tool, then make predictions
and critical assessments of the data models out to the year 2099, in a study area that includes
the Northern California Coast through the Sierra Mountains.
Capstone: Students will use their knowledge of all the above lab techniques to design their
own rigorous inquiry that involves 1 or more of the tools presented.