Instructor: Madeline Goodwin
5-10 students, 7-11 years old
This spring, let’s learn about our fellow organisms! In this class, we will discuss the many facets of the diversity of life found on planet Earth. We will look at everything from microorganisms in the soil to elephants and blue whales, polar tundra to tropical rainforests, and bare soil to flourishing ecosystems. Genetics, species interactions, and ecology will be discussed in this biological exploration, as we move from microscopic molecules to continental communities! There will be short weekly assignments based on resources provided, optional projects as follow-ups to each class, and a final project in which students write, show, or present on a topic covered in class.
Week 1: Introductions; define life - What are the criteria for defining something as “alive,” and do all organisms display all those traits?
Week 2: Genetics - Get a close look at the molecules that determine how our body operates.
Week 3: Cell biology - Explore the different types of cells, and what each type consists of.
Week 4: Animal physiology - Using illustrations, examine the anatomy of different animals to determine what characteristics they have in common.
Week 5: Plant physiology - Discover the complexity of plants, beyond the “stem, leaf, roots, flowers” description.
Week 6: Taxonomy - Understand the classification systems used by scientists to name and categorize organisms.
Week 7: Evolution - Look at the ways species have adapted to their environments, and the forces that caused them to do so.
Week 8: BREAK
Week 9: Population dynamics - How do individuals interact with each other, and how is that driven by their biology?
Week 10: Natural history - Step back in time to learn about how the field of biology began, and the contributions that were made by scholars of centuries past.
Week 11: Ecological communities - How do populations of different species interact? Look at predator-prey, herbivore-plant, mutualistic, and parasitic relationships.
Week 12: Abiotic factors - What factors decide what organisms live where?
Week 13: Climate and biomes - Explore the distribution of climate types globally to understand how communities are distributed.
Week 14: Ecosystems - What happens when these communities interact with their abiotic environment?
Week 15: Catch-up/Q&A
Week 16: Student Presentations