Friday, August 19, 2011

Welcome to Biology at College Prep!

Welcome to CPS Biology! We are genuinely looking forward to spending a fun and exciting year with all of you!

Though many people don't appreciate this, Biology is the most complex of scientific disciplines. Biological entities are marvels of complexity - they are composed of large, complicated molecules, some of which have amazing characteristics, such as the ability to replicate themselves! These complex molecules then come together in any of millions of possible combinations to undergo chemical reactions that we recognize as life processes. Fortunately we have one overarching idea that synthesizes all of the complexity we find in the biological world. This is the modern Theory of Evolution, stemming largely from the work of Charles Darwin. We will begin the semester with a consideration of Darwin's ideas to set the stage for the rest of the semester. At the end of the term, we will come back to the topic of evolution from a more modern perspective, armed with information about molecular genetics that were not available to Darwin and other earlier biologists.

Because Biology is so complex, it takes a lot of effort to really "get it." We know from experience that you cannot do this if you simply show up in class, listen to us talk for 45 minutes, and then forget about it all until the next day. When a question pops into your mind about what we've been talking about, jump online and see what Wiki or other references can tell you about the answers. Read over the articles and other resources we provide you with, and ponder how they tie in with class material. Talk to us! Send us emails. Talk to each other! Explain things to your parents!

So, your motto for this class is "Learning is a Process, Not an Event!" Don't treat this class as a daily "event" that you show up for and then forget about. Make it a part of how you look at the world. It'll be more fun and interesting if you're fully engaged with us and the material. Good luck!