OER Librarian
Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • OSC0032
  • The Study of Life
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

    The Study of Life Resources

    The Study of Life Resources


    Viewed from space, Earth offers no clues about the diversity of life forms that reside there. Scientists believe that the first forms of life on Earth were microorganisms that existed for billions of years in the ocean before plants and animals appeared. The mammals, birds, and flowers so familiar to us are all relatively recent, originating 130 to 250 million years ago. The earliest representatives of the genus Homo, to which we belong, have inhabited this planet for only the last 2.5 million years, and only in the last 300,000 years have humans started looking like we do today.  The study of life is a vast field that delves into the past, present, and future.  This module will provide an introduction into the science of Biology as well as a look into its major themes and concepts.

    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives (Biology I and II TAGs)

    • The Science of Biology: [Biology I and II] VII.1 and 2
    • Themes and Concepts of Biology: [Biology II] II.1

    II.1: Relate levels of biological organization from cells, the basic unit of life, to the organism and the relationship of structure to function at all levels of biological organization.

    VII.1: Illustrate the scientific method through analysis of major biological discoveries.

    VII.2: Characterize the scientific method and its limitations in the search for answers to biological questions.

    Recommended Textbook Resources

    Chapter 1: The Study of LifeBiology 2e

    OpenStax: Biology 2e

    What is biology? In simple terms, biology is the study of living organisms and their interactions with one another and their environments. This is a very broad definition because the scope of biology is vast. Biologists may study anything from the microscopic or submicroscopic view of a cell to ecosystems and the whole living planet.  Listening to the daily news, you will quickly realize how many aspects of biology we discuss every day. Chapter 1, The Study of Life, will provide insight into some important and fundamental ideas of Biology as well as science in general.

    Student Assessment Activities

    Student Assessment Activities are below; instructors can also Download the Study of Life Student Activities Word File or View the Study of Life Student Activity Google Doc.

    Project 1:

    Complete the end of the chapter “Review Questions”.  Make sure to answer each question thoroughly and include page numbers from the text where the answers can be found.  Be prepared to discuss your answers in a group setting during class.

    Project 2:

    Complete the end of the chapter “Critical Thinking Questions” according to your group number.  You will be sharing your responses with members from the other groups during class.  (This is a modified “Jigsaw” method.  To use this “Jigsaw” have everyone meet in their groups for a specified amount of time.  While they are discussing their responses/ideas separate everyone into new groups so that each new group has a representative from the original group.  Have the new groups meet for a specified amount of time to share their responses/ideas.  This way each person holds a piece of the overall puzzle.)

    Group 1: 16

    Group 2: 17

    Group 3: 18

    Group 4: 19

    Group 5: 20

    Project 3:

    Choose five different organisms and create a table that compares the various properties of life found in each.

    Project 4:

    Choose an applied science that interests you.  Type a short essay on how that science and correlating basic sciences interact.

    Project 5:

    Keep a journal throughout the week where you record observations you make about nature (10 minimum).  Write down a few questions that arise because of those observations.