BIOLOGY LAB III, Spring 2012 Janet Stein Carter, Associate Professor of Biology
course #34BIOL113-001, MW 2:00-3:50 pm Office: room EDU-215-N, phone 732-5313
Office Hours M & W 12:00-2:00
(or stop in whenever I’m there)
(If I’m not in my office, then check the Lab area) e-mail:


Biology Lab I (34BIOL111) and Biology I (34BIOL101) are mandatory prerequisites for this course, and it is assumed that students have also had Biology Lab II (34BIOL112) and Biology II (34BIOL102). It is expected that all students enrolled in Biology Lab III have mastered the concepts and lab skills learned in the previous classes and that students have their lab notebooks from the first two quarters available for reference. Students who have not taken or have not passed 101-102 and/or 111-112 will have difficulty passing this course. It is recommended that students not set themselves up for failure by taking courses for which they do not have the prerequisites.

Course Description:

2 undergraduate credits. This science majors’ course illustrates the processes, principles, and concepts discussed in Biology III through investigative labs that emphasize examples from everyday life, the scientific method, keeping a lab notebook, and collecting and analyzing data via computer. Activities include taxonomy, anatomy and physiology, numerous field hikes to study local organisms with special emphasis on spring wildflowers, and independent research. Prereq: 34BIOL 101 and 34BIOL111 (102 & 112 strongly sugested), coreq: 34BIOL103

Course Objectives:

This Majors’ course will illustrate the biological processes, concepts, and theories as discussed in Biology III with examples from everyday life. You will explore and develop your understanding of these processes and theories through hands-on discovery activities. The goals are:

  1. To learn to be observant and to develop and sharpen those observational skills
  2. To discipline yourself to develop the good record-keeping skills needed to be a successful biologist (or doctor or pharmacist)
  3. To learn to think analytically about the observations you have made – to be able to:
    1. analyze a problem and focus on a hypothesis to be tested
    2. determine the best way of testing the hypothesis, including determination of appropriate procedure(s) to follow and meaningful data to be gathered
    3. interpret data and draw conclusions based on these data
  4. To communicate your findings about the processes studied and results obtained in ways appropriate to the biological sciences, especially to develop your ability to distill the investigation into a scientific paper
  5. To become familiar with the use of computers to gather and analyze data
  6. To be able to identify and to become familiar with the variety of living organisms which occur here in Clermont County

Methods of Reaching These Objectives:

  1. Each lab period, you will participate in the scheduled activity for that day: nature hike, lab exercise, experiment, and/or test. In order to benefit maximally from these lab activities, you need to plan to spend the whole period working on each lab, and not attempt to rush to finish early. Taking the time to observe closely, be thorough in your work, and take good notes will both yield better data and allow you to better absorb and learn the material, thereby improving your ability to perform well on tests.
  2. You will prepare and maintain a laboratory notebook into which you will put all handouts and information as well as your own notes and analyses. It is expected that you will take the time and put forth the effort necessary to closely observe organisms, lab equipment, etc., in order to include detailed, accurate illustrations in your lab notebook. This notebook will be organized according to the format specified in Biology 111 Lab, serving as a permanent record of your work in this class.
  3. You will prepare for class by reading and thinking about the handout(s) provided. From this introduction, you should have a basic understanding of the topic being investigated and the procedures to be followed when you arrive for class.
  4. After you have completed the laboratory exercise, you are expected to spend time analyzing what you did and the significance of your results. These written analyses will be included in your lab notebook in an acceptable format. Also, you will be required to write a scientific paper, which will be turned in on the designated dates.
  5. For a number of lab exercises, you will be expected to enter your data into a Web page for computer analysis and distribution to all class members.
  6. You will be required to do an independent research project.
  7. You will be expected to participate in the scheduled field hikes to learn about native organisms.

  8. More detailed explanations of these expectations and assignments will be given in a series of handouts and verbal instructions.


Note: Weather permitting, we will be spending time outdoors studying local flora and fauna. Thus, the following schedule is subject to change due to inclement weather. Tests, quizzes, and other due dates will be at the stated times unless an announcement to the contrary is specifically made beforehand (with the one exception that if it is raining when a field-hike quiz is scheduled, that quiz may be postponed). Please wear/bring clothing suitable for hiking through brambles and/or mud and/or poison ivy. Due to various safety regulations, long pants and sturdy boots/shoes are mandatory for field hikes. Inappropriately-dressed students will not be permitted to participate in lab activities and will, thus, not have notes for any lab(s) missed. Since some of the hikes are mildly strenuous, people with hypoglycemia, diabetes, and/or asthma should plan ahead and come prepared to deal with any possible reactions they might have.

In the event that all classes are canceled due to inclement weather, UC will make that information available via the local media and via other means. In the event that classes are not canceled, but I cannot make it in due to weather or illness, I will send an e-mail message to all students for whom I have e-mail addresses. If you wish to receive that notification, please provide me with an e-mail address for an account which you check regularly.

Spring Quarter Schedule


Grades will be determined based on the total of the points from the two quizzes (50 pt. each), midterm (200 pt.), final (200 pt.), notebook gradings, (2 at 200 pt. each), and independent research project (150 pt.), plus points from any unannounced “pop” quizzes, thus a minimum of 1000 points will be possible. A histogram (curve) of total scores will be constructed and analyzed using statistical methods. In general, the class mean will serve as the dividing line between “B” and “C” scores, and only those students whose scores are above the mean plus one standard deviation unit, thereby demonstrating superior mastery of the material covered, will receive an “A”. An “F” will be given when an individual repeatedly scores at the bottom of the class and shows blatant disregard for good study habits and class attendance. Ten percent (10%) of the total possible points will be deducted per class period for late assignments (notebooks, papers, etc.) or make-up tests or quizzes. As stated in the Making and Keeping a Lab Notebook protocol, “No books abandoned in my mailbox will be considered as turned in, nor will they be graded — your portion of the grade sheet must be filled out and turned in with the notebook.” Any student who stops attending class and does not go through the official withdrawal process will be given the grade of “UW” — unofficial withdrawal — the equivalent of an “F”. Grades will be awarded based on a straight A-B-C-D-F grading scale.

I realize that there are some medical conditions which, legitimately, can preclude a student from having an equal chance to learn in this course. A very obvious example would be a student who had trouble hearing me speak, thus was at a great disadvantage because (s)he would miss what I was saying in lecture. However, other, more subtle, conditions such as ADD and dyslexia can also adversely affect an equally-intelligent student’s opportunity to obtain information and/or communicate to me that (s)he has learned the needed material. It is not “unfair” to anyone to make arrangements to compensate for such medical conditions, but rather, this can help insure that such people have an equal chance at doing well in this course. Obviously, however, such students would still have to demonstrate that, given reasonable accommodations, they are capable of mastering the required material. Thus, students who need some type of accommodations in order to “level the playing field” and put them on a par with the rest of the class should speak with me now, not after grades have suffered.

Tests and Quizzes:

There will be two quizzes worth 50 pts. each and a midterm and final worth 200 pts. each. Make-up tests will be given only in the event of a valid excuse, and must be taken promptly. Field tests cannot be made up. There may also be pop quizzes to insure that you have read the lab we will be doing, and these cannot be made up if missed. Tests will cover material from each lab session that is included, and grades will not be adjusted for any labs that you miss – “I wasn’t there” is not a reason.

Students who miss a test should make arrangements with the instructor to make it up BEFORE the next class period. Requests to make up tests after the tests have been returned and discussed will be denied unless a student has a valid excuse (such as a doctor’s note). Optionally, a more difficult make-up test may be written (but graded on the same curve as everyone else). Only one test may be made up late, and then only with a valid excuse. If more than one test is missed, subsequent tests will receive a “zero.” This means that if you skip one test because you “don’t feel like it,” then miss a second test due to illness, you have used up your one chance and will receive a “zero” on the second test. It has been my experience that students who don’t take a test on time because they think they need more time to study end up doing no better (if not worse) when they do finally take the test. There will be a 10% per class period penalty for a late test.

Required Equipment:

  1. A bound 10 × 7⅞ inch composition notebook with graph rulings (available in the bookstore). All notes taken during lab should be entered DIRECTLY into this notebook.
  2. A BLACK water- and solvent-proof pen, such as “Pilot Precise®” (Extra Fine tip), “Tombow Roll Pen, Jr.®” or Rapidiograph, which writes with indelible (waterproof) ink. Water-soluble markers, ballpoint pen (which is soluble in alcohol, etc.), and felt-tips which “bleed” through the page are NOT acceptable.
  3. Clear contact paper to mount handouts, specimens, etc. into lab notebook (see protocol from first quarter).

Optional Resources and Equipment:

  1. While your primary drawings should be done with your lab pen, you may wish to have on hand a set of colored pencils with which to indicate color(s) of specimens. Magic markers which bleed through the page are not suitable.
  2. The following book may aid you in learning how to write like a biologist:

    Pechenik, Jan A. 1993. A Short Guide to Writing about Biology. 2nd. Ed. HarperCollins College Publ., New York. (available in the bookstore)

  3. A variety of field guides to trees, insects, wildflowers, fossils, birds, etc. is available in the bookstore, and similar books are available from other local bookstores and the Cincinnati Nature Center. Although not required, you should purchase those in which you have an interest. If there are field guides you do not wish to purchase, you may wish to make arrangements to share, borrow, or otherwise have access to them for field use.
  4. Other materials may be needed for certain lab exercises. Such items are listed in the schedule and/or will be announced as needed.

Some important, related links:

Copyright © 1997 by J. Stein Carter. All rights reserved.
This page has been accessed Counter times since 22 Mar 2001.