Biology 6A Lecture

I will break the lecture into ten or so units; each unit will take more than one lecture day. The midterms and final will be  based on the lecture. I will assign reading from Campbell, which will be closely related to the lecture. Use the book to help you understand the lecture material, but I will not give you test questions on subjects from the reading that I didn't cover in lecture. You'll notice that I wil go in detail into some topics that aren't in the book. If it's in lecture, it's likely to be on the test.

On this site, I'm going to give you two important resources for the lecture part of the course: lecture notes and study guides. The third important resource is the textbook.

Lecture notes

For each unit of lecture, I will provide a pdf version of the PowerPoint that I use in lecture. This will give you an outline of everything I will cover and, therefore, everything that might be on the upcoming midterm or lecture final. Don't use the PowerPoint as a textbook. It's only an outline. It will tell you what was covered, but simply reading the PowerPoint file won't give you the understanding you'll need to do well. I suggest using the PowerPoint several ways:

Before lecture, look over the file to see what parts of the textbook will be covered. You'll see diagrams from the book that will be covered in lecture; you might want to look at these in the book beforehand. You'll also see some topics that aren't in the textbook at all; be sure you get the information in lecture.

During lecture, you may want to have the lecture file at hand, either on paper or on a device. Some people hand-write notes on the printed lecture file; others find that they need more room, so they write on blank paper. Some just focus on listening and don't take notes at all. Regardless of your strategy, it's a good idea to record the lecture so you can go back to it.

After lecture, use the lecture file to guide your reading in Campbell.

After lecture, use the file to test yourself. If you truly understand a lecture topic, you're ready to use the PowerPoint and give the same lecture. You can try this yourself, or with fellow students. If you don't know it all and you start trying to explain it, you'll soon see where your understanding is incomplete.

I'll try to post the lecture note files on the calendar page before I begin each lecture unit, but I am usually working on improvements to the lectures, so I can't post them far in advance.

Study guides

Before each lecture exam, I will post a study guide. The guide will include two sections: a list of topics and a set of long-answer questions. The list of topics is there to help you make sure you haven't missed anything; it's essentially a table of contents for the lectures.

Long-answer questions. There will be one long-answer question on each lecture exam. I will give you a set of potential essay question on the study guide, and I will choose one at random to be on the test. I use pre-announced essay questions because I find that preparing answers for these helps people achieve good conceptual understanding. The most important thing you can do in learning biology is to create a framework in your mind for linking concepts together. Writing essays and drawing diagrams helps you achieve that.

You should spend a big part of your study time working on your essay answers. Write out detailed answers to all them in advance of the exam. Discuss your answers with me or with your fellow students to get a sense of how you're doing. You could probably get an answer from somebody else, but that won't give you an understanding of the concepts. You need to create that understanding for yourself.

I'll present each study guide on the calendar as the exam draws closer, but I can't post them all at the beginning of the quarter because I haven't finalized the lectures yet.

Campbell Biology

The lecture exams will be based on the material covered in lecture. You don't need to read everything in Campbell, even in the assigned chapters. However, the textbook provides excellent explanations of the concepts for this class. You should rely in it as one of your main sources of learning. I recommend at least skimming through the assigned reading before lecture, then going back and reading in detail as needed.

Many students won't be very successful with reading the chapters in Campbell. You might find that you struggle to get through the chapter, and then can't remember what you read. If so, go through the lecture notes first and then dig into Campbell when you have a question. Looking for specific information puts you in a more active frame of mind.

Pay close attention to the diagrams in the book; you'll notice that I spend a lot of time on some of them in lecture. Go back and read the text that relates to these diagrams. Those ideas will be on the test.

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