Joint Bio Account biobook at ABACUS.BATES.EDU
Mon Feb 10 21:57:58 EST 1997

TO: plant-ed at
Subject: Re: MACRO-MICRO
cc: monroejd at

Thanks to Jonathan Monroe at James Madison University for informing us
of the ongoing discussion of introductory biology course sequences.

We have written a book with an integrated approach, or, as we prefer to
call it, an issues-oriented approach.  We have also attempted to get away 
from the assumption that an introductory text cover absolutely everything.  
Instead of the encyclopedic approach, we present biological topics in a 
context that allows students to see relevance of the concepts presented.
Accordingly, each chapter is built around a current issue of importance:
genetic engineering, animal rights, population growth (and birth control),
AIDS, cancer, sociobiology, crop improvements, and threats to biodiversity 
are some examples.  Each chapter is treated at many levels from molecules 
to populations.  For example, the chapter on plants and crop production 
includes discussion of photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, the nitrogen cycle,
carnivorous plants, organic and inorganic fertilizers, integrated pest
management, and genetic engineering in plants.  These topics are linked to 
various discussions in other chapters concerning plant proteins (in a chap- 
ter on nutrition), genetic engineering (in a chapter on human genes and
genomes), strength of plant tissues (in a chapter on bioengineering), and 
fluid transport in plants (also in the chapter on bioengineering).  

We don't pretend to cover all topics, but we have made sure to include all 
the topics listed in the BSCS pamphlet, DEVELOPING BIOLOGICAL LITERACY.  
Each of these topics is covered in the context of some issue that we hope 
will capture the attention of students;  several of these topics are covered 
more than once and some are treated at great length. 

In our book we stress critical thinking skills that would enable students 
to form their own opinions and justify them.  As much as possible, 
we give the students the tools rather than the answers--  many
of these issues don't have set answers.  The book begins with a chapter on
science and its method, then a chapter on ethics and ethical systems.
The remaining chapters deal with one subject area at a time, introducing
the biology always in the context of some socially relevant issue.  

Our book was designed for a course which enrolls mostly biology majors,
although we have been told that others are using the book for courses
aimed primarily at nonmajors also.  

The book is called  BIOLOGY TODAY: AN ISSUES APPROACH (McGraw-Hill,
1996), and is available in paperback.  A more complete listing of the 
book's contents, along with sample course outlines for both one-semester
and two-semester courses, articles on our pedagogic approach, and other 
helpful information, may be found on the Web at the following address:

There is also a listserv dealing with the book.  To subscribe or unsubscribe
 to this list, send a message to:     majordomo at
You must have a nonblank subject.
The one-line message needs to say either:
         subscribe biotoday   or   unsubscribe biotoday 

We welcome any further communication or inquiries.

   ---------------- Eli C. Minkoff & Pamela J. Baker  ---------------
     Department of Biology,  Bates College,  Lewiston, Maine  04240
   ________________ E-mail:  biobook at _______________

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