Course Icon


Chapter 1: The Study of Biology - Exploring Life

SO Icon


Biology Homework Chapter 1: What are living organisms?

This homework page has some extra introductory material to help you get started.

Organizing your Work

The following list gives you a general idea of each task you need to complete for our meetings. You may want to copy it to another file or spreadsheet to help you keep track of your assignment completion.

  • To prepare for each Biology course chat session:
    1. ____Check the homework page on the course content site for reading assignments, weblecture links, study activities, optional web reading
    2. ____Read the textbook sections assigned, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    3. ____Read the web lecture posted by the teacher, making notes for review and listing questions to ask in chat
    4. ____Complete the mastery exercises for the section.
    5. ____Write your answer to the question assigned to you in the forum
    6. ____Study the lab assignment and make note of any questions you have on performing the lab; be sure to ask these in chat or email the instructor
    7. ____Attend chat and ask your questions, defend your forum essay, and participate in the discussion
  • After completing a chapter in the text (check Moodle for due dates)
    1. ____Complete the mastery exercises and achieve 85% or better
    2. ____Take the Moodle Chapter Quiz: note these have limited availability dates and plan accordingly!
    3. ____Perform the assigned lab, analyze your data, and post your lab report by the due date

Getting to know the textbook

Your text is organized to present information in different ways to help you learn. Read through the To the Student section on pp. iv-xiii to become familiar with the textbook format and helps. I do not require that you purchase access to MasteringBiology(R), as I consider the extra expense is not always worth the extra trouble of having to log into an external site. We will use our own Moodle site for homework and quiz administration.


[Most homework pages will start with your reading assignment, like this:]

Reading Preparation

Textbook assignment: Read all of Chapter 1, Introduction: Exploring Life.

Study Notes

Web Lecture

Read the following weblecture before chat: The Study of Life

Take notes on any questions you have, and be prepared to discuss the lecture in chat.

Study Activity

Perform the study activity below:

  • Read the Characteristics of Life webpage describing seven major characteristics commonly used to determine whether something is living or not.
  • Visit each station in the Characteristics of Life Virtual Lab Can you identify all seven characteristics in each thing shown by direct observation?
  • What difficulties did you encounter in determining from a one-time observation whether an object is living or not?
  • What additional observations would you need to make to come to a conclusion about the "life" status of objects where you could not make a firm deteermination?

Chat Preparation Activities

Chapter Quiz

Lab Work

Read through the lab for this week; bring questions to chat on any aspect of the lab, whether you intend not perform it or not. If you decide to perform the lab, be sure to submit your report by the posted due date.