5.1: Learning Objectives - Biology

5.1: Learning Objectives - Biology

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Learning Objectives

After this lab you should be able to:

  1. Observe specimens and recognize characteristics that identify them as Protists.
  2. Examine the diversity in single-celled Eukaryotic organisms.
  3. Relate the structure, function, and life cycles of the organisms to their ability to cause disease.

"Algae tend to be outliers in the world of microbiology; but are critical foundations for food chains in aquatic and marine habitats, produce the majority of recycled oxygen in the atmosphere (ahhh... breathing) and were instrumental in establishing an ozone layer that permitted terrestrial evolution, and are responsible for agar - the main substrate used in microbiology labs. These significant contributions and lesser ones as ingredients in ice cream and cake frosting make algae a fascinating microbiological study." - Prof. Don Takeda

Algae are protists that are photosynthetic. These can be microscopic single-celled or colonial organisms, like the Volvox above or can be very large organisms like kelp. In this lab you will observe a protist survey that will contain algae and protozoa (the more “animal-like” protists). Most algae are not clinically important, but many produce toxins that can be very serious and cause disease in humans and other animals.

Protists of Clinical Importance

Many protozoa are clinically important and may cause serious disease in animals. In this lab you will observe different protist pathogens, including the protist that causes the disease Malaria. Malaria is one of the most important pathogens, causing serious illness in millions severalof people each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • “Malaria parasites are micro-organisms that belong to the genus Plasmodium. There are more than 100 species of Plasmodium, which can infect many animal species such as reptiles, birds, and various mammals. Four species of Plasmodium have long been recognized to infect humans in nature.”
  • “An experienced laboratory technician or pathologist can distinguish between P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, and P. ovale based on the appearance of the parasites and infected blood cells. Under the microscope, P. knowlesi can resemble either P. falciparum or P. malariae. Increasingly reference diagnostic tools like PCR are employed to confirm malaria infection and to determine definitively which species are involved.”
  • “Five times, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded for work associated with malaria: to Sir Ronald Ross (1902), Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran (1907), Julius Wagner-Jauregg (1927), Paul Hermann Müller (1948), and Youyou Tu (2015).”

High School Biology Curriculum

Time4Learning’s biology curriculum is one of three science courses offered at the high school level. Students can expect to see various concepts being covered including understanding cells, genetics, viruses, the human body, and more.

Use the links below to learn more about what your high schooler’s biology curriculum should include:

Domain Bacteria

Domain Bacteria includes prokaryotic, unicellular organisms (Figure 2). They are incredibly abundant and found in nearly every imaginable type of habitat, including your body. While many people view bacteria only as disease-causing organisms, most species are actually either benign or beneficial to humans. While it is true that some bacteria may cause disease in people, this is more the exception than the rule.

Bacteria are well-known for their metabolic diversity. Metabolism is a general term describing the complex biochemistry that occurs inside of cells. Many species of bacteria are autotrophs, meaning they can create their own food source without having to eat other organisms. Most autotrophic bacteria do this by using photosynthesis, a process that converts light energy into chemical energy that can be utilized by cells. A well-known and ecologically-important group of photosynthetic bacteria is cyanobacteria. These are sometimes referred to a blue-green algae, but this name is not appropriate because, as you will see shortly, algae are organisms that belong to domain Eukarya. Cyanobacteria play important roles in food webs of aquatic systems, such as lakes.

Other species of bacteria are heterotrophs, meaning that they need to acquire their food by eating other organisms. This classification includes the bacteria that cause disease in humans (during an infection, the bacteria is eating you). However, most heterotrophic bacteria are harmless to humans. In fact, you have hundreds of species of bacteria living on your skin and in your large intestine that do you no harm. Beyond your body, heterotrophic bacteria play vital roles in ecosystems, especially soil-dwelling bacteria that decompose living matter and make nutrients available to plants.

Figure 2. Many prokaryotes fall into three basic categories based on their shape: (a) cocci, or spherical (b) bacilli, or rod-shaped and (c) spirilla, or spiral-shaped. (credit a: modification of work by Janice Haney Carr, Dr. Richard Facklam, CDC credit c: modification of work by Dr. David Cox, CDC scale-bar data from Matt Russell). This figure by OpenStax is licensed under CC BY 4.0

2.1 Chapter Objectives

Our goal for this chapter is for you to appreciate the fundamental tenets of evolution, and how evolutionary thinking frames much of our understanding of biology. By the end of this chapter and our in-class discussion, you will be able to:

  1. Define the following terms:
    • evolution
    • fossils
    • fossil record
    • natural selection
    • petrifaction
    • homologies
    • shared derived traits
    • analogies
    • convergent evolution
    • vestigial traits
    • biogeography
    • continental drift
    • mutation
    • gene flow
    • adaptation
    • fitness
    • sexual selection
    • genetic drift
    • founder effect
    • phylogeny
  2. Describe evolution and how it occurs.
  3. Explain, using specific examples, several lines of evidence suggesting that evolution has occurred.
  4. Articulate conditions that must be met for a population to evolve by natural selection.
  5. Describe how evolutionary mechanisms can result in the generation of new species.
  6. Cite evidence human evolution is ongoing.

5.1: Learning Objectives - Biology

Through studying any of the group 4 subjects, students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the “scientific method” may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that distinguishes the group 4 subjects from other disciplines and characterizes each of the subjects within group 4.

It is in this context that all the Diploma Programme experimental science courses should aim to:

provide opportunities for scientific study and creativity within a global context that will stimulate and challenge students

provide a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology

enable students to apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize science and technology

develop an ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesize scientific information

engender an awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities

develop experimental and investigative scientific skills

develop and apply the students’ information and communication technology skills in the study of science

raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology

develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations associated with science and scientists

encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method.

The objectives for all group 4 subjects reflect those parts of the aims that will be assessed. Wherever appropriate, the assessment will draw upon environmental and technological contexts and identify the social, moral and economic effects of science.

It is the intention of all the Diploma Programme experimental science courses that students achieve the following objectives.

Demonstrate an understanding of:

scientific facts and concepts

scientific methods and techniques

methods of presenting scientific information.

scientific facts and concepts

scientific methods and techniques

scientific terminology to communicate effectively

appropriate methods to present scientific information.

Construct, analyse and evaluate:

hypotheses, research questions and predictions

scientific methods and techniques

Demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation, perseverance and responsibility appropriate for effective scientific investigation and problem solving.

Demonstrate the manipulative skills necessary to carry out scientific investigations with precision and safety.

How Should Objectives be Formed?

Objectives should be specific, concise, observable and measurable. Each learning objective should target one particular aspect of student performance and be expressed with a single action verb.

There is a specific order according to which learners process information in a course. Bloom’s taxonomy helps understand this natural order. What Bloom did is describe the levels of student learning, that could help a designer set the right objectives:

  • Recall
  • Comprehension application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation.

Following this taxonomy is the most surefire way to boost learning to a higher level. The following table depicts everything we are talking about. In it there are examples of verbs and activities you can use to formulate your course objectives. Take a look!

Sample Verbs for Writing Learning Objectives

Recall, tell, show, match, list, label, define, cite, name, brainstorm

Test, worksheet, quiz, labeling, table

Compare, contrast, demonstrate, identify, report, outline, summarize, review, explain, catalog

Outline, summary, test, identifications, review, compare and contrast exercise

Develop, organize, use, select, model, choose, construct, translate, experiment, illustrate

Report, diagram, graph, illustration, project, video, case study, journal

Analyze, categorize, classify, distinguish, dissect, examine, differentiate, calculate, solve, arrange

Model, report, project, solution, debates, case-study solution

Combine, compose, solve, formulate, adapt, develop, create, validate, design

Article, report, essay, experiment, composition, essay audio or video product, drawing, graph, design

Assess, evaluate, determine, measure, select, defend, score, rank, discriminate, judge, justify, conclude, recommend

Peer and self-evaluations, charts, critique

Examples of how to use the listed verbs:

See how it goes? You may struggle at first to apply this method, but it provides an analytical design, worthwhile to try out!

You will see how much more your learners will engage in your course.

While designing your objectives, it is optimal to follow Bloom’s hierarchical order of objectives and not dismiss lower levels as unworthy so that learners have all the requirements regarding previous knowledge to proceed.

Important tips:

  • Consider developing 2-3 learning objectives for each section of your course.
  • If the objectives are several, organize them into subcategories.
  • Use simple language, speak personally (ex. ‘You will be able to’) and keep objectives short.
  • Don’t use more than one sentences to express your objectives.
  • Don’t list multiple verbs in one objective – since every action will be measured and assessed differently, each verb should be in a separate objective.
  • Communicate your objectives through your course page, your welcoming video or discussion with your learners. In a next article I am going to show you how to express your objectives not in a listed manner but in a very creative one!

Lecture notes

1. Define species, habitat, population, community, ecosystem and ecology.

Species: a group of organisms that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

Habitat: the environment in which a species normally lives or the location of a living organism.

Population: a group of organisms of the same species who live in the same area at the same time.

Community: a group of populations living and interacting with each other in an area.

Ecosystem: a community and its abiotic environment.

Ecology: the study of relationships between living organisms and between organisms and their environment.

2. Distinguish between autotroph and heterotroph.

Autotroph: an organism that synthesizes its organic molecules from simple inorganic substances.

Heterotroph: an organism that obtains organic molecules from other organisms.

3. Distinguish between consumers, detritivores and saprotrophs:

Consumer: an organism that ingests other organic matter that is living or recently killed.

Detritivore: an organism that ingests non-living organic mater.

Saprotroph: an organism that lives on or in non-living organic matter, secreting digestive enzymes into it and absorbing the products of digestion.

4. Describe what is meant by a food chain, giving three examples, each with at least three linkages (four organisms).

  • only real examples should be used from natural ecosystems
  • A --> B indicates that A is being eaten by B, i.e., the arrow indicates the direction of energy flow
  • each food chain should include a producer and consumers, but not decomposers
  • named organisms should be used, at either species or genus level
  • common species names can be used instead of binomial names
  • general names such as tree or fish should not be used

5. Describe what is meant by a food web.

  • the elaborate interconnected relationships within an ecosystem based on feeding and energy transfer

6. Define trophic level.

  • the position that an organism occupies in a food chain or a group of organisms in a community that occupy the same position in food chains

7. Deduce the trophic level of organisms in a food chain and a food web.

  • place an organism at the level of producer, primary consumer, secondary consumer, and so on (as the terms herbivore and carnivore are not always applicable)

8. Construct a food web containing up to 10 organisms, using appropriate information.

  • only real examples should be used from natural ecosystems
  • A --> B indicates that A is being eaten by B, i.e., the arrow indicates the direction of energy flow
  • each food chain should include a producer and consumers, but not decomposers
  • named organisms should be used, at either species or genus level
  • common species names can be used instead of binomial names
  • general names such as tree or fish should not be used

9. State that light is the initial energy source for almost all communities.

10. Explain the energy flow in a food chain.

  • energy losses between trophic levels include:
    1. material not consumed
    2. material not assimilated
    3. heat loss through cell respiration

11. State that energy transformations are never 100% efficient.

  • energy pyramids illustrate the quantity of energy within the biomass of each trophic level
  • only a portion of energy in any level is transferred to the next, commonly being 10-20%
  • of the plant biomass consumed by a typical herbivore:
    1. 50% is not assimilated: lost as feces (indigestible cellulose)
    2. 35% is assimilated but lost as heat during cellular respiration
    3. 15% is consumed and assimilated and incorporated into biomass

13. Explain that energy enters and leaves ecosystems, but nutrients must be recycled.

  • Earth constantly loses much of its incoming energy as it:
    1. reflects light
    2. radiates heat to space
  • producers consume only about 1% of solar energy available to them into organic matter during photosynthesis
    1. 99% of solar energy never enters an ecosystem
    2. without ever being converted to the energy contained by organisms
  • generally, the total energy entering an ecosystem equals the total energy lost to the enviornment
    1. such an ecosystem would be stable
    2. in earlier stages of succession, an ecosystem captures more energy than it loses, converting the excess into increasing biomass
    3. when an ecosystem is disturbed, it might lose more energy to the environment than it gains, decreasing in total biomass
  • Earth does not exchange significant amounts of matter with space
  • therefore, the total quantity of matter on Earth is static
  • ecosystems recycle their nutrients
    1. producers use nutrients in their environment, many of which have been formed by decomposition
    2. consumers use the nutrients gained from the organisms they eat
    3. decomposers break down nutrients from the organisms they decompose, making simple compounds in the environment available to producers
  • recycling requires energy

14. State that saprotrophic bacteria and fungi (decomposers) recycle nutrients.

Student Learning Objectives

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences will:

  1. Use the scientific method to ask testable questions and to design and conduct laboratory, field, or theoret­ical investigations to address these questions.
  2. Employ mathematical and computational skills to organize, analyze, and evaluate biological data.
  3. Locate, determine the reliability of, critically evaluate and summarize scientific literature and other sources of biological information
  4. Communicate biological information in an appropriate written and/or oral format to both scientific and general audiences.

Students who graduate with a Master of Science in Biological Sciences will:

5.1 Explain the Importance of Evaluating Learning Activities

Explain the Importance of Evaluating Learning Activities.

The reasons why it is important to evaluate learning activities are:

• To see what is working and what needs removing or changing • To assess how the activities are being delivered and how they could be improved • To see how the activities are being received by the participants

Evaluation is important as it helps out when planning and helps you to think about the learning that has taken place. Spending time going through the learning activities and seeing how students have responded to a certain task or question, can really help re-shape it for future classes. It is also important to look back at the learning objects so you can measure what the children have learned. If you do not think carefully about learning objectives at the planning stage, it will not always be possible to evaluate whether pupils have achieved them.

Learning objectives need to be clear for this to be possible. • Learners must understand what the outcomes mean.
• They must be achievable.
• We must be able to assess pupils against them.

Evaluating helps you to see if something is succeeding or may need changing.

If students whizzed through the activity and then looked rather bored then it would be obvious that the task was a bit too easy and not really suitable or beneficial for that group. Therefore you would need to try and make it more engaging and stimulating, perhaps by making it more difficult or time-consuming so the students really have to work to complete it.

If the activities are taking longer than expected and you can see that the students are really struggling, things again would need to be addressed.

Students may not meet the learning objective, but they could have a real enthusiasm for the subject and have participated fully in all aspects of the lesson. You will need to record this somewhere. You should also look at the resources you have used and whether these are.


The last step in the ABCD Approach is ‘Degree’. This basically refers to the level in which a learner should perform for it to be seen as credible. The learning objective should either be at its highest level, which means that the student can produce the aim with precision and without any mistakes. Leading to the lowest level where the student can’t produce the aim at all and are making many mistakes.

To which degree should the students be assessed against to be classified as ‘achieving the aim’?

The degree can be described as: A student can “successfully construct” or A student can “accurately describe.” Be sure to elaborate on ‘successful’ and ‘accurate’ to make sure the students are fairly assessed.

You can be more specific in your assessment criteria in stating: A student can “list all 12 moving parts” or A student can “name all parts of a machine.”

When writing down the degree to which students are assessed in your learning objective make sure that it’s stated accurately. Unacceptable criteria are vague for example: “must be able to make 80 percent on a multiple-choice exam” or “must pass a final exam” or “to the satisfaction of the instructor” are not precise enough and can’t count as a degree.

Rather change “To the satisfaction of the instructor” to “according to an instructor-supplied checklist of criteria.”

The assessment criteria should be easily measured by looking at the student’s performance.

Many instructors, teachers and facilitators don’t value the importance of writing learning objectives. It’s vital to any class and should be given some thought. Learning goals, aims and objectives should be very clear before doing any kind of lesson plan. A teacher should know what they are working towards in order for students to reach their full potential and achieve the aim of the class. Writing a decent and thorough learning objective shows competency and skill of the instructor.

Using the ABCD method (Audience, Behavior, Condition and Degree) will help you clarify your learning objectives and ultimately help you and your students achieve a better outcome.

Action Words and Phrases to Avoid

Your objectives should be free of vague or ambiguous words and phrases. Below are some of the action verbs that are not observable or measurable:

Watch the video: Μαθαίνουμε Ψηφιακά, Διδάσκουμε Ψηφιακά - A βάθμια: Εισαγωγή στην Ενότητα 5 (August 2022).