Systems/Holistic Biology

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Classroom Learning Environment: A multi - modal track.

Lecture Methodologies:

A class meeting occurs twice a week. Each meeting consists of two hours of lecture and a 1.5 hours lab.

First Hour Lecture:

The first hour will consist of lecture by the instructor. The lecture will be multi-modal.

1. The information will be presented in narrative form - spoken word

2. The narrative will often be supported by powerpoint or white board - written word.

3. The narrative will occasionally be supported by systems diagramming - illustrations of systems structure.

4. A computer simulation of a system may be used - illustration of the dynamics of a system.

5. The mathematics underlying the simulation will be presented by way of narrative, written word, and

simple algebra - you make your choice of your learning modality.

6. Advanced math to describe some dynamics will be made available to advanced math students.

Second Hour Lecture:

The Second hour will consist of guided student interaction:

1. A class discussion of an relevant topics might be facilitated by the instructor or a student.

2. The class may break into teams and explore topics and report their conclusions.

3. The instructor may conduct demonstrations to reinforce learning of important topics.

4. Occasionally a guest speaker may present pertinant information in this hour.

5. Other group learning methodologies may be employed.

Systems Lab (1and 1/2 hours):

Students will work in small teams (3-4) in the systems lab. The teams will be balanced to ensure that each team has a membership possessing a variety of learning modalities

The first hour of the lab:

1. In some of the lab exercises students will follow lab book instructions and, after a team discussion,

students will write answers to questions that have been posed.

2. Lab teams may also build models (e.g. DNA) or diagram systems.

3. Most labs will consist of the teams exploring the dynamics of biological systems by computer simulation.

(See list of computer simulations in the right column of this page.)

4. One lab will consist of students presenting their projects - a bio-systems analysis of a complex biological

system of their choice.

The final 1/2 hour of the lab:

1. Labs will often be completed by short (informal) reports of the results and conclusions of each team.

2. Labs may sometimes be completed by a guided discussion including discussion from the whole class.

Simulations used in Lab:

1. Determining information content of strings

2. Computational math approximating

calculus

3 . Hardy-Weinberg equation

4. Natural selection

5. Genetic drift

6. Malaria/Sickle Cell Anemia dynamics

7. Exponential population growth dynamics

8. Logistic (limited) population growth

9. Chaos in population growth

10. Chaos in a cellular automaton - Rule 30

11. Game-of-Life by cellular automaton

12. Self-organization in bark beetle larvae

13. Predator/Prey dynamics

14. Wolf and elk population dynamics and

carrying capacity of elk.

15. Managing a lodgepole pine forest to

optimize carbon sequestration and

mitigate climate change.