NATURAL SCIENCES 104
LIFE ON EARTH
Welcome to NATS 104 - Life on Earth!
In this course, you will learn about biological systems, from molecular to global.
You will gain first-hand knowledge about the processes of scientific investigation and communication.
You will gain a basic understanding of biological systems, how biological systems
are studied, how biological systems change, and how to understand and evaluate ongoing
progress in biology that effects your life.
- LEARN BIOLOGY! Attend all lectures and workshops on time, do all the readings
before lecture, hand in all assignments on time.
DON'T CHEAT! Your grade must reflect your understanding of biology.
Cheating defeats that requirement for yourself or for others.
Read the University of Arizona Code of Academic Conduct
and the University Code of Academic Integrity
Copying material from any other source is cheating. This includes
copying another person's homework, even if you worked out the problems together.
Although we encourage you to study and work together, you must complete the
work on your own. Cheating also includes giving your assignments to another
person to copy, because it causes that student's grade not to reflect their
understanding of biology. Cheating will result in a grade of zero for the assignment,
a failing grade in the course, and/or referral to the Dean of Students, Melissa Vito
email@example.com, for possible suspension
or expulsion from the University.
RESPECT: honorable and appropriate behavior.
Respect for students is shown through good manners, sympathy and impartiality.
The Professor and G.T.A.'s will be on time, prepared, and polite.
They will be flexible and sympathetic of the demands on students' lives as long as
accommodations do not violate impartiality, or prevent the learning of biology.
No favoritism should be shown. Students needing special
accommodations must register with Professor Davis in the first week of class.
Respect for the Professor and G.T.A.'s is shown in classroom manners: by showing up on time
for all classes and by not leaving early, by being quiet during class (all cell phones off),
and by following instructions.
Cheating is disrespectful to both the instructors and to fellow students.
CLASS WEB PAGE, EMAIL, AND READINGS
This course has a web page:
On this web page are IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, lecture notes, supplemental material
for the lectures, the schedule of classes, policies (including this document),
and a lot of other information that you will find useful for this class.
It is YOUR responsibility to check this web page frequently for
any new information.
You may communicate with any of us at any time by email
and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
We strongly encourage you to use this avenue to ask for clarification about the course material,
make appointments, or for any other reason relating to class. Alternatively,
if your questions are not of a personal nature, and the answers will benefit other
people in class, consider asking the question on the
The online schedule of classes
outlines the topics that
we will cover in lecture and in the workshops, and provides the reading assignments from
your textbook. The readings should be completed before
Although we will not take attendance formally, you should anticipate
a lower grade if you miss classes - for the average student, about 1/5 letter
grade for every class you miss. The lecture notes are posted on the class web page,
and the readings cover the material presented in lecture, but neither gives
the emphasis and explanation provided in the lecture. You are responsible for
all of the content of the lectures, including material not in the readings. By missing
lectures, you will miss any corrections and explanations that are made in class.
And, there are no makeups for lecture quizzes.
If you will miss a lecture or workshop - for any reason - you MUST
notify us BEFORE class by email or phone message. It is YOUR
responsibility to keep us informed. If you fail to notify us before class,
you will not be eligible for make-up lecture exams. Read
Late Materials will be assessed a penalty of 3 points per day, unless
arrangements have been made prior to the due date.
Make-up Materials: all assignments are due on the day specified on the
At the discretion of the Professor or the Workshop G.T.A., make-ups may be
made available for students (1) who have contacted the teacher in advance and
(2) who have valid reasons related to health or academic conflicts for not completing
assignments on time. There are no make-ups for quizzes and certain other
materials, and make-ups for Lecture Exams, Field Trips, and certain other materials
will have different requirements than the original ones. Only one make-up will be
given for all students missing the original exercise, and there will be no other
option to receive credit for that exercise.
Our goal is to give grades that indicate how much biology you have learned.
The level and amount of material has been selected so that an average student
can get a "C" if they do an average amount of work, and an "A" if
they work hard: spend 9 hrs/week outside class reading and reviewing,
read assigned material before class and workshop, review the notes
before and after class, miss no classes, be on time, hand assignments
in on time, do all the extra-credit assignments, attend and participate
in review sessions. Students who already know the material covered
in NATS 104 should contact Prof. Davis, regarding testing-out of the
There will be NO CURVE, but "extra credit" points will be
awarded for extra work during the course.
This is not offered as a replacement or substitute for class or workshop material,
but to reward those who go beyond the amount of material required, or who need to
supplement poor performance through an opportunity to learn the material better.
Please note that a total of only 75 extra credit points will be possible,
but that is (75/750=10% of the class) enough to raise your grade one level.
Ordinarily, extra credit assignments are worth 10 points each. Your total will be
based on the best 8 assignments, if more than 8 are offered.
Deadlines: extra-credit material must be turned in on time.
Late material will be assessed a penalty of 3 points per day after the
due date & time. Also, see the statements on
cheating elsewhere in this syllabus.
Note that there are policies with implications for your grade in other sections
in this syllabus. Here we explain procedures and policies for this class.
Please read the following material carefully.
Our emphasis is on learning, not on testing. The exams and
quizzes are a means to an end, not the goal itself.
The purpose of the exams is to evaluate each student's understanding of
all material presented in NATS 104, not to reward students for memorizing
a small part of this material. Our philosophy is that all of the
material is important, not just one or two figures or tables; this important
material includes the assigned readings, the lectures, the workshops, and the
field trip. Each of the three lecture exams will include 20 - 50 questions,
for a total of 100 points on each exam.
During the exam period, no exam will be handed out after the first student to finish
the exam has left the room. The third exam is scheduled for one hour during the final
exam time for this class. It is not a comprehensive exam, it covers the material
in the last third of the course. There is no make-up for the third lecture exam.
Un-announced quizzes will be given during lecture. The purpose of the quizzes is to
evaluate students' understanding of current topics (for example, that day's assigned reading
and the previous lecture). They have the added benefit of encouraging students to read
assignments before class, and to review notes after lecture.
They are also a means of evaluating student attendance.
There will be a total of 10 quizzes, and your grade will be based on the 8 highest scores.
There are NO make-up quizzes. If you miss a quiz FOR ANY REASON, including
illness, sporting events, family emergencies, etc., your grade will be based on the
All students in NATS 104 must attend lecture on MW 12-12:50, and in addition one of the
one-hour workshops on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
You must attend the workshop you signed up for,
or complete a formal drop-add form, otherwise your will not receive a grade at the end of the semester.
Some of us find it easier to learn by doing, and the Workshops provide an
opportunity to learn in a "hands-on" way the major themes of NATS 104, and to expand on them.
The workshops offer exposure to the scientific process, including research methods,
analysis and compilation of data, library research, scientific debate, and the writing of
research reports and papers. Your workshop exercises are worth 20-50 points each. They
must be handed in on time to receive full credit. [expectations] (link added 2/28/03)
There will be one REQUIRED field trip.
The purpose of the field trip is to study the Santa Catalina Mountains Vegetation Zones.
All trips depart at 8:00 AM sharp, from the north side of Gould-Simpson,
and return before 5:00 PM.
Sign-up sheets will be posted in the workshops, and will be first come-first served.
The limit on each trip is 60 persons per day (4 15-passenger vans).
You will complete a report that will be handed in at the end of the field trip.
Attendance on the field trip and the report are worth 50 points.
Revised by OKD 1/9/04