FALL, 2003

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.

  1. LEARN BIOLOGY! Attend all lectures and workshops on time, do all the readings before lecture, hand in all assignments on time.
  2. 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 (link) and the University Code of Academic Integrity (link). 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, for possible suspension or expulsion from the University.

  3. 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.


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 listserv.

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 lecture.


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 MORBYMORT

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 class schedule. 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.


The level of instruction in NATS104 Life on Earth is designed to be appropriate for high-school graduates who have met the standards of admission to the University of Arizona by having recieved passing grades in three high-school science classes.


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 course (CLEP). 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 remaining quizzes.


All students in NATS 104 must attend lecture on MW 11-11:50, and in addition one of the one-hour workshops on 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 42 persons per day (3 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.


"It was God who made me so beautiful. If I weren't, then I would be a teacher."
Linda Evangelista


Revised by OKD 8/28/03