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Viewing: BIO 230 : The Science of Studying Dinosaurs

Last approved: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:01:57 GMT

Last edit: Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:01:57 GMT

Catalog Pages referencing this course
Change Type
Major
BIO (Biological Sciences)
230
032442
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
No
The Science of Studying Dinosaurs
Science of Dinosaurs
College of Sciences
Biological Sciences (17BSC)
Term Offering
Fall Only
Offered Every Year
Spring 2017
Previously taught as Special Topics?
No
 
Course Delivery
Face-to-Face (On Campus)

Grading Method
Graded with S/U option
3
16
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Lecture3
Course Attribute(s)
GEP (Gen Ed)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
No
 
 
Mary Schweitzer
Professor

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Enrollment ComponentPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
Lecture7070NoWe anticipate growing to this enrollment over time, but will likely start closer to 30 students with the first offering.
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote
Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 181 or BIO 183 or BIO 105
Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
No
This course introduces students to the scientific method as applied to the study of dinosaurs and the world in which they lived. Because we cannot directly observe dinosaurs, estimating biological features such as running speed, growth rates, and reproductive and other physiological strategies presents challenges. We will examine a range of biological concepts (including cellular biology and physiology, functional morphology and biomechanics, evolutionary relationships, and paleoecology), as well as geological concepts (such as sedimentology, radiometric dating, plate tectonics, and the geologic time scale) as they apply to dinosaurs as living organisms. An understanding of biology at the introductory college level will be assumed.

The Department of Biological Sciences, in conjunction with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, is working to make available to NC State students more opportunities (in classes and in research) in the field of paleontology.  BIO 230 will serve as a foundational course in this effort.  Our department is also interested in providing more opportunities for students to explore the interface of biology with other disciplines, including other scientific disciplines.  BIO 230 will focus on biology and geology, in the context of their importance in the study of dinosaurs and the Mesozoic era.


No

Is this a GEP Course?
Yes
GEP Categories
Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Natural Sciences
Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 
Apply the scientific method to test hypotheses, solve problems, and make decisions.

Describe how fossils form and what they can tell us about biology and environment.

Outline methods for reconstructing the phylogenetic tree of dinosaurs.
 
 
Questions on exams and other assignments, such as:

-Distinguish scientific thinking from non-scientific thinking.
-Explain the use of plate tectonics in paleontology.
-Distinguish historical from experimental science.
-Identify effects of decay, degradation, and burial and how the resulting information loss affects our conclusions about fossils.
-Describe how fossils form and what they can tell us about biology and environment.

In exam questions and in-class assignments, students will be asked to use bones and fossils to draw conclusions about the organisms represented, using features of the materials and their understanding of the history of those materials to support their conclusions.
 
 
Make inferences from scientific concepts and principles and use this knowledge in solving paleontological problems.

Articulate scientific concepts and principles relevant to solving paleontological problems.
 
 
Questions on exams and other assignments, such as:

-Explain the use of plate tectonics in paleontology.
-Explain the taphonomic process and use one example to illustrate how an understanding of taphonomy is essential to interpreting fossil evidence.
Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 
Describe the distinct contributions of biological approaches and geological approaches to solving paleontological problems.
 
 
Exam questions and in-class assignments that focus on specific aspects of the two disciplinary approaches, including plate tectonics, rock types, fossil formation and interpretation, stratigraphy, taphonomy, radioactive dating, ecological hierarchies, predators and scavengers, and using bones to hypothesize body structure, movement, age, diet, and other features.
 
 
Describe examples in which the use of both biological and geological approaches is essential to a better understanding of dinosaurs as living organisms.
 
 
Exam and assignment questions, such as:

Describe one example in which the use of both biological and geological approaches is necessary to understand the form and function of a specific dinosaur. Make clear the contribution of each disciplinary approach to the conclusions drawn.
 
 
Describe the inherent interdisciplinary nature of paleontology and how biology and geology must be used together to reconstruct the past.
 
 
Exam and assignment questions, such as:
-Describe essential factors in the geological environment that are critical to understanding dinosaurs as biological creatures.

-Use one example to illustrate how the combination of biological approaches and geological approaches resulted in a better understanding of one aspect of the Mesozoic Era than could have been achieved by either discipline alone.

-Define taphonomy and identify the biological and geological factors that influence the taphonomic process.
 
 
biology and geology
 
 
This course will use biological and geological points of view to understand dinosaurs, including their physiology, their environment, and their evolution. Inherent in this process is comparison of the methods and questions of the two disciplines.
Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
&
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:
 
 

 
 

 
Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.
 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Requisites and Scheduling
100%
 
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.
 
N/A
 
b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?
 
N/A
 
List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.
 
C- or better in BIO 105 or BIO 181 or BIO 183
 
List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)
 
basic understanding of biology at the introductory college level
Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
 
Title and author of any required text or publications.
 
see syllabus
 
Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.
 
see syllabus
 
List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.
 
see syllabus
Dr. Schweitzer will teach this course as part of her teaching responsibilities.

Student Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes specific to relevant GEP requirements are indicated in parentheses, with ‘NS’ indicating Natural Sciences and ‘IP’ indicating Interdisciplinary Perspectives.  This course can be used toward either the NS or the IP requirement of the GEP.


After completing this course, students should be able to:



  • Apply the scientific method to test hypotheses, solve problems and make decisions. (NS)

  • Describe how fossils form and what they can tell us about biology and environment. (NS)

  • Discuss the scientific basis for estimating the age of fossils and the behavior of extinct organisms. (NS)

  • Outline methods for reconstructing the phylogenetic tree of dinosaurs. (NS)

  • Explain the evolution of the major groups of dinosaurs, including birds. (NS)

  • Articulate scientific concepts and principles relevant to solving paleontological problems. (NS)

  • Make inferences from scientific concepts and principles and use this knowledge in solving paleontological problems. (NS)

  • Describe the distinct contributions of biological approaches and geological approaches to solving paleontological problems. (IP)

  • Describe examples in which the use of both biological and geological approaches is essential to a better understanding of dinosaurs as living organisms. (IP)

  • Describe the inherent interdisciplinary nature of paleontology and how biology and geology must be used together to reconstruct the past. (IP)


Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Quizzes707 quizzes, each worth 10 points
Written Assignment30one Learning Journal (5 pts each) for each course module
Other100In-class participation as assessed through in-class questions and in-class lecture tutorial worksheets
Multiple exams3003 exams, each worth 100 points
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
see syllabus

aeherget (Thu, 16 Mar 2017 12:06:07 GMT): AECHH: Uploading updated syllabus at instructor's request via email 3/15/2017.
Key: 13723