I used "Campbell Essential Biology" by E.J. Simon, J.B.Reece and J.L. Dickey. 
It is a book for non-biology  majors that has 20 chapters, all of them with a 
focus on evolution and examples, and nice drawings and pictures. Twelve of the 
20 chapters are geared toward cell-DNA, then three chapters on taxonomy and 
systematics. The last three include populations & ecology, communities & 
ecosystems, and the biosphere. Therefore, you will have to add extra material 
to recreate those last topics. 

I created  several evolution labs using beans or the web pages below, designed 
a ppt to introduce Darwin's life and thoughts, and added many lab activities to 
learn about mark-recapture techniques, estimating population growth rate & 
size, population growth models, climate change, and identifying biomes. 

Evolution links to check are:

I used those as base for the lab activities.

Hope this helps.


Helena Puche, Ph. D. 

Adjunct Assistant Professor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Biological Sciences, 3464 SES, MC

845 West Taylor Street 

Chicago, IL 60607hpu...@uic.edu

--- On Fri, 5/25/12, Johnson, David R <drjohns...@utep.edu> wrote:

From: Johnson, David R <drjohns...@utep.edu>
Subject: [ECOLOG-L] Non-Majors Biology
Date: Friday, May 25, 2012, 2:49 PM


I am teaching a "contemporary biology" course for non-science majors in the 
fall and for the first time I am fortunate to be able to organize the course at 
my discretion. Effectively, I can present any material I wish as long as I hit 
broad themes such as Cell Theory and Evolution. While this is certainly doable, 
I am struggling deciding exactly what content to present. The course is meant 
to present the science of contemporary issues that may be important and/or 
interesting to the non-science student rather than a broad survey course 
encompassing all of biology. There is another such survey course with a set 
syllabus that I am not teaching, and there are two other sections of 
contemporary biology that are focusing on genetics. I would like to focus on 
the many ecological issues that both affect and are affected by humans. My 
struggle involves the fact that this may be the only (or last) biology these 
students get before we cast them out into the world.
 So I want to be sure and cover all my bases. 

I am writing Ecolog with two questions. First, what is the relative merit of 
including as much biology as possible as opposed to focusing on fewer but 
perhaps more directly relevant ecological topics? These students will most 
likely not become scientists, and certainly won't need to memorize the 
structure of all the amino acids, for example. On the other hand, would I be 
cheating them somehow by not providing enough information to them for making 
informed decisions on topics outside of my direct area of expertise, such as 
developmental biology and stem cells?

The other question I have involves textbooks. Is anyone aware of a text (or 
perhaps pop-science books) designed for the non-science major that focuses on 
ecology, in particular the involvement of humans in ecological systems? I 
haven't been able to find something I like and am looking for recommendations.

Thanks and I'll circulate a summary response if/when the discussion runs its 



David R. Johnson PhD.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Systems Ecology Lab
University of Texas at El Paso

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