Basic Terms and Concepts

In the wake of the conference, I suspect that my blog is getting checked out today by many a science teacher, so I thought this would be a good time to point out all the posts written so far by my science-blogging friends on ‘Basics Terms and Concepts’ in math and science. Here they are:
Good Math Bad Math:
Normal Distribution
Mean, Median and Mode
Standard Deviation
Margin of Error
Uncertain Principles:
Force
Fields
Pharyngula:
Gene
Discovering Biology in a Digital World:
Gene
How do you sequence a genome?
Sandwalk:
Evolution
The Central Dogma of Molecular Biology
Evolving Thoughts:
Clade
Fitness
Greg Laden:
The Three Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Natural Selection
The Modes of Natural Selection
I am still thinking what to write myself. Looking back at the stuff I have written in the past, I tend not to focus narrowly on a single term or concept, but prefer to cover a broader area. An exception may be the post in which I explain that a “biological clock” is A Metaphor, for the most part – but not always – a useful and productive metaphor. It is a language concept that helps us understand the phenomenon, not a real thing itself. If you start thinking about a biological clock as a real entity, you may just as well think it was intelligently designed.
For teachers, I think my BIO101 speed-course lecture(and lab) notes may be useful, though almost none of them cover a very narrow term or concept (some come close):
Introduction
Biology and the Scientific Method
Lab 1
Cell Structure
Protein Synthesis: Transcription and Translation
Cell-Cell Interactions
Cell Division and DNA Replication
Lab 2
From Two Cells To Many: Cell Differentiation and Embryonic Development
From Genes To Traits: How Genotype Affects Phenotype
From Genes To Species: A Primer on Evolution
What Creatures Do: Animal Behavior
Organisms In Time and Space: Ecology
Lab 3
Origin of Biological Diversity
Evolution of Biological Diversity
Current Biological Diversity
Lab 4
Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
Physiology: Regulation and Control
Physiology: Coordinated Response
Going up a level – to senior/grad school material in my own field, I have written about half of my planned series of Clock Tutorials which students taking real-world classes in Biological Clocks have so far found very useful in their studies.
I have also started slowly to cover chronobiology on a taxon-by-taxon basis but did not get too far yet. Only the series on clocks in bacteria is finished (for now, until the next batch of revolutionary studies comes out):
Circadian Clocks in Microorganisms
Clocks in Bacteria I: Synechococcus elongatus
Clocks in Bacteria II: Adaptive Function of Clocks in Cyanobacteria
Clocks in Bacteria III: Evolution of Clocks in Cyanobacteria
Clocks in Bacteria IV: Clocks in other bacteria
Clocks in Bacteria V: How about E.coli?
I just barely started on Protista:
Biological Clocks in Protista
And scratched the surface of Invertebrates:
Do sponges have circadian clocks?
Daily Rhythms in Cnidaria
and scratched the surface of Vertebrates:
Mammals
Non-mammalian vertebrates
Japanese Quail
I need to get some more of that kind of stuff written soon.

One response to “Basic Terms and Concepts

  1. Great list!
    You can add:
    Modes of Natural Selection
    http://gregladen.com/wordpress/?p=171
    Three Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Natural Selection
    http://gregladen.com/wordpress/?p=144
    and a series that are not really basic concepts but that deal with falsehoods (at least as important, in my view) under the tag “Falsehoods” (what else) on my site: gregladen.com