BSCI 124  

BSCI 124
Plant Biology for Non-Science Majors


Fall 2003 Syllabus:
Lab Manager
| General Info | Lab Manual | Lab Policies | Grading |
Lab Schedule
| Teaching Assistants

Fall 2003 Syllabus
Lecture Presentations

Sample Exam Questions
Extra Credit Plant Project
Glossary Terms
Course Policies
Study Suggestions

BSCI 125 Lab


BSCI 125– Plant biology for non-science majors

Lab Manager:

Dr. Edgar Moctezuma
Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
3105 H. J. Patterson Hall
(301) 405-1638
Laboratory Rooms: 3104 and 3127 HJ Patterson Hall



Course Description: Welcome to BSCI 125, a 1-credit course in plant biology specifically designed for non-science majors. In this lab course, you will investigate the processes by which plants function, develop an understanding of the great diversity of plants and their importance on earth, and gain an understanding of the complex role of plants in the environment and in our society. BSCI 125 and BSCI 124 must be taken in the same semester to count for the CORE Lab Science requirement. BSCI 124 taken alone will not count as a non-lab science for CORE.


Laboratory Manual:
You must purchase a NEW laboratory manual to complete the exercises. You can get the lab manual, Experiments in Introductory Botany, Revised Third Edition (light green cover) by Angela Caines, at the University Book Center in the lower level of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union. You must bring your lab manual with you every time you come to lab. All assignments completed in lab will be handed in at the end of each lab period.


Student Responsibilities and Preparation for Lab:

    1. You are required to read the entire assigned laboratory exercise and to complete the pre-lab questions before attending lab.
    2. Be on time for lab! During the first fifteen minutes of each lab, your TA will administer a pre-lab quiz. The quiz will cover the pre-lab questions and introductory material of the exercise in the lab manual. If you arrive late, you will have only the remaining quiz time to take the quiz.
    3. During the lab, record data and observations in the data section of your lab manual. Ask questions during the lab if the material is unclear.
    4. Answer the end-of-lab discussion questions (handed out in each lab).
    5. Tear out, staple together, and hand in the data section and completed discussion questions.


Students are required to observe the following lab rules:

    1. No eating, drinking, handling of contact lenses, or application of cosmetics in the laboratory room!
    2. Cell phones and pagers must be turned off while in the laboratory room.
    3. No open-toed shoes or bare feet in the laboratory room.
    4. Do not write on the laboratory benches. This action is subject to disciplinary action by the Judicial Board. Do not jeopardize your lab grade!

      Any student found defacing University property will be told to leave the lab room and will receive a zero for the lab exercise on that day.
    5. Only students who are registered for the course are allowed to attend the labs. Children are not permitted in the laboratory room.
    6. Keep your lab bench area free of clutter at all times. Unnecessary books, backpacks, and purses should be placed under the lab bench on the floor.
    7. Any accident or injury, no matter how minor, must be immediately reported to your laboratory TA.
    8. All broken glassware and used microscope cover slips must be disposed of in the broken-glass container, NOT in the regular trash can.
      Report any broken equipment to your laboratory TA.


Lab Attendance Policy:
Attendance in the laboratories is mandatory and expected. There are NO MAKE-UP LABS or QUIZZES for illnesses or excuses other than those for
prescheduled participation in official athletic competition for the University of Maryland and for intended absences for valid religious observances.

Students can miss only one lab and one quiz without penalty (see Grading). The following regulations will be strictly enforced:

    1. Religious observances and Athletic excuses: Limited lab rescheduling can be arranged only for valid athletic excuses and for religious observances. With written permission from Dr. Caines, you will be assigned to attend another lab section, but only in the same week as the absence. Students who contact Dr. Caines the week after the missed lab will NOT be eligible to make up the lab and will receive a zero score for that lab exercise and quiz.
    2. It is the student’s responsibility to inform Dr. Caines in advance of any intended absence for religious observances or athletic travel dates. Notice should be provided as soon as possible, but no later than the schedule adjustment period deadline.

      * A note on proper documentation: The only acceptable form of documentation for an athlete will be a written note from the athletic department stating explicitly that the student will be unable to attend class on the date of the lab to be missed due to participation in athletic competition for the University of Maryland. We check all excuses with your coaches, so please inform them that we will be calling to verify any specified travel dates.
    3. Refer to the current edition of the UMCP Undergraduate Catalog for additional general policies and procedures.
    4. You must attend the laboratory for which you are registered. You may not attend a different lab section unless you have written permission from Dr. Caines.
    5. Early completion of this lab course is not an option. You are required to attend labs for the entire semester.
    6. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: students with disabilities should inform Dr. Caines of their needs as soon as possible, but no later than February 10, 2003.


Academic Integrity:

    1. While you will often be working with lab partners discussing lab ideas, you may not copy each other’s lab work. All drawings and written work, including the research paper, are to be the product of your own individual effort.
    2. By enrolling in the course, you agree to abide by the University's Code of Academic Integrity. The Code prohibits students from cheating on exams, plagiarizing papers, submitting fraudulent documents, and forging signatures. If you are unfamiliar with these guidelines, consult the University's Student Catalog.





  1.  There are a total of 11 lab exercises. The lowest lab exercise and quiz will be dropped (this does NOT include the research paper/presentation lab, which all students are expected to complete). Your grade will be calculated as follows:

  2.   9 lab exercises x 32 points each
    9 lab quizzes x 12 points each
    1 Research paper/presentation
    Research paper topic form handed in on time
    Research paper references handed in on time
    Copy of peer reviewed scientific journal article handed in on time
    = 288
    = 108
    = 84
    = 10
    = 5
    = 5
    Total 500


Final letter grades: The grade for the total number of points accumulated in the class will be assigned as follows:

    483-500 A+
    465-482 A
    450-464 A-
    432-449 B+
    414-431 B
    400-413 B-
    382-399 C+
    364-381 C
    350-363 C-
    332-349 D+
    314-331 D
    300-313 D-
          < 300 F

  1. Three invalid or unexcused lab absences (not including the one dropped lab exercise/quiz) will result in a grade of ‘F’ for the course.
  2. Lab grades will be assigned on the basis of the quality of your lab work and weekly quizzes.
  3. BSCI 124 and BSCI 125 are separate courses. You will receive a separate grade for each course.


Your continued enrollment in this course constitutes a binding contract. Therefore, all course participants hereby agree to this grading system.
There will be no competition among participants and final course grades will not be discussed or negotiated. You either have the points or you do not.



Week of Lab Exercise
Pre-Lab Quiz
Sept. 8 Introduction and Check-in
Sept. 15 1. Cell Structure Exercise #1
Sept. 22 2. Plant Genetics Exercise #2
Sept. 29 3. Biological Diversity Exercise #3
Oct. 6 4. Plant Adaptations Exercise #4
* Start thinking about your research paper topic!
Oct. 13 5. Gymnosperms Exercise #5
Oct. 20 6. Flowers and Pollination Exercise #6
Oct. 27 7. Library Lab Exercise #11
* Meet in your lab classroom first for a quiz
* Research Paper Topic Form due (page 145)
Nov. 3 8. The Movement of Water in Plants Exercise #7
Nov. 10 9. Photosynthesis Exercise #8
* Research Paper References Form Due (p. 147)
* Peer reviewed scientific journal article due
Nov. 17 10. Supermarket Botany Exercise #10
Nov. 24 THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY – No labs this week!
Dec. 1 11. Research Paper Presentation Exercise #11
* Research Papers Due in lab
Dec. 8 Go to lab and pick-up leftover graded labs and visual aides from your TA.


Teaching Assitants: Fall 2003
Kathy D’Ovidio
Linda Pope
Wanda Kelly
Rajesh Kasiviswanathan
Madhura Kulkarni



Fall 2003
Dr. Edgar Moctezuma

University of Maryland

Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics
College of Life Sciences | University of Maryland, College Park