Introduction to Evolution and Scientific Inquiry

This website contains all materials used in BIOL 01104 Section 12, Fall 2019 at Rowan University with Dr. Spielman. This course meets Monday and Friday 12:30-1:45 pm and Wednesday 11:00 am-1:45 pm in Science Hall 241.

All grading and assignment submissions (unless otherwise stated) will be hosted on Blackboard, but course materials will be posted on this site.

  • Download the course syllabus. This document contains all course policies. When in doubt, check here first (or FAQs at the bottom of this page).

  • Download the regrade form. This form may be used to request a form regrade on an assignment or exam. Please consult this document for instructions.

  • Student Visiting Hours will be held Monday in Science Hall 201D from 2:30 - 4:30 pm. You do not need to make an appointment. To speak with me one-on-one with a guarantee of privacy, please set up an appointment with me via email.

  • Assigments are always due at the beginning of class unless otherwise stated. For example, if an assignment is due on Wednesday, it must be submitted by 11:00 am, and if an assignment is due Monday or Friday, it must be submitted by 12:30 pm. Any assignments submitted after the start of class are considered late and will not be accepted without prior permission.

  • Remember to do your Rowan Passport activities! This document contains instructions for registering for and participating in Rowan Passport.

  • Scroll down for FAQs!

Class Schedule and Materials

Materials are subject to change up until the day of class based on student progress. Note that many slides will pertain to several days of class. In-class worksheets are NOT graded.

There are four assignments marked as “RS completion grade” will be merged into a single assignment grade at the end of the semester. All such assignments are completion grades.

No. Day/Date
Topic and Slides
Readings/Assignments DUE
Worksheet and/or Assignment
1 W 9/4 Scientific Method: Hypotheses and Predictions None None None
2 F 9/6 Scientific Method: Experimental design Read Chapter 1 of textbook Worksheet / Worksheet Solutions None
3 M 9/9 Scientific Method: Interpreting experimental results None Worksheet / Worksheet Solutions End of regular course add/drop period
4 W 9/11 Lab: Scientific Method (Termites) None Assignment (due 9/18/19 at 11 am on Blackboard) Submit both CITI Lab Safety Training Certificates to Blackboard by 10 am, bring lab coat and lab goggles to class, and wear close-toed shoes. You will not be allowed into class without confirmed submissions and appropriate dress.
5 F 9/13 Scientific Method: Representing Data I Read box on pages 37-38 of textbook, “A Closer Look: Correlation” Quantitative Data Visualization Website None
6 M 9/16 Scientific Method: Representing Data II None Worksheet / Worksheet Solutions End of late course add/drop period
7 W 9/18 Lab: Scientific Measurements (Stickleback) Scientific Method (Termite) Lab assignment due on Blackboard Lab Instructions

Lab Writeup Template

Class Google Sheet

Plotting website (optional but recommended)
Bring lab coat and lab goggles to class, and wear close-toed shoes. You will not be allowed into class without these.
8 F 9/20 Seminar by Dr. Casey Greene in Science 254 None None Deadline to submit Accommodations Paperwork (for Exam 1) and Athletics Schedule
9 M 9/23 Evolution by Natural Selection: Variation and heritability I Read Chapter 2 None TBD
10 W 9/25 Evolution by Natural Selection: Variation and heritability II Scientific Measurements (Stickleback) Lab assignment due on Blackboard

Read Chapter 3 sections 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Heritability and Natural Selection assignment (due 10/2/19 in class) None
11 F 9/27 Exam 1 Review and Discussion Submit two review questions to Blackboard (RS completion grade) None None
12 M 9/30 Exam 1 None Covers classes 1-8
13 W 10/2 Evodots Activity Download “Evodots” software and read activity instructions (links to download site)

“Heritability and Natural Selection” assignment due in class
EvoDots Download/Activity Instructions

EvoDots Activity Assignment (due 10/9/19 on at 11 am on Blackboard)
Bring laptop to class with EvoDots installed
14 F 10/4 Exam 1 Regroup and other Rowan Seminar excitement None Fill in your calendar None
15 M 10/7 Sexual Selection Show your completed calendar in class (RS completion grade)

Read Section 3.5 of book
None None
16 W 10/9 Measuring natural selection in populations I Submit Evodots assignment to Blackboard

Read section 3.1 of book
Sexual selection and natural selection worksheet Solutions None
17 F 10/11 Measuring natural selection in populations II Read Chapter 4 sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, and 4.7 (not 4.6) Selection coefficients and fitness worksheet Solutions Bring calculator to class
18 M 10/14 Beyond natural selection: Mutation, Drift, and Migration I Read section 4.6 of book None None
19 W 10/16 Testing for evolution Read Section 4.5 of book Worksheet Solutions

Fitness, selection, and HWE assignment due 10/23
Bring calculator to class
20 F 10/18 Beyond natural selection: Mutation, Drift, and Migration II None None None
21 M 10/21 Evolutionary forces in action I On-campus application link

Off-campus application link
In-class evolfoRces worksheet

evolfoRces assignment due 10/28/19 at 12:30 pm on Blackboard. Late submissions will not be allowed for this assignment.
Bring laptop to class
22 W 10/23 Evolutionary forces in action II None Same worksheet continued

Submit “Fitness, selection, and HWE Problem Set” on PAPER at start of class (11am).
Bring laptop to class
23 F 10/25 Evolutionary forces in action III None Same worksheet continued Bring laptop to class
24 M 10/28 Exam 2 Review and Discussion Submit two review questions to Blackboard (RS completion grade)

Submit evolfoRces assignment to Blackboard by 12:30 pm (Late assignments NOT accepted!!)
None End of course withdrawal period
25 W 10/30 Exam 2 None None Covers classes 9-24. This exam will go from 11-12:15 ONLY.
26 F 11/1 Exam 2 Regroups None None None
27 M 11/4 Speciation Read Sections 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5 of textbook (skip content about phylogenetics/evolutionary trees) None None
28 W 11/6 Phylogenetics I Read the following resources:

1. Understanding Evolutionary Trees

2. Phylogenetic trees (Khan Academy)
3. Building a phylogenetic tree (Khan Academy)
Assignment due 11/20/19 on Blackboard (you have 2 weeks!)

29 F 11/8 Phylogenetics II None Worksheet Solutions None
30 M 11/11 Phylogenetics III None Worksheet Solutions None
30 W 11/13 Phylogenetics Activity On-campus application link

Off-campus application link
Activity worksheet Bring laptop to class
32 F 11/15 No class today (BUT!!) None You must complete an online (Blackboard) assignment anytime during TODAY. The assignment will be available from 12:01 am - 11:59 pm today ONLY. None
33 M 11/18 Biogeography Read Section 6.6 Worksheet None
34 W 11/20 The phylogenetics of speciation Speciation/Phylogenetics assignment due to Blackboard by 11:00 am Worksheet None
35 F 11/22 Exam 3 Review and Discussion None Submit two review questions to Blackboard None
36 M 11/25 Exam 3 None None Covers classes 26-35.
37 W 11/27 Happy Thanksgiving! None None None
38 M 12/2 A brief history of the world: Origins and Major Transitions Read Chapter 8 None None
39 W 12/4 A brief history of the world: The fossil record Read Chapter 7 None None
40 F 12/6 Human Evolution None None None
41 M 12/9 Optional Final Exam Review Session Submit Review Assignment on Blackboard

Make sure Rowan Passport is completed and submitted to Blackboard by TUESDAY 12/10 at 11:59 pm to Blackboard
None None

FINAL EXAM ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 13TH 2:45-4:45 PM IN SCI 241 (our classroom)


  • What topics am I responsible for on exams?

    Each midterm exam covers a specific set of classes, as outlined in the course schedule above, but the final exam will be cumulative and consider the entire semester. Exams are all short-answer format, not multiple choice. Questions you see on homeworks and in-class worksheets are very representative of the types of questions you will see on exams. Importantly, you are only responsible for materials discussed in class - if a topic appeared in the reading but was not discussed in class, you will not be responsible for it. If a topic appeared in the reading and in class, or just in class but not in the readings, it is “fair game” for exams. The best strategy for studying is to redo (and redo, and redo, and redo…) in-class exercises and assignments to gain a deep familiarity and comfort. Start early, don’t only cram, and make sure you get enough sleep!

  • I forgot to turn in my assignment. Can I still get credit for it?

    Generally, all assignments are due at the deadline stated in the course schedule. However, you are entitled to one late assignment during the semester, to be submitted within 24 hours of the original deadline. You must receive permission from Dr. Spielman to take advantage of this late assignment. Otherwise, special permission must be obtained at least 24 hours before the assignment deadline if you need an extension.

  • I don’t understand a certain topic we discussed in class. How can I get help?

    There are many ways to get help with class materials! First, you can come to Student Visiting Hours Monday 2-4 pm in SCI 201D and work directly with Dr. Spielman and/or your fellow students to master difficult topics, work on homework assignments, etc. You can also email me directly to set up a one-on-one meeting time. Second, Rowan has formal Tutoring Services described here. In particular, there are specific peer tutors desginated for this very class whose entire role is to help you succeed in Introduction to Evolution.

  • I emailed you but didn’t hear back. Why not?

    Generally, I will respond to your email in a timely fashion, with some exceptions: Emails may not be checked during Saturdays, or from 7 pm - 9 am, and inappropriate emails may also not receive a reply (see the syllabus for email policy). If you feel your email should have been considered but wasn’t, send another email and remind me to get to it! Be aware that I receive at least 50 emails a day, so sometimes things get lost in the Inbox Abyss.

  • I’m worried about my academic standing in this class, or other classes. What should I do to get back on track?

    Come to Student Visiting Hours Monday 2-4 pm in SCI 201D, or set up an appointment with Dr. Spielman to talk about your situation. You should also regularly meet with your academic advisor to discuss general issues about your standing at Rowan - they are here to help you! That’s literally their entire job description, so take advantage!

  • What happens if I don’t come to class?

    Attendance in this class is mandatatory, but it is possible to receive excused absences by contacting me via email at least 24 hours before class time with a valid reason for not being able to attend. If you receive a confirmation response over email, your absence is excused. If you do not receive a positive email response, there is no guarantee your absence will be excused.

    If you are sick, DO NOT COME TO CLASS. You can obtain an excused absence within 24 hours of class time in this circumstance, but you must contact me about it. Note that students who have recurrent “late-excused” absences may need to meet with Dr. Spielman to ensure that the absences are legitimate.

    Finally, each student gets one free absence every semester (except for the two lab days) to take a personal day and stay healthy - physically, mentally, and emotionally! You must contact me at least 24 hours before class time to receive your free absence.