Biology Textbook: Controversial Topics to Understanding Life

9 Biology Textbook Topics

Until recently, 9 biology textbook topics focused on controversial social issues such as human evolution and genetic engineering. These topics were placed at the back of the book, a practice that dates to the 1930s, as instructors move forward through chapters.

Textbooks have long favored description sentences over actionable solutions. However, sentence content offering solutions peaked in the 1990s and has declined since then.

Cause and Effect

A cause and effect is a relationship between events where one event makes another event happen. This concept is also known as Causality.

The text is well written and aims to make learning biology easier. It has colorful graphics, easily digestible tables and definitions that make memorization easy. It also includes “Check your progress” sections and a variety of online resources. It is ideal for students in introductory biology courses.

It is a hefty textbook, but it does contain a lot of information. It is recommended for those who want to learn about cellular and molecular biology as well as animal form and function. It also offers a strong emphasis on evolution, so it is ideal for those who want to take the subject further.

Designed for high school and university level introductory biology courses, it integrates the best of both ‘wet’ (experimental) and ‘dry’ (computational/theoretical) approaches to biological science. It provides a strong foundation in the experimental basis of cell and molecular biology as well as offering extensive coverage of the latest discoveries and developments.

Structure and Function

Home schooled students pursuing a college preparatory biology course of study will find this book to be the perfect resource. It distills the vast knowledge of cell biology into concise principles and enduring concepts.

While “structure determines function” was explicitly stated as a big idea in most of the chemistry syllabi, it was less clear whether this concept was emphasized in B1. Many students reported that they had discussed structure-property relationships, but fewer reported discussing structure-function relationships.

When asked to discuss function, most students provided a variety of definitions, most often describing the purpose or job of a structure (e.g., Shelly describing ribosomes as binding mRNA and tRNA to facilitate protein synthesis). Only three of the 14 students could describe a clear relationship between structure and function—Joseph, Ruth, and Priyah—and one student, Serina, appeared to be confused about the distinction. In contrast, most of the other students had no problem identifying and analyzing structure-property relations.


The study of genes is a key part of biology. It explores the way that traits are passed from parents to offspring based on a sequence of information that is encoded in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The structure of DNA is shaped like a corkscrew-twisted ladder, with two ladder rails called backbones and rungs made up of pairs of the building blocks adenine, thymine and guanine. The sequence of these atoms determines the amino acid sequence in proteins, which then determines how the body works.

Genetics was first formally studied by Gregor Mendel in the mid-19th century, when he cross-pollinated pea plants to determine whether certain characteristics were dominant or recessive. His work established the basic principles of heredity.

For the deeper thinker who loves to read and is interested in more than just textbooks, there are some great homeschool books that are more interesting than your standard biology text book. For example, The Double Helix by James Watson is a fascinating personal account of the scientific discovery that changed our understanding of life.


The theory of evolution is the process by which heritable traits can change over time through natural selection, resulting in the emergence of new species. These organisms, more adapted to their environment than other members of the same species, are better able to survive and reproduce. Over time, these adaptations can become the dominant traits of a new species.

Evolution can also be understood as a change in the rate at which genetic information is passed from one generation to the next. This change is reflected in a change in the number of alleles present in an organism.

Students learn to master biology topics with this comprehensive textbook, which distills vast amounts of knowledge into concise principles and enduring concepts. Features include learning objectives at the beginning of every chapter, exercises that call for clear articulation and full-sentence answers, and an organization of chapters that builds logically from the microscopic to the macroscopic level. This book is a direct response to the Vision and Change and BIO2010 national reform efforts and promotes critical learning gains in scientific, quantitative, and metacognitive ability.

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