Life on this Rock: Biology
Life on this Rock: Biology
Along the way, Life on this Rock shows how scientists who made major key discoveries achieved success by bringing together knowledge from fields other than science.
The subtitle of Life on this Rock: Biology, “An Introduction to Biology for Students Majoring in Other Fields,” says it all. Life on this Rock: Biology is not “Biology-Lite,” in which the subject matter is merely diluted.
Life on this Rock: Biology begins by explaining how the “Scientific Method” is not just an academic exercise confined to a laboratory, but rather a universal approach that can be applied to various aspects of life, such as critiquing a business plan, analyzing a contract, or validating the “facts” being shouted through a microphone. The introductory chapter continues by removing the mystery of how science is conducted and reported.
Each chapter builds upon the previous one, guiding the reader from a simple, yet complete, investigation of the molecules that form us, how we and other organisms live and reproduce, and ultimately how we and all other organisms are dependent upon each other and the Earth itself.
Life on this Rock: Biology allows students, regardless of their prior exposure to science, to gain a critical understanding of aspects that affect their lives now and will continue to do so in the future, including…
Regardless of one’s field of study or line of work, everyone needs a basic understanding of these issues that they can apply to everyday life. This understanding is rooted in Biology, the study of life.
Along the way, Life on this Rock: Biology shows how scientists who made major key discoveries achieved success by “thinking outside the box” and bringing together knowledge from fields other than science, highlighting the importance of a broad base in one’s education. The Life on this Rock series was crafted from the author’s >20 years of teaching Biology to university students of all majors and all levels, with the recognition that they are the scholars, and the voters, of our future.
Self-assessment questions, with accessible answers, included in each chapter help the reader focus on key points.
Life on this Rock
An introduction to biology for students majoring in other fields
Life on this Rock
Form and Function of Living Things
An introduction to physiology for students majoring in fields other than health science
Life on this Rock
Biology with Physiology
Expanded edition that includes both Biology and Form and Function of Living Things
Life on this Rock
An active learning approach that aligns to NGSS Life Science for high school
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Thinking Like a Scientist
Why Care About Science
The Scientific Method
The Null Hypothesis: A Safeguard for Good Science
How Science is Conducted and Reported
Science and Faith
Science Beyond the Classroom
Chapter 1 Test Bank v1
Chapter 1 Test Bank v2
Living Things are made of Cells, and Cells are made of Molecules
Some Basic Chemistry
Want Life? Just Add Water!
The Molecules of Life
Cells: Self-Replicating, Self-Sustaining Machines
Chapter 2 Test Bank v1
Chapter 2 Test Bank v2
Living Things Survive by Gathering, Storing and Using Energy
What is Energy?
ATP: the “Money” Molecule
Enzymes Give Metabolism a Boost
Moving Things Across Membranes
Photosynthesis: Solar Power Rules!
Respiration: “Break It Down, Now!”
Chapter 3 Test Bank v1
Chapter 3 Test Bank v2
The Genetic Code: Instructions to Build Living Things
Meiosis: How to Make New Organisms
Mendel and Genetics: Thinking Outside the Box
Putting Our Genes to Work
Human Genetic Disorders
Chapter 4 Test Bank v1
Chapter 4 Test Bank v2
Life has Evolved and Continues to Evolve
Evolution: An Idea Whose Time Had Come
Natural Selection in Action
Evolution of New Species: Many Small Steps Cover a Long Distance
Evolution of Animal Behavior
Chapter 5 Test Bank v1
Chapter 5 Test Bank v2
Living Things and the World
Ecology and the Dynamics of Populations
Communities and Ecosystems: Who Lives Where, and How?
For Better or Worse: Humans and the Biosphere
Chapter 6 Test Bank v1
Chapter 6 Test Bank v2
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Life on this Rock: Biology was originally developed by Professor Thomas B. Shea to meet a specific need – to allow college students, regardless of their prior exposure to science, to gain a critical understanding of aspects of Biology that affect their lives now and will continue to do so in the future. Professor Shea recognizes that he may be the last scientist such students will ever hear from, and strives to leave them well-versed in the Scientific Method, in order to provide them with the ability to evaluate headlines and claims with a scientific approach, and to call for evidence.
His unique ability to present complex science in a manner accessible to students majoring in all fields resulted in a >4-fold increase in enrollment in Life Science classes by at his University, and adoption of Life on this Rock by multiple other institutions.
Remembering his High School years, when not all students were headed to college, and most of those that were uncertain of their college major, Shea considered the potential utility of Life on this Rock: Biology for High School students.
To develop a High School version of his text, Professor Shea partnered with Kimberly A. Gonzalez, a certified high school science instructor with a Masters Degree in Education. Like Professor Shea, Ms. Gonzalez takes an active approach to learning, and recognized the appropriateness of the student-friendly language and accessibility of complex scientific processes provided by Life on this Rock.
Ms. Gonzalez developed the modifications and supplements that align Life on this Rock with the Next Generation High School Life Science Standards.
Modifications for the Special High School version of Life on this Rock include:
Visit to the Life on this Rock: AP Biology page >>
Professor & Director
Laboratory for Neuroscience
Department of Biological Sciences
Middlesex Community College
Dr. Shea has published over 300 scientific articles, trained 16 doctoral students, 30 Master’s degree recipients, and supervised over 35 undergraduate research projects. While he’s enjoyed teaching at all levels for 20 years, he particularly likes teaching Life Science to students majoring in other fields, where he has “the opportunity to present important aspects of science to the voters of the future.”
Dr. Shea holds his Ph.D. degree in Biology from Northeastern University, and earned his M.S. and B.A. degrees in Biology at the University of Massachusetts. He has obtained over 5 million dollars in funding for his research, from sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Labs, the Alzheimer’s Association, the ALS Association, and the American Federation for Aging Research.
Dr. Shea and his team have demonstrated that certain combinations of vitamins and nutritional supplements not only delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, but if started early enough, can actually improve memory and mood in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as well at adults without dementia. He frequently presents a wide range of seminars and workshops on the benefit of nutrition for age-related loss of memory. When not at work, Dr. Shea studies karate, where he holds a 6th degree black belt, and tends to his Japanese Garden.
Kimberly Gonzalez is currently an assistant professor at Middlesex Community College, where she teaches General Biology and Microbiology courses to life science and health science majors.
Prior to her community college appointment, Ms. Gonzalez taught high school biology, microbiology, and general biology, at various levels, for 12 years at Lowell High School.
Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Gonzalez worked as a clinical microbiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA. She holds a B.S. in biology, and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction, both from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She will complete an M.S. in biology from the University of Nebraska Kearney in the Spring of 2017.
Her teaching passion centers around the area of microbiology and student-led inquiry explorations. At her previous school, Ms. Gonzalez mentored approximately 20 high school students in conducting microbiology experiments of their choosing; an endeavor she hopes to continue at Middlesex Community College. Her student's work has been published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators.
Ms. Gonzalez developed the modifications and supplements that align Life on this Rock: AP Biology with the NGSS Life Science standards.
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