In this course, students become scientists exploring the amazing diversity and complexity of the invisible living world, using microscopes to make discoveries that would be impossible with the human eye alone. The course will parallel the evolutionary development of living things, with the first week focused on single-celled organisms, the second on colonial and microscopic multicellular organisms, and the third on specialized cells of macroscopic multicellular organisms such as humans. Students will discover intricate organization within seemingly simple life forms through direct observation, labeled pictures and diagrams, readings and videos. They will create their own microbe ecosphere on Petri plates, by sampling doorknobs, the soles of shoes, floors and other microbe-rich habitats. Students will use 21st century technology to observe organisms and cells, making an illustrated journal of their collections, like biologists from centuries past.
Homework per class meeting: Up to 25 minutes per day