Campbell Essential Biology (6th Edition)
Book PrefaceCampbell Essential Biology (6th Edition)
This is a wonderful time to teach and learn biology. Opportunities to marvel at the natural world and the life within it abound. It’s difficult to view a news website without finding stories that touch on biology and its intersection with society. In addition, the world of pop culture is rich with books, movies, TV shows, comic strips, and video games that feature biological wonders and challenge us to think about important biological concepts and their implications. Although some people say that they don’t like biology (or, more often, science in general), nearly everyone will admit to an inborn biophilia. After all, most of us keep pets, tend a garden, enjoy zoos and aquariums, or appreciate time spent outdoors. Furthermore, nearly everyone realizes that the subject of biology has a significant impact on his or her own life through its connections to medicine, biotechnology, agriculture, environmental issues, forensics, and myriad other areas. But despite the inborn affinity that nearly everyone has for biology, it can be a struggle for nonscientists to delve into the subject. Our primary goal in writing Campbell Essential Biology is to help teachers motivate and educate the next generation of citizens by tapping into the inherent curiosity about life that we all share.
Goals of the Book
Although our world is rich with “teachable moments” and learning opportunities, the explosion of knowledge we have already witnessed in the 21st century threatens to bury a curious person under an avalanche of information. “So much biology, so little time” is the universal lament of biology educators. Neil Campbell conceived of Campbell Essential Biology as a tool to help teachers and students focus on the most important areas of biology. To that end, the book is organized into four core areas: cells, genes, evolution, andecology. Dr. Campbell’s vision, which we carry on and extend in this edition, has enabled us to keep Campbell Essential Biology manageable in size and thoughtful in the development of the concepts that are most fundamental to understanding life. We’ve aligned this new edition with today’s “less is more” approach in biology education for nonscience majors—where the emphasis is on fewer topics and more focused explanations— and we never allow the content we do include to be diluted. Toward that end, in this new edition we removed some of the most technical details and terminology, which we hope will help nonscience major students to focus on the key topics in biology.
We formulated our approach after countless conversations with teachers and students in which we noticed some important trends in how biology is taught. In particular, many teachers identify three goals: (1) to engage students by relating the core content to their lives and the greater society; (2) to clarify the process of science by showing how it is applied in the real world and to give students practice in applying scientific and critical thinking skills themselves; and (3) to demonstrate how evolution serves as biology’s unifying theme. To help achieve these goals, every chapter of this book includes three important features. First, a chapter-opening essay called Biology and Society highlights a connection between the chapter’s core content and students’ lives. Second, an essay called The Process of Science (found in the body of the chapter) describes how the scientific process has illuminated the topic at hand, using a classic or modern experiment as an example. Third, a chapter-closing Evolution Connection
essay relates the chapter to biology’s unifying theme of evolution. To maintain a cohesive narrative throughout each chapter, the content is tied together with a unifying chapter thread, a relevant high-interest topic that is woven throughout the three chapter essays and is touched on several additional times in the chapter. Thus, this unifying chapter thread ties together the three pedagogical goals of the course using a topic that is compelling and relevant to students.
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