Standards for the Preparation of Teachers





Biology (DA)








Adopted by the Michigan State Board of Education

August 8,2002







Standards for the Preparation of Teachers of Biology

(DA Endorsement)





Development of the Proposal


Over the last several years, a referent group of professional educators developed a proposal to adopt standards for the preparation of biology teachers.  These standards align with standards developed by the National Science Teachers Association and the Michigan Curriculum Framework for science education.  Teachers who receive the endorsement in biology would be prepared to teach any biology or life science course at their certificate level. 


To provide information and gather feedback on the proposal, a copy was also forwarded to selected groups/organizations, all Michigan teacher preparation institutions, and a random sample of intermediate and local school districts for review and comment.  As presented in this document, the standards reflect the feedback received. 


State Board adoption of these standards typically leads to the creation of a new certification test for teachers prepared to teach this content area.  Test development for a new Michigan Test for Teacher Certification in biology will be scheduled according to the recommendation of the Standing Technical Advisory Council. 


Approval of Programs


Teacher preparation institutions that wish to continue to offer programs to prepare biology teachers are required to submit an application for program approval that demonstrates how the new standards are met throughout the proposed curriculum.  The programs must be re-approved to show compliance with the new standards.  Following initial approval, the teacher preparation programs will be reviewed every five years through the Periodic Review/Program Evaluation process.


Content Guidelines/Standards Matrix



Lake Superior State University




Source of Guidelines/Standards

Michigan State Board of Education, August 2002

Program/Subject Area




Levels of proficiency are identified as follows: 


A – Awareness

The biology teacher recognizes/recalls the existence of different aspects of biological science and related teaching strategies.


B – Basic Understanding

The biology teacher articulates knowledge about biological science and related instructional and assessment strategies.  The biology teacher demonstrates proficiency in using the knowledge at a fundamental level of competence acceptable for teaching.


C – Comprehensive Understanding

The biology teacher is able to apply broad, in-depth knowledge of the different aspects of biological science in a variety of settings.  (This level is not intended to reflect mastery; all teachers are expected to be lifelong learners.)



DIRECTIONS:    List required courses on matrix and provide additional narrative to explain how standards are met.  If electives are included, they should be clearly indicated.  Adjust size of cells as needed.






Narrative Explaining how Required Courses and/or Experiences
Fulfill the Standards for Program



Secondary Minor

Secondary Major


Submit a narrative that explains how this program:




uses the Michigan Curriculum Framework K-12 Science Content Standards and Benchmarks as the critical foundation for teacher preparation, ensuring that Biology teachers have the content knowledge and the ability to teach this curriculum; and

The biology major and minor described in this application are closely and appropriately aligned to the content standards and benchmarks defined by the State Board of Education for the preparation of biology teachers.  The Michigan Curriculum Framework standards are used as the basis for instructional.  Biology is inseparably linked to all other science concepts, a point regularly reinforced through each of our courses.  In seeking relevant and interesting examples we often turn to applications of biological principles from every science discipline.  Our secondary science methods course (TE443) is the capstone course in the preparation of science educators, and many of the key integrative and curriculum based standards find their place through this course.


develops an understanding of the interconnectedness of all science, including the major concepts of chemistry, the earth/space sciences, and physics, and relates this understanding to the teaching of biology and the life sciences. 

BL131 General Biology lays the foundation for the study of science. The course begins with an examination of the chemical basis of  biological molecules, the forces that hold them together and basic concepts of entropy and enthalpy as they relate to living systems.






Level of

Narrative Explaining how Required Courses and/or Experiences
Fulfill the Standards for Program




Secondary Minor

Secondary Major


The preparation of high school biology teachers will enable them to:





understand the life sciences to include cellular functioning, the organization of living things, concepts of heredity, evolutionary changes, and ecological systems, as illuminated within Strand III of the Science Content Standards and Benchmarks found in the Michigan Curriculum Framework;


The concepts of the organization of living systems are addressed in a sequence of courses. We begin in BL131  General Biology I with an in depth look at the structure and function of the cell, and DNA is examined as the mechanism of hereditary. Basic concepts of genetics are introduced and further explored in BL220 Genetics. Concepts of ecology and evolution are introduced in BL131 General Biology II and further developed with respect to adaptation to the environment in BL240 Natural History of the Vertebrates. In General Ecology a systems view of population and community is explored.


construct new knowledge by using research, reading and discussion, and reflect in an informed way on the role of science in human affairs; and


The format of the General Biology lab sequence is an inquiry-based approach to learning. Students are taught some basic laboratory skills, but are then required to generate questions and design and conduct experiments to answer these questions. The projects require background research and presentation to the class. In the lecture, the implications of science are related to our daily lives.


understand and develop the major concepts and principles of biology, including concepts in:





Cellular Function, including





cell theory


BL131  General Biology I is a detailed examination of cell theory, investigating how cells function and how are able to replicate themselves.


cell types


BL131 General Biology I examines prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell types and looks at the similarities and differences.


cell structure and function


BL131  General Biology I explores the function of the various organelles of eukaryotic cells and contrasts this with prokaryotic cells.


protein synthesis


BL131  General Biology I pursues protein synthesis in the context of gene expression as well as with respect to the endomembrane system.


cell division (mitosis and meiosis)


BL131  General Biology I examines the cell cycle with respect to a cell’s ability to make copies of itself, what can go wrong, and how an organism makes gametes for sexual reproduction.


Organization of Living Things, including





life cycles (including sexual and asexual reproduction)






BL240 Natural History of the Vertebrates. Two weeks of lecture near the beginning of the semester are devoted to an overview of vertebrate systems.  The central focus of the course is a detailed comparison of the major organ systems as they have evolved in each of the vertebrate classes






growth and development


BL131  General Biology I approaches growth and development while understanding gene expression. We examine cell cycle and the effects on growth and then investigate how gene expression affects cell differentiation during development.




BL131  General Biology I examines photosynthesis in the context of energy storage. In lab we also spend several weeks growing plants under a variety of conditions to investigate variation in rates of photosynthesis.


cellular respiration


BL131  General Biology I examines cellular respiration from  several angles. In lecture we cover the chemistry of ATP formation, then in lab we have several weeks of experiments looking at aerobic and anaerobic respiration as well as decomposition and human respiration


living and nonliving




Concepts of Heredity, including





Mendelian genetics


BL220 Genetics. The concepts of heredity and probability are explored in both lecture and lab. Drosophila are used as a model species.


molecular genetics (structure of DNA)


BL220 Genetics. The structure of DNA is examined in detail with respect to DNA replication and transcription.


modern genetics (electrophoresis, genetic engineering, DNA fingerprinting, etc.)


BL220 Genetics. In the lab, students have hands on experience with restriction digestions, gel electrophoresis, PCR and capillary electrophoresis.


population genetics


BL220 Genetics. Basics of gene flow within and between populations are examined.

BL420 Population Genetics and Evolution continues in more depth than basic genetics and incorporates an evolutionary perspective.


Evolutionary Changes, including







BL240 Natural History of the Vertebrates The scope of vertebrate diversity (both extinct and extant taxa) is explored.  The process of speciation is described, in a general way, as an adaptive response to environmental pressures via the accumulation of derived characteristics.


adaptation and natural selection


BL240 Natural History of the Vertebrates A survey of evolutionary theories is discussed, culminating in a step-by-step examination of Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection.  Throughout the course, morphological, behavioral, and physiological adaptations are described in terms of their adaptive significance


BL330 Animal Physiology examines how animals have adapted to cope with environmental extremes. Comparisons are made between closely related species in different environments, illustrating how natural selection shapes the anatomy and physiology or organisms.


fossils/ancient life


BL240 Natural History of the Vertebrates The vertebrate taxa are presented within a phylogenetic context.  The value of the fossil record is demonstrated by an exploration of extinct taxa and the synapomorphies they share with extant representatives of the vertebrates.





BL240 Natural History of the Vertebrates The concept of extinction is introduced as a natural outcome of the evolutionary process.  Theories regarding the process of extinction are described.  The impact of major extinction events on vertebrate evolution is also described.



Ecological Systems, including





community relationships, including predator/prey and symbiosis


BL337 General Ecology Community relationships including predator/prey and symbiosis. See syllabus detailed outline IV.F.2 and IV.G.




BL337  General Ecology Transfer of energy (food chains/webs). Refer to syllabus detailed outline VI.A.


transfer of energy (food chains/webs)




biogeochemical cycles


BL337   General Ecology Biogeochemical cycles. Refer to syllabus detailed outline VI.C.1-5


human impact


BL337  General Ecology Human impact. Refer to syllabus detailed outline II.D, III.B, IV.J, V.F., VI.E., VII.E.3, VIII.


Human Biology, including





anatomy and physiology


BL122 Human Anatomy and Physiology II, covers the structure and function of the endocrine cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, digestive and immune systems.

BL330 Animal Physiology uses BioPac computer systems to investigate human physiology as an example of basic physiological functions. Comparisons are made between humans and a variety of other organisms.


disease and immunology


BL122Human Anatomy and Physiology II investigates immune system function and the response to disease.

BL204 Microbiology bacteria as a vector of disease are investigated.


health habits


BL122Human Anatomy and Physiology II examines nutrition and high risk behavior in the context of health.

BL204 Microbiology introduces the microbial world and the importance of hygiene


resource management




human population growth and diversity






Narrative Explaining how Required Courses and/or Experiences
Fulfill the Standards for Program



Secondary Minor

Secondary Major


The preparation of high school biology teachers will enable them to:




develop an understanding and appreciation for the nature of scientific inquiry;

BL131 General Biology introduces the scientific method and requires students to apply these methods in open-inquiry labs


relate the concepts of biology to contemporary, historical, technological and societal issues; in particular, relate concepts of biology to current controversies, such as those around cloning, medical research, and genetically-modified food, as well as other issues;

BL131 General Biology I introduces DNA technology and covers privacy issues and ethics of stem cell research, cloning and genetically modified foods.


apply mathematics, including statistics, to investigations in biology/life sciences and the analysis of data;

BL131 General Biology I introduces some simple statistics used in the open inquiry labs

BL280 Biometrics requires students to apply assumptions and statistical tests to biological data.


understand and promote the maintenance of a safe science classroom as identified by the Council of State Science Supervisors, and including the ethical and appropriate use and care for living organisms and scientific equipment, and the safe storage, use, and disposal of chemicals;



locate resources, design and conduct inquiry-based open-ended investigations in biology, interpret findings, communicate results, and make judgments based on evidence;

BL131/BL132 General Biology 1&II both incorporate inquiry based labs which require students to ask questions, design and conduct experiments and interpret the results to assess their initial questions.


demonstrate competence in the practice of teaching through investigative experiences by demonstrating the application of the scientific processes, and in assessing student learning through multiple processes;

TE443  students develop lesson plans to direct students in investigative experiences including assessment rubrics for their activities


create and maintain an educational environment in which conceptual understanding will occur for all science students; and

BL131General Biology introduces the scientific method and requires students to apply these methods in open-inquiry labs


demonstrate competence in the practice of teaching as defined within the Entry-Level Standards for Michigan Teachers, as observed during the directed teaching experience.

TE443 includes field experiences. Student teaching in their fifth year will also