Updated sections based on August 2006 revisions

Standards  2.0, 3.5.1, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0, 10.0 11.0


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.

Student driven enquiry is a key component of many of our biology courses. BIOL 131 and BIOL132 in particular have student driven enquiry labs written into the syllabus as part of an NSF-funded Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Grant. The labs incorporate use of reflective written assignments (in the form of a ‘scholar’s notebook’) and students work in teams for the final lab assignment which is a student-designed experiment to test a student-selected hypothesis. BIOL310 (Animal Physiology) and BIOL337 (Ecology) also use major lab assignments involving students testing hypotheses of their own devising. Most biology classes require students to do value-add reviews of journal articles. Our research sequence (BIOL 199, 299 and 399) require literature review assignments and the senior thesis project (BIOL495/BIOL499) require students to use research, reading and reflection to add new knowledge.


Teacher candidates in TE443 explicitly discuss these topics through our analysis of the textbook readings by  Chiappetta addressing the nature and purposes of science education

Chapter 1  Thoughts and Actions of Beginning Science Teachers

·         Thoughts and Actions of Beginning Science

·         Informed and Uninformed Science Teaching

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         References

Chapter 2  Purpose of Science Teaching

·         Goals and Purposes of Science Education from 1980 to the Present

·         Conclusion

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources

·         References


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 (Aug06) Community relationships including predator/prey and symbiosis. 


The following key concepts are identified in revised syllabus: community ecology – basic community descriptions, hierarchical aspects of community ecology, neutral vs. niche-based models of community ecology, relationship of community structure and ecosystem function,  tools and techniques of community ecology including mathematical approaches, measuring ecological integrity of communities.





BL337 General Ecology (Aug06)  General Ecology Transfer of energy (food chains/webs).


The following key concepts are identified in revised syllabus:

population ecology – factors that regulate numbers of organisms over time, namely competive, predator/prey, host/parasite, mutualistic relationships, evolutionary cost/benefit tradeoffs associated with various population strategies, conservation biology implications, tools and techniques of population ecology, including mathematical approaches.


transfer of energy (food chains/webs)


BL337 General Ecology (Aug06)


The following key concepts are identified in revised syllabus:

community ecology – basic community descriptions, hierarchical aspects of community ecology, neutral vs. niche-based models of community ecology, relationship of community structure and ecosystem function,  tools and techniques of community ecology including mathematical approaches, measuring ecological integrity of communities.


biogeochemical cycles


BL337 General Ecology (Aug06) General Ecology Biogeochemical cycles. 


The following key concepts are identified in revised syllabus:

systems ecology – energy flow and biogeochemistry in ecosystems, human impacts on ecosystem function, ecosystem services, tools and techniques for ecosystem ecology including mathematical approaches.


human impact


BL337 General Ecology (Aug06) General Ecology Human impact. 


The following key concepts are identified in revised syllabus:

historical ecology – role of humans in ecosystem structure, connections between ecology and development of societies.


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


BL337 General Ecology (Aug06)


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

As stated above, the extensive use of student driven enquiry, culminating in the senior thesis experience, illustrates the understanding and appreciation for the nature of scientific inquiry. We also stress in BIOL131, BIOL132 and in nearly all biology classes how we know what we know.


 Teaching science through inquiry is the subject of Chiappetta’s tenth chapter which is discussed in TE443 during our review of chapter 10.

Chapter 10  Inquiry and Teaching Science

·        What is Inquiry?

·        Content and Process as They Relate to Inquiry and Discovery Learning

·        Strategies and Techniques for Conducting Inquiry-Based Instruction

·        Grouping and Cooperative Learning

·        Concerns Associated with Inquiry-Based Instruction

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·        Resources to Examine

·        References



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.

Biology touches any number of contemporary, historical, technological and societal issues. A few of these include global climate change, environmental contamination,  endangered species and human-caused extinctions,  advances in medical technology, health impacts of lifestyle choices, effects of environmental change on human health, role of environmental conditions on historical cultures. While these topics are not explicitly shown as topic units in syllabi, such topics are covered throughout the biology curriculum.


For teacher ed students, the subjects of science, technology and society are covered specifically in Chiappetta’s 12th Chapter as part of the TE443, Science Methods, course:


Chapter 12  Science, Technology, and Society

·         A Rationale for STS

·         What is Technology?

·         Technological Products, Systems, and Processes

·         STS Issues and Problems

·         STS Curriculum Programs

·         Considerations for STS Instruction

·         Evolution Versus Creationism in Science Teaching

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

·         References



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.

Statistics is a core skill for biologists. We have incorporated statistical methods into BL131 General Biology I  and BL132 General Biology II lab assignments. Biostatistics (BL280 Biometrics) is required of all biology students, with a prerequisite of MA207.  Most labs include the graphical and statistical analysis of data.

BL280 Biometrics Biostatistics - Prerequisites: MA207 - Principles of Statistical Methods or adequate background in use of math in biology, spreadsheet experience helpful, proficiency in algebra helpful. Strong interest in using math for addressing biological research problems



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;


TE443 is the best and most relevant place to hold a discussion of the supervision of a safe science learning environment.  Laboratory safety is essential, and explicitly discussed in the first biology course BL131, in at the beginning of each biology course.  However the discussion in a university laboratory centers on university student safety, not on the implications for science activities performed in distant (both physically and conceptually) secondary classrooms.  In the science methods course we hold discussion regarding the Council of State Science Supervisors, illustrate reference sources such as Flinn Scientific Catalogs for laboratory/school safety, and we provide discipline specific information on laboratory safety, and practice laboratory safety inspections.  We have used several different science methods textbooks over time, but each has given special attention to this important matter in a separate chapter in the textbook on science safety.  The table of contents for Chiappetta’s book, referenced in the TE443 syllabus, has been provided for the reviewer’s reference.  The chapter on laboratory safety, given a week’s instructional time in our course, addresses the discipline specific safety needs for each field of study.  Teacher candidates prepare summaries of the textbook readings, and consistently relate their appreciation for the discipline specific discussion of safety topics.  For example, the handling of animals in a biology class, the handling and disposal of waste from chemistry, and the health hazards of some minerals in earth/space science classes.


We wish the reviewers to consider that not every web reference provided in our comprehensive secondary science methods textbook can be expected to also be present in the syllabus.  Further, it is not an explicit goal of every science course to specifically and explicitly address the teaching standards for pre-service teacher candidates.  Some outcomes, and their application into the secondary classroom, occur through the integration of pedagogical and content knowledge – a process which requires analytical synthesis and internalization of deep science knowledge in powerful learning environments associated with the field placements.  For example, electrical engineers may be concerned about the use of ground fault interrupt circuits, but that need not be an explicitly stated in the general chemistry syllabus – even if we do have and use them in our laboratories.  Nevertheless, we recognize the intent of the reviewers, and have added reference to the CSSS resources to selected course syllabi.    Laboratory safety is the topic of Chiappetta’s 14th chapter, which is discussed in TE443.

Chapter 14  Safety in the Laboratory and Classroom

·        Introduction

·        Safety and the Law

·        General Safety Responsibilities

·        Safety Goggles and Eye Protection

·        Specific Safety Guidelines for Biology

·        Specific Safety Guidelines for Chemistry

·        Safety in the Earth Science Laboratory

·        Safety Guidlines for Physics and Physical Science Laboratories

·        Radiation Safety

·        Safety Units for Students

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·        Resources to Examine

·        References



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.

Laboratory experiences, required in every course in the program, integrally incorporate learner investigations.  Laboratory experiences totaling over 330 hours are required in the major, and over 210 for the minor.  During this time students gain invaluable experience in the processes and procedures for implementing biological investigations.  Preparing teacher candidates to lead inquiry-based open-ended investigations begins with training university students in the concepts and skills of chemical analysis, and finds its fruition in the classroom experiences of the field experience and the discussions of TE443.  As stated above, student-driven enquiry and open ended investigations are a hallmark of the biology curriculum from BIOL131 through the senior thesis experience. The teacher candidate applies these principles in developing activities for their secondary classrooms.  The institution has led EPA funded grants with several local districts to assist the secondary students to become active in water quality monitoring of local streams.  Through these collaborative projects our faculty, and graduates-now-teachers, have worked to apply the techniques of the university classroom to the real-world contexts of the secondary student’s world.  TE443 discusses constructivist learning theory and its application to the classroom as discussed in Chiappetta.  See also our response to Standard 10.0.

Chapter 9  Learning in Middle Grades and Secondary Schools


·         Cognitive Approaches and Strategies for Teaching Science in a Constructivist Manner

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

·         References



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

Biology is an extensively laboratory and field based curriculum.  There is a required laboratory component for nearly all the  courses in the program.  These laboratories focus on investigative experiences and the application of the scientific process (evidenced by the laboratory activities described in each syllabus).    These laboratories have as their focus the university teaching individuals (teacher candidates, pre-professional students, pre-engineering students, pre-firefighters and others) through and about investigative scientific processes.  The teacher candidate then uses these skills and applies them in the context of their pre-service field experiences (90 hrs prior to student teaching, and generally two semesters of supervised student teaching under the direction of a highly qualified science educator).  Chiappetta’s 13th chapter on laboratory work is discussed in TE443 where teacher candidates relate their experiences in the many chemistry laboratories to their new role as teacher and coordinator of student learning in laboratory.

Chapter 13  Laboratory and Field Work

·        What is Laboratory Work?

·        Preparing Students for Laboratory Experiences

·        Ensuring Successful Laboratory Experiences

·        Fieldwork

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

·         References



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

The syllabi for content area courses describe the content focused learning objectives and activities.  These courses are used by many major and minors.  There are generally no teacher-specific outcomes for teacher candidates identified in the syllabi, nor are there engineering- or biology- or criminalistics- or environmental health-specific outcomes explicit in the syllabi.  The content courses provide the foundation knowledge, and model learning activities focusing on the application of that knowledge.  


The education courses bring the content together with the pedagogy, and through extensive pre-student teaching field experiences, and an extended student teaching internship, these are put into practice in the secondary classroom under the supervision and mentorship of a highly qualified practicing teacher.  The issues of diverse learners in science instruction is specifically and explicitly discussed in Chiappetta’s eighth chapter during TE443, the Secondary Science Methods course

Chapter 8  Diverse Adolescent Learners and Their Schools

·         Student Diversity

·         Equity in Science Education

·         Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

·         Gender-Inclusiveness

·         Exceptionalities

·         Adolescents' School Science Experience

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine



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 preparing the candidate for student teaching

Our program is currently structured, and approved by the State Board of Education, to include a post-baccalaureate student teaching experience.  Thus, a specific undergraduate course in the undergraduate program does not contain the directed student teaching experience.  Furthermore, student teaching experience is not required of individuals seeking additional endorsements, thus citing the requirement of an undergraduate course requirement in that context would not be appropriate.  Because of this, our understanding of the question was framed in the context of providing supervised field experiences in biology.  Our students have extensive pre-service student teaching experiences as documented below.  Furthermore, because of our two-semester student teaching requirement, students have extended supervised teaching in biology prior to certification.


Field experience, in classrooms related to their levels and subjects of certification, are required in TE 250, 301, 430, 431, 440, and 443.  Each course requires 15 clock hours of field experience in the subjects of their training, e.g. chemistry, for a total preservice field experience requirement totaling a minimum of 90 hours.  The requirements for these field experiences are described in our Field Experience Guidelines which apply to candidates AFTER Admission.  These guidelines are part of the school policy documents and are posted online at http://education.lssu.edu/All%20forms.html.  The candidates submit their field logs using the LSSU form F325-b -a Field Experience Log for courses TE301 and above (includes a reflective narrative), and candidates submit  F320-b Field Experience Log for TE250 experiences.  Additional narrative is provided in Section 5 of the Program Application narrative.