As the year progresses, you are expected you to be able to...
Explain that living things are made of matter and likewise made of atoms & molecules.
Identify the 4 major organic molecules that make up all living things, as well as their properties.
Explain the role enzymes play in regulating the reactions that occur in living things.
Identify the characteristics that are shared by all living things.
Explain the general structure of a cell and explain the roles of the parts of both prokaryotic & eukaryotic cells.
Explain the many ways the cell membrane controls what enters and leaves cells.
Explain the role of photosynthesis as the creator of a nutrient source for all forms of life.
Explain how cells use cellular respiration to harness energy from a carbohydrate.
Explain the need for cells to not only grow and develop, but also divide and reproduce.
Explain how the structure of DNA ultimately carries the code for all the characteristics that allow us to live as well as make us unique.
Explain how proteins are created as well as how their variety determines the behaviors & characteristics of living things.
Explain the effects of mutations, both good and bad, on a microscopic level as well as a holistic level, even as far as the evolution of a species.
Getting to the point...
...biology is the study of life. Life is a special and relatively rare combination of chemical reactions that have shaped the Earth for billions of years. Living things, like you and me, our pets and wild animals roaming free, trees, grass, and all plants, fish, insects, and even fungi and bacteria all demonstrate the same basic characteristics of life. We are made of matter, and subscribe to the same rules of matter and physics that the air we breathe and the dirt we walk on subscribe to. Life can be as simple as a cell, the smallest unit of life, demonstrating all the characteristics of life. We acquire materials and harness from then energy to live. We are all directed by microscopic but complex molecules such as DNA & RNA. From these molecules, all of which we are can be explained. Even more so, the pressures that drive our adaptation, our survival, our evolution, has shaped our genes, shaped ourselves, and is even
"Why Do I have to Learn This?"
To understand life, you need to understand chemistry and matter.
Other than water, most of our mass is composed of 4 different molecules: fat/lipids, carbohydrates, proteins (including enzymes), and nucleic acids. To understand them and their behaviors, you can truly understand why our bodies function as they do.
The characteristics of life are what makes us special in a universe that is almost entirely lifeless. Recognizing these characteristics gives light to how rare and how special life is.
Cells are the smallest unit of life. Their behavior and the function of their parts literally directs the behavior and function of the organism as a whole, multicellular organisms included. One cannot understand life unless your understand it in a cellular level.
ATP, on a chemical level, is the primary and direct source of energy for all living things. The processes of life consume energy, so a supply of ATP is in constant need.
Photosynthesis, although not occurring in us, is the single most important process in providing attainable energy for all life. By creating glucose, autotrophs literally create an accessible, storable, and transferable form of energy that all living things can benefit from.
Cellular respiration (and in part, fermentation) provides the means to release from glucose stored energy. Regardless of how the glucose is attained (consumption or via photosynthesis), cellular respiration provides the cell with ATP needed to power the infinite numbers of reactions that allow us to live.
Mitosis & cell division is the driving force in not only our growth, but in healing, and reproduction. It is because of mitosis and cell division that life has endured over generations for billions of years.
It is because of DNA that we are the way we are (both good & bad, both physically & mentally). Its structure is critical in its ability to process its code as well as its ability to reproduce its code to the next generation. With few exceptions, DNA controls who we are, why we behave the way we do, and explains both our strengths & our weaknesses.
DNA aside, protein is the most important molecule in life. In its many diverse forms, specific molecules of protein your body creates can explain everything from hair color & eye color to your allergies and immunities. DNA ultimately determines the proteins we create and how much of them.
We are what we eat.
Many digestive disorders, like lactose intolerance, are to to your body's lack of productions of a certain enzyme.
Your kidneys use osmosis to balance the concentration of water in our cells by removing excess water.
When all is said and done...
...biology explains why we are the way we are, how we got here, how we interact with the world, and can even explain what will become of us.