• Biology How Life Works

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  • Jim Morris Making of Second Edition

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    The Vision for the Second Edition

    In the video, Jim Morris discusses key changes to the second edition. More on the second edition:

    NEW Content »  In preparing the second edition we reached out to adopters and non-adopters, and consulted the literature to determine which concepts and details should be added. Each piece of new content, whether a sentence or a whole chapter, was skillfully integrated into the text, with complementary updates to the visual program and assessment materials. Each piece of new content was thoroughly integrated throughout the text, visual program and assessment materials. One particular area of focus was expanding our ecology coverage, with a new chapter on Biomes and Global Ecology, a new visual synthesis figure and map on the flow of energy and matter in ecosystems, and aligned assessment questions.

    NEW Ecology Coverage »  We’ve greatly expanded the coverage of ecology in the second edition. More than simply adding material, we have used the new content to enhance the integrative theme of the interaction of evolution with ecology in shaping the kinds of interactions that we see on the planet today.

    A new chapter, Chapter 48: “Biomes and Global Ecology,” looks more broadly at ecology on the largest scale, covering how and why climates are distributed and biomes. Also provides integrated coverage of biogeochemical cycles from Chapters 25 and 26 with ecological concepts.

    Chapter 47, “Species Interactions, Communities, and Ecosystems” has augmented coverage of the ways different populations interact with others, the basis of communities

    Chapter 49, “The Anthropocene,” has new discussions exploring how human activities are affecting components of ecology.

    NEW In-Class Activities »   A collection of over 40 in-class activities, designed with real instructors in mind. Each activity comes with a detailed guide that introduces the activity, outlines learning objectives, and provides guidance on how to easily implement the activity in your class.

    NEW Experiments and Data Analysis Exercises »  We have built fourteen Working with Data question sets tied to How Do We Know figures that introduce students to the process of scientific inquiry. These questions guide the student toward a deeper understanding of the experiments and their results, and reference four Data Analysis Primers on topics of Experimental Design, Data and Data Presentation, Statistics, and Scale & Approximation. Twelve Mirror Experiments--interactive activities that ask a student to analyze a real experiment—complete the collection. The experiments in these activities relate to, or “mirror,” experiments students encounter in the How Do We Know figures from the book.

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  • Biology: How Life Works


    In the second edition, we remain committed to a streamlined, integrated, modern approach to introductory biology.


    With the ever-increasing scope of biology, it is unrealistic to expect the general biology course or textbook to cover everything. From the start, Biology: How Life Works was envisioned not as a reference book for all of biology, but as a resource focused on foundational concepts, terms, and experiments. In the second edition, fundamental topics are still explained carefully, with an appropriate amount of supporting detail. This allows students to easily identify, understand, and apply critical concepts. In this way, students will leave an introductory biology class with a framework on which to build.


    Biology: How Life Works is the only book for the introductory course to develop three pillars of learning—the text, media, and assessment—at the same time to ensure alignment and integration of concepts. By continuing this tradition in the second edition, instructors can be sure that new pieces of content— whether new examples, new figures, new assessment questions, or a whole new chapter—are never disconnected add-ons or extras.


    Even in the span of three years since the first edition published, important changes in the world of biology and education have taken place. To develop the second edition, we reached out to adopters, biology instructors using other materials, and the literature to determine what content, tools, and support instructors and students need to achieve their teaching and learning goals. From the new collection of in-class activities to the expanded ecology section, each second edition change ensures that Biology: How Life Works continues to be a resource that is the best fit for today’s classroom.

    Biology: How Life Works


    The first edition of Biology: How Life Works was a ground-breaking resource for the majors biology course, adopted at over 100 schools, and used by hundreds of instructors and thousands of students. Visit the first edition site to learn about the guiding principles behind the first edition text, visuals, and assessments—hallmarks of How Life Works that continue in the second edition.

    Hear what adopters are saying about using the first edition»