To help you write Assignment 4: The Organism Profile you will first submit an outline to organize your thoughts and main points. Your outline should be formatted a specific way (described below) and must contain the following parts as described. To prepare for this assignment I recommend that you do the following:
- Read these directions carefully.
- Review the sample outline provided to you. (See attached at the end and top of these directions)
- Read the rubric. (See attached at the end and top of these directions). The rubric is a very detailed template that I will use to assess your performance. It also will help you understand what is expected from you as you prepare your assignment.
- Message me with any questions!
- PLEASE: be sure to cite internal to the outline. Failure to properly cite references can be construed as academic dishonesty and can result in points lost to no credit on an assignment. Multiple instances of academic dishonesty may result in disciplinary action. PLEASE review the materials from Assignment 1 or ask me if you have any questions on how to cite.
The outline format: your outline must be formatted as described and exemplified in the example attached. Please note that this format will be assessed in your grade:
- Use an alphanumeric sequence
- Sections should be indented and aligned.
- Follow the suggested order of the required elements.
- Use brief but detailed and descriptive phrases. This will allow you to more easily flush these points out into complete sentences when it comes time to write the paper.
The required elements: Your outline should contain the following elements in this order:
I. The Introduction: this section must contain
A. The scientific name of your organism. Please see this link to help if needed: How to Write Latin Names of Species
B. The common name of your organism. What do most people know it as? Are there other names?
C. The area of residence in which you and your organism are (country/state/city).
D. The specific biome of where your organism lives. Please see here for more details on biomes.
II. The Body: this section should contain
A. Background: include a general physical description of your organism.
B. Life Cycle: describe the life cycle of your organism. The life cycle refers to the series of changes that happens from the beginning of life as your organism develops and grows into a mature organism. Please see here for some hints on the Life Cycle. Note that some organisms (like plants) have a more complex life cycle than an animal does. If you have any questions on this please ask!
C. Structure and Function: please select one organ system of your organism that you find to be particularly interesting and describe both the anatomy and physiology of that system.
a. If your organism is an animal, here are a list of the general animal organ systems
b. If your organism is a plant, here are a list of the general plant organ systems
c. If you have selected a bacteria or a fungus the concept can be more complex. Please contact me directly for more help if needed.
D. Evolution: Evolution is best understood as heritable change over time, or descent with modification. Please be sure to discuss the evolution of your organism using the following guidance:
a. Conduct a review of scientific literature to understand what is known about the evolution of your chosen organism. Search key words like evolution, fossil, ancestor. Also, refer back to your results from Assignment 1.
b. Conduct a review of scientific literature to understand the family tree or phylogeny of your organism. Phylogeny is defined as the history of organismal lineage as they change through time. Search key words like phylogeny, phylogenetic and genetic analysis.
c. Use the Tree of Life Project, which can be found here, to help you identify the lineage and related species. In addition, here is a list of other useful websites that focus on evolution:
Evolution: What is life’s History on Earth?
Evidence: How Do We Know What We Know?
Species and Speciation
Your Inner Fish
E. Additional Interests: The diversity of biological organisms is vast and interesting! Identify at least one unique fact or behavior not covered in the life cycle, structure/function or evolution and discuss it. For example, does your organism have an interesting parental care strategy or mating system? What about an adaptation or co-dependence with another species?
III. Conclusion section: this section should contain four to six bullet points that sum up the main points from the outline.
A. Start your conclusive section with one sentence summarizing some basic information about your chosen organism (name and geographical distribution).
B. Continue with a brief summary (1-2 sentences) about the life cycle and any particular body structures.
C. Include a brief note about its evolutionary path.
D. Include a brief summary (1-2 sentences) about the ecological role of your chosen organism in its ecosystem.
E. Wrap up the conclusive section with a closing note that provides brief information about a unique fact and/or behavior of your chosen organism.
IV. Reference section: this is not just a separate section; rather referencing should occur throughout the outline as it will in your paper. Please be sure to cite any language within the outline that should be cited. Proper citation and referencing were reviewed in Assignment 1; please look back at those resources and/or ask me if you have any additional questions. Your paper should also have a final reference page listing no less than five sources used throughout the outline.
Please make note of the following tips and tricks!
- We understand that this is a rough draft and as you research and writing continue over the next few weeks details may be added or changed. Although you do not have to resubmit it to me, I recommend that you update this outline to help you best complete Assignments 3 and 4.
- Write your outline so that it has detailed bullets that you can easily then flesh out into sentences for the body of your paper (Assignment 4).
- After your outline is complete, I recommend that you next draft your introductory and conclusion paragraphs. This will ensure that all the main points of the outline are incorporated in these two framing paragraphs.
- Please note that less than 10% of your outline or paper (Assignment 4) should contain direct quotes.
- Please see the sample outline below!