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Biology: Concepts and Connections

Sharon Hamilton
Fort Worth Country Day School
Fort Worth, Texas

Textbook Name: Biology: Concepts and Connections, fourth edition
Authors: Neil A. Campbell, Jane B. Reece, Lawrence G. Mitchell, and Martha R. Taylor
Copyright: 2003
Cost: $108

Benjamin Cummings, an imprint of Addison-Wesley
1301 Sansome Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
415 402-2500

Publisher's Web Site:
  Biology: Concepts and Connections, 4/E - Addison-Wesley and Benjamin Cummings Catalog

Review: Designed as an introductory text for college-level nonmajors, Biology: Concepts and Connections has caught the eye of many high school teachers. Based on the same themes as Campbell and Reece's comprehensive Biology, sixth edition, this text focuses on the main ideas in biology: the process of science, unity and diversity, form and function, evolution, and interdependence in nature. The teacher will find that this text outstandingly supports the major themes of the Pre-AP and AP years without delving into painful detail.

Make no mistake, this book is written for students and teachers who don't need the usual study aids -- the large margins, simpler vocabulary, and multiple checks and reviews of the typical high school biology book for the Pre-AP years. The book is highly readable for strong readers. Whereas text in the typical book is often visually interrupted with headings, questions, section assessments, or mini-labs, the text in this book flows cohesively and clearly. The many "Connections" modules offer discussions for real-life applications, such as 5.20, "Faulty membranes can overload the blood with cholesterol," or 8.23, "Alterations of chromosome structure can cause birth defects and cancer."

Accompanying the text is a wonderful CD-ROM, which includes numerous activities and animations that make complex processes much more understandable for the student. Schools that adopt the book can obtain access to the Campbell Biology Web site, highly recommended by teachers and students who use it. The Student Study Guide provides excellent activities to help students master the material: diagrams, crossword puzzles, vocabulary matching, and multiple-choice and short-essay questions. The Instructor's Guide includes chapter objectives, lecture outlines, and some suggestions for class activities. Do not expect reteaching techniques or suggestions for students who learn differently. The Test Bank is a great source of multiple-choice questions.

Biology: Concepts and Connections is a text that teachers of the Pre-AP years will want to investigate. Teachers who use Campbell and Reece's Biology, sixth edition, as their AP text may want to choose a text with different examples, terms, and explanations -- in short, different authors -- for their classes in the Pre-AP years, giving students a broader background in biology.

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