Writing about scientific principles and phenomena

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Writing Assignment #1
Objective: Writing about scientific principles and phenomena is an increasingly important skill in the 21st century. This assignment is designed
to help you understand a major concept covered in this unit while also helping you develop your science writing skills. One key to effective
science writing is explaining how science can be used in everyday life. You’ll do this in a 500-600 word paper. You should:
1) Formulate and answer a question Sample questions
Select a concept that was covered in lecture and formulate a
question. Use this question as the title of your essay.
• What is gene expression and how is it applied in medical research?
• What are mutagens and why are they potentially harmful to DNA?
2) Answer your question in an essay Example of how to start an essay
Write a 500-600 word essay answering this question, by
summarizing the relevant information from class notes and the
textbook and defining any key terms or concepts. You should
attempt to organize the material in a meaningful way, rather
than simply listing the main facts or research findings.
Remember to summarize the material in your own words.
Finally, in a separate section after the end of your essay, list
what references (textbook page, lecture notes) you used to
help you answer the question.
• “Gene expression is the process by which the instructions encoded in DNA
are converted into functional products. Often, these products are proteins
such as enzymes, receptors, and hormones. However, DNA also contains
non-protein coding genes that produce functional RNA molecules including
ribosomal and transfer RNA.”
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3) Structure your essay as suggested below
• State your question in the title.
• 1st section: Give an overview of the answer to your question.
• 2nd section: Provide the scientific details of the answer to your question. Be sure to select the relevant information from class notes and the
• 3rd section: Provide a conclusion.
This assignment requires that you formulate your own question and approach, so do not use the sample questions or specific examples provided
above for your paper. Great ways to start questions that will help you think deeply in this class include: How do/does ______? Why is/are
______? What is the difference between ______?
For this assignment, work independently and do the best you can; you’ll receive feedback on your work after it’s turned in.
Formatting Your paper should be 500-600 words, double-spaced and saved as a Word document (.doc or docx, no PDFs).
File Name To allow for anonymous grading, please only include your Red ID number (do not put your name in the document itself).
Blackboard will link your name and ID to your assignment.
Deadline and
Upload your document by the deadline: 11:59 PM, Friday, January 26, to the Writing Assignment #1 link here in Blackboard.
This assignment is worth 10 points and will be graded on the following: the quality of the question related to class content
(chapters 16-17, 21-24, 26-27), the quality of the scientific reasoning used to answer the question, and organization of the
NOTE: Failure to successfully upload the correct document will result in a grade of zero for this assignment.

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