COM student Jordyn Locke shows off the balloon that inflated after a successful experiment in Biology 1 for Non-Majors.

A freshwater fish flopped in cold water as student Irwin Hernandez recorded his findings.

“We had to see how many breaths it took in room temperature and cold water,” said student Irvin Hernandez. “It didn’t like the cold water.”

The experiment formed part of Biology 1 for Non-Majors, a new option for College of the Mainland students wanting a hands-on science credit in a more relaxed setting.

“The class covers the same topics as the biology for science majors class but in less detail,” said professor Michelle Cortez. “Biology 1 for Non-Science Majors focuses on genetics and what happens in your body and plants on a molecular level. Biology 2 for Non-Science Majors focuses on living organisms, plants and animals.”

Diving under microscope, students explore science’s applications to the real world.

“We analyzed the enzymes in fresh and canned pineapple and looked at what happens if you use fresh pineapple in jello - the enzymes prevent it from solidifying ” said professor Candice Ratley.

Students delve into photosynthesis, cellular respiration and chemical changes.

"The labs are pretty cool. We looked at plants’ cells,” said Kandayce Rollins, an accounting major. “I liked the microscope labs where we looked at stink bugs and spiders. In different focuses, you could see more details. You could see hairs.”

Students appreciate the class' having less rigor, but it still offers challenges.

“Homework is online. You can’t be lazy in this class,” said student Collin Stinson.

The class is interactive with brief lectures and more hands-on labs.

“Labs are good for teamwork. Students all help each other out,” said Cortez.

For more information, contact Ratley at or 409-933-8333 or Cortez at or 409-933-8502.