This part of the course is designed to get you up close and personal with many different areas
The formats of the exercises vary greatly, in large part due to the variety of goals we
have set for this extremely important component of the course.
Here are our main goals:
1. Strengthen your observational skills
It's hard to figure out why something happens the way it does without having a firm grasp of
just what it is you are trying to explain!
Most of our labs require you to observe biological
For instance, the lab on microscopes introduces you to the characteristics of
very small organisms, whereas the field lab takes you outside to look at larger ones.
evolution, genes and enzymes lab shows you how we must use indirect methods to observe
biochemical phenomena that no microscope can reveal.
And the dissections in the plant
anatomy and the animal morphology labs will let you look beneath the skin of some typical
2. Reinforce concepts introduced in lecture
All of our labs are directly related to lecture topics.
Some biological concepts are hard to
understand, however, until you do the hands-on work and physically manipulate the steps of
The scientific method lab, the mitosis/meiosis lab and the population genetics
lab are set up to do just that.
3. Learn scientific concepts through independent investigation
Science is the systematic investigation of the world around us, and if you are a curious sort
you may be doing science without even knowing it!
The majority of our labs are
"investigative labs", including the scientific method lab, in which you will design an
experiment based on your observations of
, the energy flow lab, in which you will
set up an experiment to see how light levels affect rates of photosynthesis, and the population
genetics lab, in which you will study how different factors influence the direction of
4. Learn biological techniques
Whether you are weighing, measuring, pipetting, dissecting, or learning how to use a
dichotomous key, every lab gives you the opportunity to work on some aspect of techniques
used in biology.
5. Work with and communicate data
In the course of a scientific investigation, scientists collect data in a specific manner. Recording
and organizing data are skills you will work on in this lab.
Once collected, you will analyze
your data using basic statistical tests, or, where appropriate, make graphs so that you can
communicate your results to others. The information will be recorded in your Team Lab