LONDRAVILLE, Richard L; NIEWIAROWSKI, PN; LAIPPLY, R; OWENS, K; University of Akron: Inquiry Based Laboratories for Introductory Biology

UA Biology Department has been funded by the National Science Foundation to completely revise the laboratory portion of our Introductory Biology class for majors (Principles of Biology). All of the new labs are inquiry based. The new labs take place over two weeks and all work is done in groups of four; week one is an introduction to the technique and writing of an experimental protocol; week two is performing the experiment and analyzing the data. All labs are based on the research programs of Biology faculty. As a capstone activity for each lab, students are asked to interpret data generated by our faculty using similar techniques. During the 2001-2 academic year, one section was used to pilot these new labs. Student attitude surveys and validated assessment instruments suggest that students benefit from these new labs by an improvement in their attitude toward science in general and biology in particular. Currently all sections (360 students over 12 sections) are running the new labs, and we are assessing changes in attitudes toward science, logical thinking, and mastery of the scientific method.