Spring: Grades 11–12
Prerequisites: Chem Study required; Biology 11/12 or Advanced Biology (fall semester) or Biotechnology strongly recommended
In this laboratory-based class, students learn the practical implementation of the scientific method as applied to an experiment of their own design. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is studied as an example of a fundamentally important eukaryotic model system while the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is used for simple research based experiments later in the term. An introduction to PubMed and the critical reading of primary literature assist the students’ developing understanding of the importance of a sound hypothesis. Students discuss several real-world experimental designs before designing an appropriately controlled experiment, preferably using one of the model organisms. They employ the same processes used by working scientists to conduct a valid study. Students produce data that can be quantitatively analyzed for its biological implications rather than a demonstration of a fundamental principle. Students must be self-motivated as daily and active class participation is required.