I wrote earlier about videos of lab protocols and the benefit these could bring to people who are trying to learn new techniques or perhaps troubleshoot their own. Unfortunately, I suspect that the people who would benefit the most from movies of others doing lab procedures correctly are those who are already pretty observant. Nevertheless, I have some ideas for improvements to these kinds of movies, ala acting and editing, that could benefit the ... Read more

These are the real things that give nightmares to post-docs and graduate students.

One thing that you don't learn, until you either do a research project in a lab or you start graduate school, is that science isn't really the straightforward cut and dry process of: we do this step, then we do this step; sort of field that you might imagine. You come to graduate school all bright-eyed and amazed, with the scientific method burned into your brain, only to find out that it's usually the little things that no one told you about that make the difference between productive ... Read more

How can you extend a blood typing activity with an active learning approach? The blood typing lab, part I. What went wrong? and why? Blood typing part II. Can this laboratory be saved? The learning objective: To understand the inheritance of blood type. In this activity students: 1. Identify which blood type a person would have based on their alleles, 2. Observe the alleles that an offspring would have and identify the blood types of the ... Read more
The blood typing lab, part I. What went wrong? and why? Blood typing part II. Can this laboratory be saved? Those wacky non-major Zoo students are at it again! And this time they drew blood! Mike's undergraduate students learned about blood typing, a common tool of detectives and real crime TV. They did the classic blood typing lab, and by golly, they refused to parrot the correct answer on the test! The nerve ... Read more
Many science experiments are carefully thought out. Often, the procedures we follow have been thoroughly tested. We measure everything we can at every point that we can, so that we can determine if a procedure, like isolating DNA, is working properly and if the procedure doesn't work, we can determine what went wrong. When the procedure is done, we analyze our data to determine if our experiments really gave us an answer. Then, we present our data to others, in venues like lab meetings and conferences, subjecting our work to review to the toughest critics we can find. ... Read more
Over the summer, a few ScienceBloggers were pondering the question of why students disappear from science courses, never to return. James Hrynshyn wrote that we're teaching youngsters the wrong thing. Zuska boldy pointed out the things that many of us think but don't say out loud. Chad Orzel noted that science is hard and shared his thoughts ... Read more

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