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1.2: About labs

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    If you learn anything from the lab portion of this course, we hope you gain some appreciation of the following:

    • First, Biology is a huge topic. Those who study it must be familiar with the very small (e.g., how individual molecules interact) and the very large (e.g., how forests affect global CO\(_2\)). It can be easily argued that no other field of study encompasses such a broad range. In addition, no other area of science is so directly connected to how we live our lives. Recent advances in technology are constantly causing humans to think about what sciences offers and whether or not one ought to use these technologies (e.g., DNA fingerprinting, cloning, stem cell research, environmental degradation, threat of bio-terrorism).

    • Second,Biology is studied by scientists. This method of knowing (i.e., science) provides the most efficient means of understanding the breadth and complexity of the hugeness and importance described above. It is our central goal that we communicate how scientists think about and approach biological problems. There are other “ways-of-knowing” but none is as effective in pursuing cause-effect relationships.

    The lab portion of this course will show you how to approach these two areas, i.e., biology and science. Because of the influence and underlying significance of biology and science, this course is intended make you a better citizen in this world where breakthroughs usually out-pace the capacity of the general public to make informed decisions.

    In contrast to other laboratory courses, this lab portion is not always meant to work hand-in-hand with the lecture. We view this part of the course as our opportunity to expose you to a greater variety of biological principles than will be covered in lecture. This may seem awkward at first. As with all things, just play along and try hard!

    Electronic Devices

    Attentiveness matters! It is a component of attendance and participation. Unless otherwise specified, electronic devices should NOT be utilized, or even visible during class. If it is absolutely necessary that you make or take a call during class, please step outside so as not to disturb your instructor or peers. If this becomes a habit, points will be deducted from your grade based upon my discretion.


    The report (“requirements”) section (and only the that section) of each lab must remain in your folder. The folder will be turned in at the end of each lab period. Keeping all your work in a single folder ensures that we can examine your work each week and will allow to ascertain your progress and detect problems in understanding. Additionally, it is your responsibility to make sure that instructors can find each lab. Do not “hide” your work behind older labs. If instructors cannot find it, it will be assumed that you were not here and you will get a zero for the day!


    At Minot State University, the lab and lecture grades are combined to equal one overall score for the course. This means that attending, and doing well in lab can considerably improve your overall grade.

    There are a total of 12 labs. Each lab is worth 15 points. The lab portion of the course is worth a total of 180 points (12 labs ×× 15 points each =180=180).

    Please keep it in mind that it is not always easy to get full credit on each lab. In order to earn full credit, students must follow all rules described in the lab requirements section.

    If, for some reason, lab non-attendance is “excused”, you still have zero points.

    Lab Requirements

    The ability to understand and assimilate this material requires you to be a willing participant, i.e., read and think about the lab exercises before lab, and then continue to be thoughtful during lab and as you complete the requirements due at the end of each lab. Lack of preparation will be reflected in your grade.

    You must have the lab print out when you arrive in class. This means that you cannot print it in class while we all wait for you!

    All labs must be submitted on the lab report page (last page of the lab). Students submitting report sections in any other form will automatically lose 5 points for that lab. Illegible labs will not be accepted.

    Since this is a science class, so you are expected to write in a scientific way! This means that simple answers are generally unacceptable (e.g. “Yes”, “No”, “5”, “It didn’t work”, etc.) and will be graded as such. All answers/hypotheses must be thoroughly explained. All equations and mathematical work must be shown. All units must be defined. All units should be metric.

    Below is list of rules for writing good labs. It would be a good idea to review this list prior to turning in each lab (hint, hint). If you have further questions, please ask!

    1. Use complete sentences.

    2. Proofread.


      Copying someone else’s work (including your neighbor’s) is illegal in academia. You can be expelled from the ND University System for plagiarizing. Don’t do it; use your own words instead!

    4. Hypotheses must be worded properly.

      Ex. “I hypothesize that ... because ...

    5. Answers must be specific. Explain, explain, and explain some more.

    6. Answers should be simple. Someone who has never taken biology should understand your answer.


    In coordination with Disability Support Services, reasonable accommodations will be provided for qualified students with disabilities (LD, Orthopedic, Hearing, Visual, Speech, Psychological, ADD/ADHD, Health-related, and other). Please meet with or call Evelyn Klimpel during the first week of class to make arrangements. Accommodations and alternative format print materials (large print, audio, disk or Braille) are available through Disability Support Services, located in the lower level of Lura Manor, phone number 858-3371 or email

    MSU nondiscrimination statement

    Minot State University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, religion, creed, national origin, race, age, disability, or any other basis prohibited by law. If you believe you have been discriminated against unlawfully, please bring this matter to the attention of your instructor or the MSU Human Resource Office at 701-858-3352.

    Minot State University interpersonal abuse statement (Title IX)

    Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to accountability and support. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can find the appropriate resources off/on Minot State University campus. These resources include:

    Lisa Dooley

    Title IX Coordinator

    Memorial Hall, 4th floor, Room 412


    MSU Counseling (Confidential)


    Domestic Violence Crisis Center (Confidential)

    24/7 Crisis Line: 701-857-2200

    24/7 Rape Crisis Line: 701-857-2500

    MSU Campus Safety & Security

    701-858-HELP (4357)

    Minot Police Department


    This page titled 1.2: About labs is shared under a Public Domain license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Alexey Shipunov.

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