I love teaching biology labs! One of my favorite things about them is that there are just so many things we can do with our students. Demos, virtual labs, stations, real experiments … we can work with models, living organisms, computers … really the only limit is our imaginations (and our budgets).
Biology Labs Serve Multiple Purposes
In my school district in New York State, students are scheduled for biology class every day and biology lab every other day. The lab and class are back to back, which gave me 80 minutes with my students every other day. So I had them for 42 minutes each day for class and then half of my classes would have lab directly after class. Then the next day the other half of my classes would have lab. It sounds confusing as I try to explain it but actually it worked out really well. I loved having that much time and it was easy to fit in the required number of lab minutes.
New York State has a requirement for 1200 minutes of lab time per student per year for all Regents sciences. If students did not complete that many, then they were not allowed to take the state exam at the end of the year. Since those are required for graduation it did give our students more motivation to complete the labs!
With all of that being said, I felt comfortable in using some of my lab time in other ways. For example, sometimes if we were doing a station activity we would just continue on with it into our lab time. Since I was using an “in-class flip” strategy sometimes students could use that time to catch up on other classwork that needed to be finished or use the chrome books to watch my videos. As long as they were caught up on their labs to date, students often could use lab time for other work.
Of course, we also did labs during our lab time! There were some that I did pretty much every year, maybe with some tweaking. But I was always on the lookout for other interesting labs and activities that I could incorporate.
Biology Lab Ideas
As this blog grows, so will the added lab ideas and resources. Many of them are/will be in my TpT store. You can follow my store or sign up for my blog newsletter (about once per month) to find out when new posts and resources are uploaded.
If you’re looking for a fun inquiry lab for your students, I have one that uses duckweed plants. I do this one every year and the students really enjoy it.
Are there any types of labs in particular that you’d like to see here? Let me know in the comments!