In the Biology department at Vanier, we are committed to providing students with exciting, hands-on, and cutting edge lab activities. Rather than providing students with a set of “cookbook” lab instructions, our focus is on providing students with a guiding framework, and letting them figure out the Science themselves. We believe this is a much more effective way to get students to apply the Biology knowledge they have gained, while developing the skills and attitudes necessary to be a scientist.
As a result, students taking our Biology courses end up doing ‘Science’ from A-Z: from asking their own questions and proposing their own hypotheses, to collecting, analyzing, and presenting their findings. This is what scientists do – so it’s what we teach our students to do as well.
All of this occurs within lab ‘frameworks’ that require students to apply current research methods and use new technology. Students will:
- test hypotheses about cell size using microscopes hooked up to digital software
- perform genetic crosses of live fruit flies
- conduct CSI level DNA isolation, PCR, and DNA fingerprinting
- make predictions about community composition based on real prey remains from a top predator
- use comparative proteomics to identify evolutionary relationships
And this is just a small taste. Ultimately, students taking Biology at Vanier get a REAL scientific experience, and emerge ready and prepared to embark on the next steps of their scientific career.