Day: November 5, 2011

Saturday, 5 November 2011

09:08 – One thing about biology is that living things do things in their own time, and there’s little or nothing we can do to change that. That makes writing a biology lab manual a bit different from writing one for chemistry or nearly any other science. With chemisty, I could design self-standing experiments that fit in convenient cubbyholes. With biology, it’s often a matter of hurry-up-and-wait.

For example, as I was working on protozoa labs yesterday, it occurred to me that I needed to start a microcosm series of labs very early in the semester, both because the life cycles of microcosms run several weeks to several months, and because I could use those microcosms at various stages in their life cycles for lab sessions later in the semester. So I just added a group of labs in a chapter before Group I, which I titled First Semester Project. We’ll create two kinds of microcosms: open, aquarium-like microcosms where we’ll grow pond life, including protozoa that we’ll use later, and closed Winogradsky columns that we’ll observe over the course of the whole first semester, if not longer.

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