As science becomes ever more important for solving present and future problems, it becomes ever more urgent that students be trained in the process of science. Laboratories in particular are a primary learning arena for acquiring a basic understanding of science. Science is discovery. It is not a set of “cook-book” instructions or “demonstrations.” It is the process of asking questions and seeking answers through hypothesis and experimentation. Science is learning through inquiry, and “inquiry-based” learning should therefore be at the core of any introductory science experience.
This introductory biology laboratory manual is inquiry-based—instructing in the process of science by allowing students to ask their own questions, gather background information, formulate hypotheses, design and carry out experiments, collect and analyze data, and formulate conclusions. It is designed for any sized introductory biology course, large or small.