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Biology Labs Online: Benjamin Cummings Publishing Co.

Biology Labs Online consists of 12 inquiry-based interactive labs covering standard laboratory topics in introductory biology. The simulations serve a number of purposes, from complementing existing “wet” labs to augmenting hands-on labs as tools for further study.

Some labs offer content typically not covered in lab courses because of time, safety, or financial constraints. Each lab features an introduction, list of objectives, bibliography of prerequisite reading, glossary, and the lab assignment itself. Among the experimental topics are evolution, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, population ecology, and genetics. As in a hands-on lab, students control and adjust variables, run tests, and draw conclusions. Students can also design their own experiments, some of which are uniquely available in a simulation format: for instance, in the evolution lab, students can observe changes over hundreds of years.

The applets rely on smart objects that perform much like their real-life equivalents, or at least simulate their actions. For instance, students pour substrates from test tubes into flasks. They adjust light filters and gas flow. They cut and splice DNA and study the resulting mutations. Because biology is taught at several levels, the publisher offers both non-majors and majors-level lab assignments. The labs are also suitable for advanced placement Biology courses at the high school level. Labs may be purchased several ways: as content aggregates, such as genetics labs; as an entire set; or individually.

Contact: Benjamin Cummings Publishing Co., San Francisco, Calif;
(415) 402-2500; www.biologylabsonline. com.

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