How to teach biology

Not only is biology all about studying living organisms and life in general, it is about how the lives of all living things affect us and each other. We can learn untold lessons from what goes on inside of us and all around us. Biology imparts lessons that teach our children that even though we are living organisms, we still actually eat living organisms. Incorporating technology can make that less gross and disgusting and more interesting. Unless gross and disgusting is what you’re going for. That can actually be relatively appealing to certain age groups.

Each and every day, new discoveries are being made in biological research areas. Embryology, cloning, cancer research – none of this would have happened without the marriage between technology and biology. So, it’s understandable how essential combining the two of them will be in today’s classrooms and classrooms of the future.

Integrating Technology Into Biology

Just a few places where technology can be combined with biology in our schools are computer labs, classroom labs, and group activities in the classroom. The team at Educate LLC will instruct your teachers on how to furnish computer labs and classroom labs, and how to fully utilize their new tools of learning. Because technology today is so very portable, it can be a space saver – eliminating the need for large laboratories or massive computer rooms. Particularly with learning establishments that have limited space, this is a major benefit. Here are just a few examples of how your biology teachers will benefit from today’s technology:

  • Cells Alive! – Used for both medical research and education, these are computer enhanced images and films of organisms and living cells. Students can study microscopy, microbiology, immunology, and cell biology through interactive methods
  • Learn.genetics – Information and resources aimed at assisting educators in bringing health, bioscience, and genetics into the classroom.
  • Biology in Motion – An online resource of activities and exhibits including cartoons, interactive activities, and animations meant to create a more engaging, richer biology learning experience.
  • Extreme Biology – This is so much more than just a blog. It can be of great assistance in helping a teacher with the creation of activities and lesson plans for biology class.

How Educate LLC Can Help

Educate LLC understands that every student, school, and teacher are unique. Each has its own goals, strengths, needs, and challenges. We create comprehensive plans that are as one-of-a-kind as the situations and individuals themselves. We will help your staff to raise the performance of your school with personalized coaching methods which have received stellar results. Your teachers will learn how to use what technology your school already has and, in addition, how to best put to use the freshest, latest, and newest developments in technology available. Our instructional technology coaches (ITC’s) will work hand-in-hand with your teachers. They will be right next to them, in the classroom, instructing them on how to hone their skills and use high tech teaching tools.

Instructional Technology Coaching for Biology Classes

Our coaches will help your school kick the entire level of education in your institution up a notch. They will assist your teachers in engaging their biology students and, at the point of instruction, enrich the entire classroom. Through the use of ed-tech tools, we help teachers learn how to use instructional techniques to promote more creativity and greater expression by their students. This will also give teachers the chance to pay more individualized attention to students that may be struggling.

Instructional Technology Strategy for Biology Classes

To keep your school’s finger directly on the pulse of an atmosphere of ever-changing technology, we involve strategies the cover everything from the big picture down to the tiniest detail. A strategy will be developed that is as individualized as the personal needs of your biology teachers, your students, and your entire school. We will show you what tools of technology are needed, how to make use of what you already have, and how to bring all of that technology together.

Instructional Technology Training for Biology Classes

Educate LLC will instruct your teachers to feel more comfortable with lesson plans that incorporate today’s technology. Balanced biology instruction through activities and classroom lessons that incorporate ed-tech strategies will be the goal and the success of our coaches and your teachers. When all is said and done, your biology teachers will feel more at ease using programs, sites, software, and technologies such as the following: iPads, Probeware, online laboratory simulations, interactive 3D animations, and more.

Related

While the overall growth of high school teacher employment is half the average rate of other occupations, the need for science and math teachers is growing. By 2028, the United States will need more that 38,000 new high school teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many states, including New York and Georgia, are offering incentives that pay for teacher education or provide increased salaries to encourage and retain science and math teachers. As a result, the job prospects for biology teachers is good.

Bachelor’s Degree in Biology

Public middle and high schools must meet state guidelines for hiring teachers. Most states require teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university. They usually require that the degree be in the subject area you want to teach, which in this case is a BA or BS in biology.

Private schools don’t have to meet state regulations; however, they usually require a four-year degree in biology as well.

Teacher Education

Along with knowledge of biology, school districts require that you earn a degree in education or take teacher preparation courses. This course of study covers theories of learning, teaching strategies, classroom management and curriculum planning. The degree also involves a practicum in which you teach biology in a middle or high school class. Teacher education can be taken concurrently with your biology courses.

Most Teachers Hold a Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees in biology or teaching are not required to teach biology in middle or high school, but some school districts encourage it. Nearly 52 percent of public school teachers have a master’s degree, reports Face the Facts. The additional preparation can lead to more opportunities, including teaching biology at a community college, as well as increased pay.

Biology Teacher Certification

All states require that would-be biology teachers become certified to teach in public school. The requirements vary from state to state, but most involve passing a certification exam that covers teaching and biology in the grade level you want to teach. Further, you need to provide proof of your biology degree and teacher education, and submit to a fingerprint criminal background check.

Salary and Job Outlook

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish salary biology teacher salary date, it does report on teaching salaries generally. In May 2019, the median salary for high school teachers was $61,660. The median is the figure in the middles, meaning that half of teachers earned more than this amount and half earned less. The top 10 percent of teachers earned more than $99,660 in 2019.

As a profession, teaching is growing about as fast as average. Rising student demands means that 4 percent more teachers will be needed by 2028, some of which will be biology teacher jobs. Demand will vary by location.

If you have a passion for the systems of plants and animals, you could be a future biology teacher. American Board’s Biology teacher certification program is designed to ensure that candidates have a thorough knowledge of topics ranging from the basic functions of DNA to the biochemical basis for life. Our program is simple- prepare for and take two certification exams, complete state requirements, and start a teaching career without debt. With open enrollment, you can get started anytime and become a teacher in less than one year!

Read more about how you could become a biology teacher through our state-approved program.

How to Become a Biology Teacher

In order to become a biology teacher through American Board’s teacher certification program, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  2. Submit your official college or university transcripts to the American Board.
  3. Pass a standard background check.
  4. Pass the Professional Teaching Knowledge exam (PTK). This exam will be taken on a computer and must be completed at a Pearson VUE testing center. The exam will consist of 145 multiple choice questions and a writing component. We suggest you take this exam before your subject area exam.
  5. Pass the American Board Biology exam. This exam will be taken on a computer and must be completed at a Pearson VUE testing center. We suggest taking this exam after you complete your PTK exam.

Become a Biology Teacher in Your State

American Board’s biology teacher certification is currently offered in the following states. Click a state below to learn of the specific requirements to become a teacher in that state:

American Board’s Biology Teacher Certification Program

American Board currently offers two Biology teacher certification programs – Biology Standard and Biology Premium. Both programs take the same exams. Read below to learn what is included with these programs.

Biology Standard Certification Program includes the following:

Study Plans: Our study plans are based on best practices and recommendations from students that have already completed our program.

Prepare to Teach Workshops: Familiarize yourself with teaching concepts and practices using online lessons, video case studies, and printable resources.

Online Refresher Course: Explore over 300 pages of material, dedicating more time to topics that need intense review and breezing through what you already know.

Practice Exams: Practice in the same format as the real test on more than 300 sample questions. These include full-length tests, topic quizzes, timed and untimed modes, and complete explanations of the answers.

Exams: Take exams when you are ready, according to your own schedule. Testing is available year-round at Pearson VUE centers, Monday-Saturday.

PTK Workbook: Did you know you need to learn one hundred different standards in order to pass the American Board Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) exam? We’ve designed a one hundred page workbook to help maximize studying for the PTK exam. It provides a concrete way to navigate and learn the exam’s standards.

PTK Quiz Bank I: This quiz bank focuses on the topics that students have the most difficulty with on the actual exam. This tool is designed so that candidates can avoid test pitfalls and succeed the first time they test.

PTK Quiz Bank II: A perfect complement to Quiz Bank I, this study resource ensures that candidates will also focus on the remaining topics that must be mastered in order to pass the PTK exam.

Biology Premium Program

Biology Premium Certification Program includes everything listed above, plus the following additions not offered with the Standard program:

Biology Workbook: This workbook is an organized view of ALL biology standards included in the program. The exam will cover the topics included in this workbook.

Biology Quiz Bank: This quiz bank covers the topics that students have missed the most on the actual biology exam.

The Job Counseling Webinar: This webinar walks you through the job hunting process. From searching for a job right down to the interview, you’ll learn a variety of best practices that will help you land your dream job.

The Job Counseling Workbook: This workbook has various templates to help you format your resume, cover letter, and other documents that will be used to apply for teaching positions. The workbook also provides students with tools to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and advice on how to best present their skills in job interviews.

November 03, 2015 3 min read

Over the last few months, I have been sharing tips and ideas for teaching the various disciplines of science at home.

So far, we have covered:

This month, we are going to tackle biology!

How to teach biology

Biology includes subjects like zoology, genetics, anatomy, and botany.

Biology is typically taught first in a homeschool science program because topics relating to animals, plants, and the human body are a wonderful first introduction to science.

This month, I wanted to share a brief picture of how you can teach the principles of biology to the students in your homeschool, co-op, or school. You can use these ideas to help you create or choose a homeschool science curriculum.

Biology with Preschoolers

How to teach biology

Biology is a great subject to tackle in preschool! Kids love learning about animals and plants, especially if it involves heading outside or to the zoo!

You can introduce basic principles through hands-on demonstrations. You can teach a simple biology unit that covers topics like:

  • Observation
  • Your community
  • Insects
  • Seeds
  • Leaves
  • Flowers

You can use simple activities, such as making a seed collection, collecting for a fall leaf journal, or digging for worms, to show these concepts in action. You can also have the students memorize a simple sentence that explains the concept in a language they can relate to.

Biology with a preschooler will be short, sweet, and loads of science fun!

Biology with Elementary Students

Biology during the elementary years will be very hands-on and slightly project-driven.

You can explore the principles of biology through hands-on demonstrations and projects that display the concepts in action. You can also read more about these principles in age-appropriate encyclopedias or living books.

You can spend three to four weeks cover the basics for topics like:

  • Animal Diets
  • Habitats
  • Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Fish
  • Invertebrates
  • The Human Body
  • Plants
  • Trees

As part of biology, you and your student can enjoy seeing how fat keeps the polar bear warm, making a jello cell, and dissecting a seed. They will learn a ton as the see the characteristics of animals, the human body, and plants on display in front of them.

Biology with an elementary student will explore the principles in a practical hands-on way.

Biology with middle school students

Middle school students can dig deeper into the principles of biology they saw during the elementary years and add on a few more.

You can teach your student to play with the principles of this subject through inquiry-based experiments. You can also have them read and write about what they have learned.

In your students, you can cover concepts like:

  • Cells and DNA
  • Classification
  • Food Chains/Webs
  • Nutrient Cycles
  • Fungi
  • Simple Plants
  • Pollination
  • Deciduous and Coniferous Trees
  • Types of Invertebrates
  • Types of Vertebrates
  • Migration/Defense
  • Systems of the Human Body

The students can learn how to extract DNA, to tell the different types of invertebrates apart, and to make spore prints. They can also discuss how the different systems of the human body work together.

Biology with a middle school student will reinforce the principles through inquiry-based methods.

Biology with high school students

If you have taught biology at home throughout the elementary and middle school years, your students will have a good grasp of the animals, plants, and the human body.

Now, they can pick up that textbook and tackle the more abstract principles of genetics and biochemistry without getting bogged down by the basics.

If you teach biology from the beginning, your student will be prepared and maybe even a little bit excited to learn about this subject when they reach high school!

Need some help teaching biology at home?

Check out our Biology Pinterest Board for ideas for activities:

We also have zoology, anatomy, and botany boards.

Or check out the following Elemental Science homeschool science programs with easy-to-use plans for teaching biology:

  • For Preschool – Exploring Science and Intro to Science
  • For Elementary Students – Biology for the Grammar Stage, Biology Lapbooks, The Sassafras Science Adventures (Zoology, Anatomy, and Botany)
  • For Middle School Students – Biology for the Logic Stage
  • High School Students – Biology for the Rhetoric Stage

Over the last year, we have been sharing tips and ideas for teaching the various disciplines of science at home. Here’s a look at the complete series:

  • A Biology Game To Promote Classification And Observation- Students should learn to observe with an eye to noticing differences and salient characteristics. Also students should be able to communicate these observations in a brief manner.
  • A Demonstration of Photo-and Geotaxes in nauplii of Artemia salina– Students are presented with an easily observed orientation behavior of small crustaceans with respect to light and gravity, given some description of the habitat and feeding behavior of the organisms and encouraged to relate the phenomena observed to the needs of the organisms in terms of adaptation.
  • Biology Lessons- 12 very basic lessons.
  • Biology Trivia- 100 questions for grades 2-10.
  • Biology Trivia- 101 general trivia questions.
  1. Biology Trivia Questions- 71 general questions for trivia.
  2. Careers in Vet.& Animal Science – The students will be able recognize careers in the field of animal science and veterinary science.
  3. Cells Are Us- The main objectives of this mini-teach are to show that the cell is the basic unit of life; that cells divide slowly to become mass of cells (mitosis); and that there is a gradual loss of cells throughout life.
  4. Characteristics of living things- Know the different characteristics of living things. Understand the definition of an organism.
  5. Classification- The students will observe various apples, contrasting them, and classifying the apples based on structure and color.
  6. Communities, Biomes, and Ecosystems – Limiting factors and ranges of tolerance are factors that determine where terrestrial biomes and aquatic ecosystems exist.
  7. Cooperative Learning in Biology – At the end of this cooperative lesson, the students should be able to compare and contrast between the different types of seed dispersal that they have came across and to justify their answer.
  8. Diffusion- Understand the movement of liquid molecules in a solid.
  9. Diffusion- Demonstrate diffusion of molecules of matter in various states.
  10. Enquirer-type Newspapers Have Many Uses- Using this high interest reading students will learn about animals, including humans and their care and feeding, photography and how to make false photos, critical thinking skills, weighing of evidence skills, research skills, the journalism techniques, citation exactness, increased judgment and scientific method skills, especially making conclusions.
  11. Food Chain- Create different types of food chains. Compare a balanced food chain to an unbalanced food chain.
  12. Food For Energy: Four Food Groups- Teach the students the importance of eating properly with a balanced diet.
  13. Freshwater Sharks Bite Children at 35th Beach. A Play- Students will learn about the many different scientific occupations as well as some possible specialization therein, and perhaps a little bit of other life considerations, ecological, financial, educational, sociological, and emotional as to greed, avarice, truth justice and the American Way. It integrates biology, physics, drama, chemistry, genetics engineering areas, etc.
  14. Introduction to Biology – Appreciate the value of using the scientific method and be able to design an experiment using the scientific method.
  15. Introduction to the Scientific Method- The main objective of this lesson is to get the students involved in a class activity while introducing the process of the scientific method.
  16. Living and Non-Living- The main objective of this mini-teach is to generalize that all living things need air, water, food and shelter.
  17. Mammals- Students will be able to understand that mammals have distinctive features which help us identify them. Students will be able to familiarize themselves with different types of animals.
  18. Memory and Learning- The teacher will introduce primary students to the various parts of the brain and provide specific activities and a plastic model designed to help improve memory.
  19. Nutrition- To identify and describe the main nutrients in our diets that are needed by the body as a source of energy.
  20. Nutrition Awareness- Estimate the basic metabolic rate (BMR), energy for voluntary activities and the energy to process food.
  21. Observations (collecting data)- To determine the effects of light and incline on the behavior of the earthworm.
  22. Problem Solving: Dots, Symbols, Words, and Proteins- Students will learn that the number and sequence of amino acids identify the protein.
  23. The Characteristics of Living Things- The students will identify the characteristics of living things using the method of observations.
  24. Watercycle- To become aware of the natural circulation of water from oceans, lakes and rivers by evaporation into the air.

How to teach biology

This post originally appeared on the blog Science With Mrs Lau.

Learning about mitosis and meiosis in biology class can be challenging for students but I find it’s one of their favorites. Visual learners really thrive in this unit. Understanding how mitosis and meiosis work is essential for understanding independent assortment, genetics, and evolution so I spend a lot of time on this unit. I use a few different methods for helping students understand and really grasp the material.

1. I show a lot of animations! Mitosis is dynamic. Chromosomes move! It’s really important for them to see the process in action. There are loads of great animations online for teachers and here are a bunch that I like to use.

2. A teacher at a school I used to work at does a really cool project during this unit. She has student groups create stop motion animation videos of either mitosis or meiosis! Students are allowed to use any materials they want and the video has to have a minimum of 50 pictures (but more is way better!) When we co-taught a course, we required the regular level students create videos for mitosis and the honors level students created videos for meiosis. In each video, students had to have an identifying “token”, an item that they added into each picture/frame to show that they were the creators, to prevent video editing from stolen sources like Youtube or other online videos. Students really had fun with this and manipulating their materials to make the videos really helped them to cement the processes into memory. In this day and age, it’s actually quite easy for students with smart phones to create their own videos! Here is one of my favorite student videos: Lego Meiosis.

How to teach biology
3. I use diagrams and coloring activities to help students identify the components and understand how chromosomes in cells move throughout the mitosis or meiosis timeline. I used to download pictures online, but now I create my own! You can see these in my store. I have coloring activities, cut and paste activities, and short simplified readings all in one package for mitosis, meiosis, spermatogenesis/oogenesis, and crossing over.

How to teach biology How to teach biology
What techniques or resources do you like to use when teaching mitosis and meiosis?

How to teach biologyI’m a high school science teacher taking a few years off of teaching to spend time with my 4 year old son and 7 month old daughter. I plan on going back to teaching and in the meantime, I create lessons that I always wished I had and plan on using in the future. I live in New Jersey, but our family loves to travel together and go on adventures. We lived in Hong Kong for 6 months (with a toddler!), and I can’t wait to go back to visit Asia and explore more of the other side of the world. I love genetics, and I studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before I realized teaching was my true calling. Social insects (outside my house) fascinate me and I want to be E.O. Wilson when I grow up. Visit my Instagram (@sciencemrslau) page or follow my blog to see my day-to-day adventures observing science with my kids. And check out my TeachersPayTeachers store to see the lessons I create. Here is a picture of me, carrying a sleeping toddler, by the beautiful fountain in Hong Kong Park.

How to teach biology

Time4Learning’s biology curriculum is one of three science courses offered at the high school level. Students can expect to see various concepts being covered including understanding cells, genetics, viruses, the human body, and more.

Use the links below to learn more about what your high schooler’s biology curriculum should include:

What Do You Teach in High School Biology?

Literacy in science is of essence for all citizens in our modern society. In high school, a biology curriculum should focus on actively engaging students with the world around them. Students should gain in-depth knowledge of the different living organisms and the environments they each live in to better protect, sustain or enhance the natural environment.

When selecting a biology curriculum for your high schooler, make sure it teaches:

  • The interactions among organisms and their biophysical environment.
  • The building blocks of life.
  • Cell biology and cellular processes
  • Molecular genetics and heredity
  • The structure of a human being

Learn more about Time4Learning’s biology curriculum by checking out the 9th grade scope and sequence and the 9th grade math lesson plans.

Learning Objectives for Biology

High School biology will teach students about the basics of life while also challenging high schoolers to complete labs, record findings, and walk through the scientific process from start to finish.

Students should gain real-life science experience with nature studies, dissections, and microscopic slide kits. Some of the learning objectives you set can look something like this:

  • Accurately explain the characteristics of living things.
  • Describe the energy flow between organisms in an ecosystem.
  • Define the human impact on the environment.
  • Recognizes the scientific difference between living and nonliving things.
  • Demonstrates a working knowledge of DNA and genetics.
  • Understands the differences in blood types.
  • Knows how to conduct a dissection.
  • Understands the molecular basis of heredity.
  • Understand and describe the fossil record.

Why Choose Time4Learning’s Biology Curriculum

Time4Learning’s biology course is taught using a combination of multimedia lessons, instructional videos, quizzes, tests, and both online and offline projects. Students will gain a deep understanding in a wide range of topics as well as learn how to use models to explain the different processes of living things such as photosynthesis, energy flow, and more.

Our homeschool program provides tons of practice and activities to keep students interacting with the online biology course.

Every year, more and more families choose Time4Learning’s high school biology curriculum to help their students achieve their science goals. Here’s why:

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Concordia teachers to come up with new and creative ways to teach.

Ada Lovelace Day is held on the second Tuesday of October to celebrate women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). To mark the event this year, three female professors from the Department of Biology discuss the impact of these unprecedented times on their courses.

Masked field work and study buddies

When COVID-19 hit, professor Emma Despland needed to make changes to her BIOL 450 -Techniques in Ecology class, which mixes tutorials and field work.

“The tutorial component has had to go online, for obvious reasons, and all indoor lab activities have been replaced with outdoor ones,” Despland says. “So, it has stayed a hands-on practical course.”

To minimize person-to-person contact, she replaced group work with a “study buddy” system. Students are paired with a single partner for the term. Despland says that in addition to minimizing contact, this allows students to avoid the pitfalls of isolation during the pandemic.

“From my preparation, I learned that dropout rates are higher for online classes than for in-person ones, as students who fall behind can more easily feel isolated, get discouraged and give up. Having a buddy should help with that.”

Since the pairs have to respect social distancing and wear masks when working in the field, the first day of field work had some unintentionally funny consequences.

“When we met no one recognized each other, because we had all been interacting online without cameras, and then we met with masks on and no one knew who was who!”

Outdoor activities include photographing and identifying butterflies and uploading data to a citizen science project, comparing earthworm densities in different habitats at the City Farm School and using lichen as an indicator of air quality in different parts of the Montreal region.

Several students told Despland how good it felt to actually be physically meeting with classmates and working with their hands.

For the at-home component, done using Microsoft Teams, Despland is emphasizing interactive work. In one recent class, a “mark-recapture” exercise that typically asks students to estimate the number of insects in a terrarium in a lab setting was replaced by a simple exercise of estimating the number of beans in a two-pound bag.

“Between 2,000 and 5,000, depending on the type of bean,” Despland reveals.

While she says that online teaching can be three times more work than in the classroom, Despland feels things are going well. “So far, the reaction has been mostly positive.”

Designing green landscaping projects for Concordia from home

Assistant professor Carly Ziter had to completely redesign the concept of her BIOL 398 – Ecology of Urban Environments class, a brand-new course for which she had initially wanted to have a large outdoor component.

“This course was conceptualized as an opportunity for students to engage in place-based, outdoor learning together,” Ziter explains.

But when COVID-19 protocols made gathering together a group of 60 impossible, Ziter made the decision to pivot and create an entirely remote class.

In this new model, the students are supplied with content like video lectures and independent readings at the start of each week. Later, the class meets on Teams for an hour of discussion to give the students an opportunity to engage with each other and the teaching team.

Rather than high-stakes midterms or exams, the students complete a series of individual and group assessments regularly throughout the course.

Ziter admits it was a big challenge to maintain the original spirit of the course.

“It was important to me that I still found ways to integrate elements of place-based and outdoor learning into the course assessments, that students had opportunities to work together and that everybody got outside!”

To address these goals, Ziter added two elements to the course.

First, the class has partnered with Concordia’s Office of Sustainability and Facilities Management on a campus ecological landscaping project. It’s part of the new Concordia as a Sustainability Living Lab initiative within the forthcoming Sustainability Action Plan.

Students will work virtually in groups to create landscaping plans for both Concordia campuses that integrate perennial native, pollinator and edible species.

“One of the key lessons of our class is that to conserve species in our rapidly urbanizing world, we need to support biodiversity where we live. Working in partnership with key campus planning stakeholders is a way for students to really put into practice many of the concepts they are learning in class.”

Second, students keep a field journal of their urban nature observations throughout the term.

“This gives students the opportunity to explore an aspect of their local environment they are particularly interested in, such as insects, trees or water, and to integrate other subject areas and talents like photography and sketching with biology,” Ziter says.

She adds that in COVID-19 times, when stress levels can be high, communication with students is key.

“I make sure to seek out feedback from my students regularly and have made it clear that if we need to adapt the course going forward, we will.”

Instructional videos to engage students outside a lab setting

For Madoka Gray-Mitsumune, a senior lecturer, COVID-19 restrictions posed particular challenges to her BIOL 368 – Genetics and Cell Biology Laboratory course.

“While we were authorized to offer in-person labs, we had to cut the contact time dramatically to minimize the COVID-19 transmission risk. This was a huge challenge for us,” she explains.

“Our lab procedures are, in a sense, like cooking instructions. There are many specific procedures that need to be shown to the students before they can carry out the tasks.”

Prior to this term, these procedural instructions were given by teaching lab technician Robert Carson and teaching assistants during the lab. But Gray-Mitsumune and Carson quickly realized that things would have to change.

“Talking loud is a risky indoor activity, even if we are wearing masks. So, we came up with the idea to give these instructions entirely online. Then, when the students come to the lab, they can focus only on their lab work. You can think of it as ‘flipped’ instruction.”

To make sure the students would understand what they had to do, Gray-Mitsumune and her team developed instructional videos, which presented its own set of challenges.

“We are not experts in video,” she readily admits. “And iPhones can only do so much.”

Thankfully, the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) stepped in to lend a hand.

The result? A series of 20 slick, engaging videos including embedded quizzes and activities. “We wanted to make sure that the students are actively engaged while watching.”

Gray-Mitsumune is full of praise for the centre and Mohammed Elkhairy[AF1] , the CTL video expert who worked with Carson to create the videos over the summer. “They are better than any of the lab instruction videos I’ve seen.”

Feedback from the students has been great, she adds. “I can say that it is working. I think the students are learning better and gaining confidence because of that.”