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Science Approach offers e-laboratories developed with Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funding provided by the National Institutes of Health

The e-laboratories feature:
  • use of authentic visualization tools to explore imaging data from experiments conducted by leading scientists
  • data analysis with online graphing and statistics tools
  • application of the scientific method to test and revise hypotheses
  • discussion of the results with other students
  • immediate feedback, branching, and online support for students, including rubrics for students to use in judging the quality of their essay responses
  • e-mailed assessment reports to faculty—including scores on multiple-choice, true-false, and short-answer items; essays submitted by students; and graphs and tables created by students while working through an e-lab
Low cost and easy the implement, Science Approach's e-laboratories offer a practical way to engage students in hands-on science and technology learning online!

Alcohol and the Hippocampus PDF Print E-mail
Biology-High School
Hippocampus Measurement ToolIn this e-lab, students explore how neuroscientists design and carry out research on the effects of alcohol on the human brain. Specifically, it focuses on the hippocampus, a brain structure that is involved in memory and spatial navigation. Studies of adult brains have found that the hippocampus is particularly vulnerable to heavy alcohol use. Researchers are wondering, "Does alcohol also affect younger brains? If so, does it affect them in the same way?"

Using brain images from a recent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study that examined hippocampal volume and alcohol use in teenagers, students measure the size of one teenager's hippocampus. The student's data is added to the rest of the study data so that they can analyze and discuss the results of this research.

The study featured in this e-lab was conducted by Omar Mahmood, Ph.D., at the University of California, San Diego.

View a Webinar recording about Alcohol and the Hippocampus (30 minutes)

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Mapping the Yeast Mitotic Spindle PDF Print E-mail
Biology-High School
Recent advancements in microscopy have revolutionized the field of cellular and molecular biology and our understanding of the mechanisms behind mitosis. In this e-lab, students use images captured by Eileen O'Toole, Ph.D., with an transmission electron microscope and digitally compiled into a three-dimensional volume (called a tomogram) at the University of Colorado's Boulder Laboratory for 3D Electron Microscopy of Cells. In replicating a portion of Dr. O'Toole's research, students review the process of mitosis and study the role spindle microtubules play as they align and separate the cell's genetic material.
Microscope Students analyze real electron microscopy data.
Automated Logo Fully automated. Instructor intervention not required.
Moodle Logo Moodle-based learning management system provides multiple-choice, matching, and essay assessment items.
Essay Icon Automated response rubrics provided for essay items.
Email Student work is e-mailed to the instructor.
Internet ExplorerSafariE-lab is compatible with popular browsers.
 ShockwaveAdobe Shockwave required to complete the data visualization portion of the e-lab.
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New Neurons for You After All PDF Print E-mail
Neuroscience-Undergraduate
Neurogenesis imageIn this Moodle-based e-lab, students replicate research conducted by Elizabeth Gould, Ph.D., on the effects of exercise and social living conditions on neurogenesis in rats. The components of this Moodle-based e-lab include: (1) a brief tutorial on the history of neurogenesis research and the methods used by scientists to identify newly born neurons; (2) an introduction to the experimental design employed to conduct the research; (3) a tutorial on how to identify BrdU-labeled cells in thin slices of rat hippocampal tissue; (4) a digital image analysis module in which students use ImageJ to count newly born neurons in research images and send the counts to an online database; (5) a statistical analysis module in which students use Rpad to check and graph their research results; and (6) a summary lesson in which students come to conclusions about the research they have conducted, propose an additional research hypothesis about neurogenesis that could be tested by a scientist, and write a brief essay about the societal implications of this research. Along the way, students receive feedback to help them understand and apply neurogenesis research.

View a recorded Webinar on New Neurons for You After All

Microscope Students analyze real neuroimaging data.
Automated Logo Fully automated. Instructor intervention not required.
Moodle Logo Moodle-based learning management system provides multiple-choice, matching, and essay assessment items.
Essay Icon Automated response rubrics provided for essay items.
Email Student work is e-mailed to the instructor.
Forum Logo Community forum for students to discuss implications of the research featured in the e-lab.
Read more...
 
Seeing GABAA Receptors at Work PDF Print E-mail
Neuroscience-Undergraduate

The mammalian brain is the most sophisticated computational device known, and the most magnificent structure to evolve on Earth. The rapid, precise, and reliable flow of information within the brain, and communication between the brain and the periphery, depend largely upon neuron-to-neuron or neuron-to-muscle communication. 

In this Moodle-based e-lab, students replicate research conducted by______, Ph.D., on ______. The components of this Moodle-based e-lab include: (1) a brief tutorial on the history of neurogenesis research and the methods used by scientists to identify newly born neurons; (2) an introduction to the experimental design employed to conduct the research; (3) a tutorial on how to identify BrdU-labeled cells in thin slices of rat hippocampal tissue; (4) a digital image analysis module in which students use ImageJ to count newly born neurons in research images and send the counts to an online database; (5) a statistical analysis module in which students use Rpad to check and graph their research results; and (6) a summary lesson in which students come to conclusions about the research they have conducted, propose an additional research hypothesis about neurogenesis that could be tested by a scientist, and write a brief essay about the societal implications of this research. Along the way, students receive feedback to help them understand and apply neurogenesis research.

This e-lab requires installation of Oracle's Java plugin for browsers to run the image analysis software ImageJA the statistical analysis tool Rpad. (Also note that Java does not work in the Chrome browser.)

If you have questions or concerns about using Java in your browser, submit a request on the Science Approach Help Desk.


Microscope Students analyze real neuroimaging data.
Automated Logo Fully automated. Instructor intervention not required.
Moodle Logo Moodle-based learning management system provides multiple-choice, matching, and essay assessment items.
Essay Icon Automated response rubrics provided for essay items.
Email Student work can be e-mailed to the instructor for assessment.
Forum Logo Community forum for students to discuss implications of the research featured in the e-lab, etc.
Read more...
 
Stomata Revealed: Investigating How Guard Cells Maintain Homeostasis PDF Print E-mail
Biology-High School
The surfaces of plant leaves are dotted with miniscule openings that permit gases to be exchanged between a leave's cells and the external atmosphere, thus enagle photosynthesis and respiration. Each pore is formed and controlled by a pair of guard cells; together, the guard cells and pore form a stoma (plural stomata). Since stomata were discovered, scientists have pondered what controls their opening and closing, and how this action affects plants. Modern confocal microscopy and 3D digital image analysis are now allowing researchers to explore these topics.

In this e-lab, students replicate some of the research being conducted by biologist Keith Mott at Utah State University. He is investigating the functioning of stomata in intact leaves. Students see how two-dimensional photographs of stomata can be turned into 3D models. Then, they manipulate and measure real stoma models to see how changes in the volume and shape of guard cells cause a pore to open. Finally, they discuss what their findings mean and why they matter.

Microscope Students analyze real electron microscopy data.
Automated Logo Fully automated. Instructor intervention not required.
Moodle Logo Moodle-based learning management system provides multiple-choice, matching, and essay assessment items.
Essay Icon Automated response rubrics provided for essay items.
Email Student work is e-mailed to the instructor.
Internet ExplorerSafariE-lab is compatible with popular browsers.
 ShockwaveAdobe Shockwave required to complete the data visualization portion of the e-lab.
Read more...
 
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