Dr. Stephanie Dance-Barnes knows that science starts in the lab.

From 'Cookbook' to Inquiry

Dr. Stephanie Dance-Barnes knows that science starts in the lab.

“When students take the lead in developing the types of experiments that are conducted in the research-based laboratory, they gain a better understanding of scientific concepts,” says Dance-Barnes (left), an associate professor of biology and co-chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).

A new WSSU Office of Science Initiatives’ teaching grant program has helped Dance-Barnes redesign the curriculum for General Biology Lab I, a first-year biology lab used during BIO 1113 General Biology, to support faculty-mentored research.

Instead of a “cookbook” lab where students follow directions in a manual, she says, students are responsible for creating their own manual, devising experiments and collecting data as they would in a true research lab.

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