Biology Students Appreciate Hands-On Labs Delivered to Their Doors

Lab Kits Fall Quarter 2020
Laboratory assistants Rachel Fazzi, left, and Meghan Munn, put together the paper chromosome portion of the BIS 2B kit that was mailed to students early in fall quarter. Ivana Li/UC Davis photo

Faculty, staff aim to ‘recreate some of the excitement inherent in lab classes’

How do you give students a chance to have some hands-on lab experience during a pandemic? That was the question that motivated the team from the introductory biology series courses to figure out a way.

"Remote instruction due to COVID has been challenging for faculty and students alike,” said Susan Keen, vice-chair of the Department of Evolution and Ecology, “but the biggest regret for faculty and staff in introductory biology has been that the students will not have a chance to do hands-on experiments or work with live organisms.”

That’s why more than 2,000 packets — including seeds, soils of varying nutrient levels, instructions for growing fungi and even a tiny microscope that can be attached to a smartphone to take pictures — were mailed to introductory biology students in the fall quarter.