Your attendance in the biology lab is crucial for many reasons. It not only gives you experience but it also affects your grade and ultimately your job prospects. So, what should you expect and how do you make the most of your time there? Well, each one is different but there are a few basics that everyone needs to know.
What is the biology lab?
Part of your science major is working in the lab for research and training. Your admission counselors should help you schedule those appointments, but some colleges might require you to do that yourself. Either way, labwork is mandatory for all bioscience degrees.
In the bio lab, you’ll cover the basics of chemistry. Then, your instructor will introduce you to scientific inquiry techniques so that you can make your own discoveries. By the time you graduate, your experience in the laboratory will become the foundation of your career.
What equipment is used in a biology lab?
It’s no fun to show up for lab day unprepared. In fact, some professors might even excuse you because they don’t think you’re ready. After all, safety and organization are number one when it comes to lab work.
Part of being prepared is knowing what you’ll encounter when you get there. So, make sure you know about these 5 common lab supplies before showing up for class:
- Breakers – Tapered glass containers of varied sizes to hold and measure different liquids and chemicals.
- Bunsen Burners – Open flame devices used to heat the substances inside breakers and flasks.
- Microscopes – Vision enhancing tools used to investigate the microbiology of various items.
- Slides and Petri Dishes – Safe, non-porous surfaces to help contain and/or study different materials.
- Dyes and Indicators – Testing materials used to determine the outcome of various experiments.
Keep in mind that you might also work with test tubes, scalpels, probes, and live cultures. In fact, the scope of your labwork depends on your major and your career goals after graduation.
How to write a lab report like a pro
Did you know that you’ll have to write reports when you get done conducting experiments in the laboratory? Those reports have little to do with your ability to string words together and more to do with your ability to draw concise conclusions from your work. So, the purpose of a lab report is to showcase your understanding of the subject matter for higher grades (and better discoveries).
Here’s what you want your lab report to have:
- A sense of organization within each step
- A clear declaration of your goals
- A systematic approach underlying all new discoveries or conclusions
Also, be sure you explain the meaning of your experiment and demonstrate how you studied the topic without prejudice. Then, compare your findings to something relevant in the sciences. Afterward, analyze those discoveries to provide an argument for or against your initial opinion. And don’t forget to include plenty of evidence to back it up.
The final verdict
Biology lab is extremely important to both your degree and your future as a biologist. So, arrive prepared and do your best to make the most out of your time there.