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AP Biology: Transitioning to Inquiry-Based Labs

Workshop description

Inquiry-based labs allow students to engage in science practices that require them to think and act like scientists. The focus in AP Biology is shifting from content coverage — breadth — toward enduring understandings and scientific reasoning skills — depth.  This workshop will provide AP Biology teachers with a means to understand inquiry and its place in the classroom. Participants will analyze how traditional labs differ from inquiry-based labs and investigate a system that they can use to modify traditional, "cookbook" labs to make them inquiry-based. In addition, participants will have an opportunity to plan how they will transition their curricula to focus on inquiry. Participants will leave this workshop with the ability to confidently create inquiry-based labs that they can immediately use in their classrooms.

Workshop goal

Participants will learn strategies for modifying traditional labs and incorporating inquiry-based labs into their AP Biology curricula.

Learning outcomes

After attending this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Use current research and models of inquiry-based labs to understand differing lab structures
  • Recognize the cognitive processes that students engage in during various laboratory investigations and identify the tasks that enable different levels of inquiry (confirmation, structured, guided or open inquiry)
  • Practice modifying traditional labs to make them inquiry-based

Agenda

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Defining Inquiry
  3. Levels of Inquiry
  4. Modifying Traditional Labs
  5. Lab Investigations and the AP Biology Exam
  6. Classroom Connections
  7. Implementing Inquiry-Based Labs
  8. Workshop Summary and Closing