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Rising to the Top

Promoting Deeper Learning in the Laboratory


Anne Farewell
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Gothenburg


This case study was designed for use in teacher-education courses for both graduate student laboratory assistants and lecturers or professors in natural sciences at the university or college level. The case demonstrates how laboratory practice and design can be improved to increase students' learning in the lab. First, participants use role play to discover how to interact with students in a lab setting to help students connect theoretical knowledge to their practical work. Second, participants re-design a cookbook lab exercise into an inquiry based lab. No specific knowledge of biology or chemistry is needed beyond high school level to complete the activity. Note: There is no answer key for this case study due to its unusual structure.


  • Describe the difference between inquiry-based and cookbook labs.
  • Use effective questioning to help students tie theory into practical labs.
  • Redesign a cookbook lab exercise into a more inquiry-based lab.


Science education; inquiry based laboratories; laboratories; labs; teaching; case study teaching; yeast; bread

Topical Areas


Educational Level

Graduate, Continuing education, Faculty development



Type / Methods

Discussion, Role-Play



Subject Headings

Teacher Education  |   Science Education  |   Microbiology  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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