I'm sure we all agree that bio students need to learn elements of statistics as part of their training. In addition to requiring statistics courses, we have found that introducing beginning biology students to statistical analysis early in their careers can pay off as they enter into upper level courses and research experiences. We use a simple, human heart rate lab in our Introduction to Experimental Biology lab class in order to easily generate data sets that can be statistically analyzed. I propose this discussion thread as a place to post examples of labs that can be used to introduce students to statistical analysis.

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We incorporate statistical analysis into our general biology I course and have students determine whether two alleles in corn plants are following Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment. Students plant just 16 seeds that theoretically would yield a 9:3:3:1 phenotypic ratio. Of course students don't see these patterns and have to determine, using a Chi Square test whether the variation they observe is within an acceptable range. This is a an easy, cheap lab to set up and analyze. It winds up taking a couple weeks (because the plants have to grow!) but that is a good thing for the students since they get a chance to really process the use of the statistical method and why it is necessary in this case. They also can contrast their experiment with Mendel's which gives them a nice historical perspective and appreciation for detail and patience in science. 

I like this. At present, we don't run a genetics lab for our intro lab sequence, but this could easily find its way in.

David, what are you using as source material for this introduction to statistics? In the long term, it would be beneficial if the textbook authors started including an intro to statistical methods and data analysis in the texts. In the meantime, are you writing your own material, or are there quality sources available to use in conjunction with a course text?

At present, we run one main statistics lab for our intro bio students. The idea is to make sure they realize, early on, that data need to be analyzed statistically, where appropriate, in order to draw conclusions. We introduce them to t tests, first by having them apply the formulas to calculate t values manually, so they get a quantitative feel for what the tests are comparing, and then in a second week, we teach them how to use Excel to do the calculations and instruct them on graphical analysis for presentation of data. I can send you the lab if you like.

I am interested in the actual lab protocols that you use to emphasize statistical analysis, graphical presentation, and data visualization. Is it possible to set up a shared folder of resources somewhere in this forum or in the PULSE community as a whole so faculty can upload the resources they want to share and access the ones they want to adopt?

Is this resource already in existence in the PULSE community and I am just not looking in the right place?



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