Wisdom Begins with Wonder

Euglena inquiry

Euglena Vials

Euglena in vials

After complaining that I struggle with inquiry in biology, I was confronted with a great opportunity to take a non-inquiry lab and bend it to my inquiry will!

The lab involves students observing Euglena (a photosynthetic protist) and their response to limited light. The basic lab consists of placing the Euglena in a container wrapped with black paper and cutting a small hole with a chosen shape in the paper. The Euglena then move to the location of the hole to get the needed light. Rather than just having the students do the lab as is and move on, I am going to ask them to generate questions about the Euglena and design an experiment to test their questions. We will do this in a whole class inquiry style where each group will test a variable and report their findings back to the class.

The key will be making the photosynthetic properties of the Euglena the central feature of the inquiries. In other words, students won’t be adding chemicals to the medium or doing other tangential inquiries.

Our process:

  1. Brainstorm variables that may affect the photosynthesis of the Euglena
  2. Eliminate any that we can’t measure or are inappropriate
  3. Select our top 6 that we think are the most interesting or important
  4. Each group selects one variable to test and plans their experiment
  5. Once their plan is approved, each group carries out their experiment and gathers their data
  6. Each group uses a whiteboard to organize their findings and report back to the class
  7. We have a whole class discussion about our findings and connect our results to photosynthesis

Once we’re done – I’ll report the results!



2 comments ↓

  • #   Tonya on 02.11.13 at 4:44 pm     

    I was wondering if you had s link to where I could find more info about the basic Euglena experiment that you did. I’m having trouble finding stuff online and woyld love to do this with my bio 11 class.
    Thanks!


  • #   Mr. Rice on 02.12.13 at 2:47 pm     

    It’s actually really simple.

    You need Euglena culture, a full spectrum light (like those used for indoor gardening), small containers, black paper, and microscopes.

    The students observe the Euglena under microscopes then put them in the containers. They wrap the container with black paper with a small hole cut in it. The students decide the size and shape of the hole. The Euglena are then put in front of the lamp for 24-48 hours. Ideally, they will move to the hole during this time. When the paper is removed, they will make the pattern of the hole. This part of the lab doesn’t always work but they are still a great tool for inquiry.


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