Lab

Observe, test and apply course concepts in a controlled setting specialized for small group learning (typically affiliated with specific technology and/or facilities).

Labs at Brock

Consider these examples of labs designed by faculty and instructors at Brock.

Instructor: Marc Pistor, Instructor; Steven Trussler, Senior Lab Demonstrator

Course: OEVI 3P21 – Wine Processing & Equipment

Program: Oenology & Viticulture

FERMENTATION AND WINE-MAKING lab

In the lab portion of OEVI 3P21, students are tasked with completing a large-scale fermentation of grape juice into wine.

Students have access to the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute’s Teaching and Research Winery, where they use the institute’s processing equipment in their fermentations.  The budding winemakers decide what style of wine they are going to make, devise a plan to make that happen, and spend the semester monitoring the progress of their wines.  They also must come up with a marketing plan which includes packaging, target market, and price point.

The application of the skills and knowledge gained in this course is apparent in the story of a recent graduate, Nick Pappas.  After completing the course, Nick spent two terms working in a winery as part of the Co-op portion of his degree.  Using the knowledge he gained in his winemaking project at Brock, Nick produced his very own award-winning wine from the 2017 harvest.

Instructor: Dr. Ken Lodewyk, Associate Professor

Course: KINE 3P32 – Movement Activities for Physical Education in Schools

Program: Physical Education

Micro-teaching labs

Small groups of students prepare and present a 20-minute developmentally-appropriate series of activities (ranging from dance, gymnastics, games, fitness, cooperative activities, to alternative pursuits) to their classmates on campus. These activity plans will use various resources to demonstrate how the activities will fulfill curricular expectations within the Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum. After receiving peer and instructor feedback, students adapt their activity plans and then lead school-age students through their activities during their school physical education class.  This occurs once each for primary (K-3), junior (grades 4-6), intermediate (grades 7-9), and senior (grades 10-12) developmental levels. Following each presentation, students in the class complete an individual reflection essay of their experiences at the school.

In their reflection essay for each series of activity presentations in the school, each student is to:

  • Specifically assess the quality (or lack of) of each aspect of the activity(s) their group taught in the school. Were the objectives for the activity(s) at this developmental level achieved? Why or why not? How well-prepared did the group feel based on the previous two labs for this developmental level?
  • Comment specifically on anything of note that was observed about the presentation style of their group (i.e., confidence, voice projection, transitions, adaptation, and management of participants, equipment, motivation, flow) at the school.
  • Explain any noteworthy observations related to the behaviours of the students or any others in attendance during the group’s presentation.
  • Add any relevant insights into the other KINE 3P32 activity presentations  observed in the school during the lab session.

Instructor: Aleksandar Necakov, Instructor; Amanda Lepp, Senior Lab Demonstrator

Course: BIOL 2P03 – Cell Biology

Program: Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Biophysics, Biotechnology

CELL BIOLOGY LABS

After completing an introductory lab that covers the principles of cell culture and microscopy, small groups of 2-3 students work together on a project that spans three different labs over the course of six weeks. With their foundation of core cell biology skills these groups receive their cells from a mouse myoblast cell line. After assessing the viability of these cells, they seed them into media which they made, setting up six different time points and treatment conditions to examine the effects of a glucocorticoid on myoblast proliferation and differentiation. After these cells have been able to grow in these different conditions, students preserve and stain their cultures in order to visually access the structural changes during proliferation and differentiation using light microscopy. In order to examine the role that different cell signaling proteins play in these two processes, students perform immunohistochemistry to examine the role of various proteins during proliferation and differentiation with fluorescent microscopy. The lab project culminates in the writing of a formal report that is structured much like a manuscript, describing the rationale behind the approaches they used, what their results were compared to what they expected to see based off of previous research, and the implications of their findings to the scientific community. Small lab sizes of approximately 20 students allow a seminar style presentation by each group of a peer reviewed paper at the end of term.

Technological advancements have greatly enhanced our capabilities as scientists and are a catalyst for breakthrough scientific discoveries. That is why the undergraduate Biology teaching labs at Brock University provide students with hands-on experience using the latest experimental techniques to investigate innovative research questions. Through our labs, students acquire a deeper understanding of important Biological principles and they develop valuable critical thinking and communication skills. We want our students to finish their undergraduate degree with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to become leaders in their field.

-Dr. Mark Lukewich,  BIOL 2P03 Cell Biology instructor (2014-2017)