Authentic Research with Bean Beetles

The bean beetle lab module was designed by Sadie Hebert for non-major students in BIOL 1003 Evolution and Biology of Sex. Sehoya Cotner, who teaches BIOL 1003, helped Sadie implement this lab.

Description of Project

This lab uses bean beetles as a model organism in an inquiry-based lab to actively engage students in the scientific process. Working in teams of four, students ask a question and then try to answer it as they go through the scientific.  Along the way, students develop their mathematical, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills.

In this lab, students...

  1. Are introduced to the bean beetles.

  2. Review recent scientific literature to generate potential testable hypotheses.

  3. Chose a hypothesis and make an experimental plan.

  4. Perform experiments, record data, and replicate experiments.

  5. Analyze data and make conclusions.

  6. Present their projects to their peers.

Learning Outcomes

Primary learning outcome – Students will gain a better understanding of the process of science.

Secondary learning outcome – Students will have increased confidence and improved attitudes towards science.

Why use bean beetles?

Bean beetles have a short reproductive cycle and are low maintenance, making it an ideal model organism. Adult bean beetles do not require food or water. During their short one or two week lifespan, their main task is to mate and lay eggs. The eggs of bean beetles are laid on the external surface of beans. Upon hatching, the larva burrows into the bean where it feeds and develops for 24-36 hours before emerging as an adult.

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