This article features a four-step pedagogical framework that can be used to transform the undergraduate biology laboratory into an authentic research experience. The framework utilizes a four-step scaffolding structure that not only guides students through the process of science and helps them gain mastery of relevant scientific practices, but also simplifies and streamlines the instructor's process of designing and implementing an authentic research experience in a biology lab course. We used this pedagogical framework to design an authentic research experience in which students investigated various factors affecting the growth and viability of a mammalian cell line, Vero cells isolated from kidney epithelial cells extracted from an African green monkey. Although this particular lab was designed for a cell and molecular biology course for university sophomores, the flexibility built into the pedagogical framework allows it to be used to design research experiences that can be implemented within a wide variety of lab courses at varying levels, effectively increasing the amount of authentic research experiences in biology lab courses nationwide.
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Vol. 78 • No. 6