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LBC students study biology and evolution at the Chicago Field Museum

students outside the Chicago Field MuseumIn mid-February, students in Dr. Peter White's LB 145 class were able to expand their knowledge outside the classroom during a trip to Chicago. Students stayed downtown overnight, explored the beautiful city and experienced true Chicago deep dish pizza before walking to the Chicago Field Museum the following morning.

The Chicago Field Museum aims to "inspire curiosity about life on Earth while exploring how the world came to be and how we can make it a better place," making it the perfect location for LB 145, a biology course focused on the effects of cell function on biological development.

At the museum, students began work on a project centered around the Evolving Planet Exhibit, which includes "an awe-inspiring journey through 4 billion years of life on Earth, from single-celled organisms to towering dinosaurs and our extended human family." The exhibit includes fossils, animations, interactive displays, and a Hall of Dinosaurs filled to the brim with enormous fossils and skeletons.

students looking at museum map

The group project focused on evolution, with each group focusing their research on a particular species or characteristic. "Students investigated the evidences for evolution presented in the Evolving Planet Exhibit and are tasked with making video podcasts of their findings," said Dr. White.

In addition to the Evolving Planet Exhibit, students explored the multitude of other exhibits around the museum. From Ancient Egypt to the world of insects to the DNA Discovery Center, there was no shortage of information and experiences for students to explore.

"As a college student with a major in science, I'm not sure what more I could have asked for out of this trip" said Victoria Badia, one of the LBC students who took the trip.

"It was incredible to make connections between the information found within the museum exhibits and my recent coursework in LB 145. I remember looking at the DNA sequencing display and thinking 'I just learned how this works, how cool!' Going on this trip reminded me just why I love being a student in Lyman Briggs—not only are we learning about science from faculty who truly love teaching, but we are being exposed to real-world applications of the material we cover."

students photographing exhibits for their project

Sophomore Lindsay MacAulay added, "I really enjoyed the Chicago trip with the LB145 class. It was a really great trip and I loved that we had the opportunity to do some roaming around in downtown Chicago! I got my first picture with the famous bean [i.e., the Cloud Gate at Millennium Park]! The museum itself was also a really great experience as well, and also my first trip to the Field Museum. The evolutionary section was definitely my favorite part of the Museum, mainly because of the dinosaur section. I loved learning about all the scientists were able to learn based on the fossils and bones of dinosaurs they found! Another part I really liked was the DNA lab. It was a strange but cool feeling to read about how they read DNA sequences and already understand it!"

Since their return, students have begun editing the videos and pictures they collected at the museum into their final podcasts, which will then be presented to the class. The goal of these video podcasts is to encourage students to think beyond their textbooks to describe the historical evidence for evolution that extends beyond what students have learned in their LB 145 course.