StoryMaps produced by MCDB 221-Laboratory for Foundations of Biology Students Featured in the ArcGIS Teach with GIS Hub.

image of girl using inhaler, city, and covid germs
February 11, 2021

Last term, MCDB 221L-Laboratory for Foundations of Biolgy was offered remotely. Because of the format, the class was redesigned within it’s original educational mission:  to provide essential research skills to further the student’s quantitative reasoning and writing skills by learning about experimental design, data collection, analysis and reporting.

During the first half of the term, students explored topics in biology including, enzyme kinetics, DNA as the molecule of inheritance, mechanisms of gene regulation in prokaryotes and their utility in synthetic biology, and DNA variation as a tool to study genetic diversity in human populations.  Through these activities they learned how to study a biological question, analyze and visualize data using the program GraphPad Prism, and generate an intelligent scientific report. 

During the second half of the term, as a way to practice these analytical skills, the students embarked on a project of their choosing with their peers, this time applying these basic skills to a real-world application. Students learned how to work with geospatial information using ArcGIS Online and work collaborative using the platform MIRO. Using these novel tools in combination with these basic skills, students embarked on research projects where the world was their laboratory classroom. The outcome was 14 StoryMaps where the class participants researched problems that are inflicting society today that have a biologically rooted question. The class culminated with presentations where students shared their findings with their peers and members of the Yale Library-GIS Support, and the ESRI Learn Team.

The StoryMaps have their own page in the Community link.

To access the community page, go to

To access the MCDB 221L-Gallery page, go to