By Sara Juarez
When the Honors Biology students were accepted into the Honors Program, never did they envision themselves studying beer.
A few weeks ago, the Honors Biology 101 students at Grand Rapids Community College took a trip with Professor Laurie Foster to Founders Brewing Co., a local brewing company located in Grand Rapids. A total of 16 students went. While there, they got to witness the art of beer making first hand.
“One of the features of the Honors Biology class is to provide them with learning opportunities that are contextual to a real world application,” Foster said. At the brewery, students learned about all the various scientific processes involved in producing beer. It was a great learning experience and chance to break away from the traditional classroom setting.
“We met with personnel from quality control and the microbiologist and explored every aspect of the science of beer making,” said Foster. A few of the focuses included: analyzing the effects temperature has on the brewing process, testing the students’ comprehension on cell respiration and fermentation, and discussing the historical importance of beer making in America.
Taking a hands-on approach in student learning can prove to be very beneficial.
“When learning is woven in direct ways to apply the knowledge, it is assimilated and retained in a notably enhanced way,” said Foster. The Honors Biology department hopes to continue with such learning opportunities.
Some future trips planned for the rest of the semester include visits to:
Meijer Gardens, where students will explore worldwide plant representatives.
Van Andel Research Institute, in which students will meet with a head researcher in action.
Spectrum Hospital, where they’ll receive a pathology and histology tour.
Biology Book, and Breakfast, in which students will discuss a biotechnology bio-ethical dilemma.
Grand Rapids Public Museum, where students will conduct a diorama scavenger hunt.