Home-based laboratory experiences during COVID-19 pandemic in undergraduate biochemistry students

Victoria Velarde, Felipe Casado-Barragán, Michelle Thamar, Vicky F. Rands, Alexis A. Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) pointed out new challenges to teaching in laboratory-based disciplines, such as chemistry, biology, and biochemistry with on-site practical sessions interrupted or suspended during 2020 and 2021. Observation and experimentation are part of education in science-based disciplines and provide necessary skills for professional and academic careers. In an effort to solve this disruption to experimental observations, we designed a set of home-based experiences related to chemistry and biochemistry. These included visual identification of lipids, sugars, proteins, and DNA in biological samples using materials easily found at home, such as alcohol, soap, and oil, among others. Each activity was documented with smartphones and discussed in a final portfolio. Fifty-two students were part of an introductory cell biochemistry course. The home-based laboratories were organized into 2.5-h sessions that included a lab session, a post lab session, and a period for preparing the experiment at home. Thirty-six (17 men and 19 women) students answered a survey designed to assess three major domains: (1) student’s demographics and home environment, (2) general perceptions of the laboratory activities, and (3) specific perceptions of each laboratory activity. Sixty two percent of the students thought that these activities helped them to understand how to isolate and identify macromolecules. Eleven percent said these home activities did not contribute to their understanding while 27% stated the activities were not significant for the topic. We conclude that, although the addition of in-house experiments provides a complementary tool for understanding the main concepts in biochemistry along with improving skills in scientific thinking, this should be accompanied by a good feedback mechanism from the instructors. In addition, student to student interaction should be part of the at home activities to increase student motivation. A Flipped laboratory methodology plus tools where metacognition is evaluated, appear to be appropriate to promote the understanding of concepts in the context of the laboratory. And although some aspects of the experimental experience can be substitute with online resources and in home experiences, others can only be achieved by the in-person experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number965438
JournalFrontiers in Education
StatePublished - 24 Nov 2022


  • COVID-19
  • active Learning
  • biochemistry
  • in-home experiment
  • undergraduate student


Dive into the research topics of 'Home-based laboratory experiences during COVID-19 pandemic in undergraduate biochemistry students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this