The biological sciences are becoming increasingly reliant on computer science and associated technologies to quickly and efficiently analyze and interpret complex data sets. Introducing students to data analysis techniques is a critical part of their development as well-rounded, scientifically literate citizens. As part of a collaborative effort between the Biology and Computer Science departments at William & Mary, we sought to develop laboratory exercises that would introduce basic ideas of data analysis while also exposing students to Python, a commonly used computer programming language. We accomplished this by developing exercises within the interactive Jupyter Notebook platform, an open-source application that allows Python code to be written and executed as discrete blocks in real time. Students used the developed Jupyter Notebook to analyze data collected as part of a multiweek ecology field experiment aimed at determining the effect of white-tailed deer on aspects of biological diversity. These inquiry-based laboratory exercises generated scientifically relevant data and gave students a chance to experience and participate in ongoing scientific research while demonstrating the utility of computer science in the scientific process.

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