Data collected in many biology laboratory classes are on ratio or interval scales where the size interval between adjacent units on the scale is constant, which is a critical requirement for analysis with parametric statistics such as t-tests or analysis of variance. In other cases, such as ratings of disease or behavior, data are collected on ordinal scales in which observations are placed in a sequence but the intervals between adjacent observations are not necessarily equal. These data can only be interpreted in terms of their order, not in terms of the differences between adjacent points. They are unsuitable for parametric statistical analyses and require a rank-based approach using nonparametric statistics. We describe an application of one such approach, the Kruskal-Wallis test, to biological data using online freeware suitable for classroom settings.
Collections of 50–100 postage stamps illustrating many organisms or biomedical topics are available widely and cheaply. They are valuable stimulus material for exercises as diverse as observing and describing, studying biological classification, substituting for collecting and preserving real specimens, describing health education campaigns, and introducing ethical topics such as scientific fraud.