Using DryadLab Modules

DryadLab is a collection of free, openly-licensed, high-quality, hands-on, educational modules for students to engage in scientific inquiry using real data. DryadLab modules can be easily integrated into existing advanced secondary, undergraduate, and early graduate courses.

Each module contains everything you need to walk students through a lesson: the data, instructor background, slides with a guide to use, student handouts, assignments, assessment tools, enrichment options, and references for additional resources. You can use the entire module or adapt it to meet the needs of your course. It is recommended that you review all of the material included in the DryadLab package. Once you understand the format they will become increasingly easy to use.


DryadLab modules contain an overview of the curriculum module. On this page you will find detailed instructions on how to use the curriculum module from start to finish. Each module contains two options. First you must decide which of the two options best fit the needs of your class. Once you have established which option you would like to use, it is recommended that you look at the procedures at a glance. This will provide you with a brief description of what is required of students and the order in which to use student handouts provided. The detailed procedures provide you a step-by- step guide on how to walk your students through the c module. As you read through the detailed instructions it is best to reference the documents that are bolded.

Instructor’s Background

All modules are accompanied by background information for instructors. Please review this information prior to using the modules in class. The information contained on this page is mirrored in the slide presentation provided.

Slides and Instructor’s Guide to Slides

DryadLab modules contain a slide presentation along with a guide to using that presentation included. The detailed procedures from the overview along with the guide to the slides indicate when and how to most effectively use the presentation in your classroom. There is text provided for each slide, but remember this is your module, please adjust this to fit your specific needs.


DryadLab is a project of the Dryad Digital Repository, which makes a wide variety of research data underlying scientific and medical publications discoverable, freely reusable, and citable. The data used in these modules can be found at datadryad.org. The data contained in your package is highly curated and ready for use. The modules are created to be used with Google Spreadsheet as it is openly available for anyone to use. It is best to have students access the data before you begin the module. This will allow you to trouble shoot any problems before students are engaged in the activities.

Student Handouts

The modules are designed to be turnkey curriculum. Student handouts are provided for you and can be printed or presented in any fashion you are comfortable with. The student handouts are designed to scaffold the activity and make it accessible to anyone using the module. The detailed procedures found in the overview of the module will give you the best order for presenting these handouts to students. Many of the handouts are scaffolding tools. You should opt to use or exclude them based on the needs of your specific students. You may also want to modify them and present them in a different form. There is quite a bit of flexibility in how the modules are used with your students.

Shortcuts and Techniques

Because there are several student handouts included in each module, it is best to print out the student handouts prior to the start of class, and create a packet or folder that contains all of the handouts for students in the order that they will use them. This will save class time and allow the module to flow more smoothly. Also remember that in many cases not all students require a handout. If they are working in groups let them share! This will save both time and paper. In addition this is an Open Educational Resource. We encourage you to modify it in anyway that will allow it to better fit your needs. The scaffolding techniques are provided only to make it more accessible to your students.

If you have any questions please contact samswauger@gmail.com.