Proposal Title

Avida-ED: An artificial life platform for teaching evolutionary principles and the nature of science

Session Type

Workshop

Room

P&A Rm 117

Start Date

July 2015

Keywords

Artificial life; evolution; nature of science; inquiry

Primary Threads

Education Technologies and Innovative Resources

Abstract

[REM – Please bring a laptop computer to this workshop session is you have one.]
Participants in this workshop will use and make a plan to implement the artificial life platform, Avida-ED (avida-ed.msu.edu), in their classrooms. We’ll introduce an Avida-ED instructional sequence and lab manual that we implemented in our Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology course at Michigan State in 2014. Avida-ED was used in the teaching lab in parallel with a bacterial antibiotic resistance experimental research stream, allowing students to draw connections between Avidian evolution and the evolution of antibiotic resistance in microbial populations. Workshop participants will download the Avida-ED program and Lab Manual, and participate in three exercises used to familiarize students with Avida-ED, each focused on teaching particular evolutionary concepts. We’ll then describe independent Avida-ED research projects carried out by our students, the results of which were presented as posters to scientists in MSU’s BEACON Center in fall 2014. Throughout the session, workshop participants will work with the Avida-ED program as we model the exercises and think about ways to engage students in research. We close by presenting DBER results indicating that Avida-ED is positively correlated with stronger student explanations of how microbial populations evolve resistance to the effects of an antibiotic. Analysis of student responses revealed more frequent mention of the term “random” in association with “mutation” (chi2 test, p < 0.01), less teleological reasoning (chi2 test, p < 0.01), and EvoGrader analysis showed stronger connections between three key evolutionary concepts (variation, heritability and differential survival).

Elements of Engagement

Student-student interactions, peer instruction, hands-on exploration, hypothesis formation, and experimental design

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Jul 9th, 10:30 AM

Avida-ED: An artificial life platform for teaching evolutionary principles and the nature of science

P&A Rm 117

[REM – Please bring a laptop computer to this workshop session is you have one.]
Participants in this workshop will use and make a plan to implement the artificial life platform, Avida-ED (avida-ed.msu.edu), in their classrooms. We’ll introduce an Avida-ED instructional sequence and lab manual that we implemented in our Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology course at Michigan State in 2014. Avida-ED was used in the teaching lab in parallel with a bacterial antibiotic resistance experimental research stream, allowing students to draw connections between Avidian evolution and the evolution of antibiotic resistance in microbial populations. Workshop participants will download the Avida-ED program and Lab Manual, and participate in three exercises used to familiarize students with Avida-ED, each focused on teaching particular evolutionary concepts. We’ll then describe independent Avida-ED research projects carried out by our students, the results of which were presented as posters to scientists in MSU’s BEACON Center in fall 2014. Throughout the session, workshop participants will work with the Avida-ED program as we model the exercises and think about ways to engage students in research. We close by presenting DBER results indicating that Avida-ED is positively correlated with stronger student explanations of how microbial populations evolve resistance to the effects of an antibiotic. Analysis of student responses revealed more frequent mention of the term “random” in association with “mutation” (chi2 test, p < 0.01), less teleological reasoning (chi2 test, p < 0.01), and EvoGrader analysis showed stronger connections between three key evolutionary concepts (variation, heritability and differential survival).