Proposal Title

The integrative approach to evolution education

Session Type

Workshop

Room

PAB 150

Start Date

9-7-2013 4:00 PM

Keywords

Evolution, biology, integrative curriculum, cases, education resources

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Evolution is a broad theory that is difficult for many students to understand. Part of the reason for this may be the tendency of instructors to teach evolution in the context of ecological systems, isolated from genetic and cellular mechanisms. To address this, we developed a set of integrative cases that address evolutionary processes from their origination in DNA mutations, to the production of different proteins, to the fixation of alternate macroscopic phenotypes in reproductively isolated populations. These integrative cases represent a comprehensive approach to teaching evolution across biological sub-disciplines. To date, we have implemented these cases in several introductory biology courses and our preliminary data show that students who more successfully learn evolution in a case context are also more able to (i) explain the molecular basis of mutation, (ii) describe how mutations lead to phenotypic change and (iii) make mechanistic links between genotypes and phenotypes. Our findings support the hypothesis that students who acquire an understanding of genetic, molecular and cellular evolutionary mechanisms will have a better overall understanding of evolution.

We have three goals for this workshop: (i) to model the case-approach to evolution education, (ii) to provide participants with “instruction ready” web-based evolution education materials, and (iii) to disseminate our preliminary investigation that analyzes the impact of the integrative case-approach on the learning of evolution. The education materials we have developed, including PowerPoint slides and web-based simulations (games), are freely available at http://www.evo-ed.com.

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Jul 9th, 4:00 PM

The integrative approach to evolution education

PAB 150

Evolution is a broad theory that is difficult for many students to understand. Part of the reason for this may be the tendency of instructors to teach evolution in the context of ecological systems, isolated from genetic and cellular mechanisms. To address this, we developed a set of integrative cases that address evolutionary processes from their origination in DNA mutations, to the production of different proteins, to the fixation of alternate macroscopic phenotypes in reproductively isolated populations. These integrative cases represent a comprehensive approach to teaching evolution across biological sub-disciplines. To date, we have implemented these cases in several introductory biology courses and our preliminary data show that students who more successfully learn evolution in a case context are also more able to (i) explain the molecular basis of mutation, (ii) describe how mutations lead to phenotypic change and (iii) make mechanistic links between genotypes and phenotypes. Our findings support the hypothesis that students who acquire an understanding of genetic, molecular and cellular evolutionary mechanisms will have a better overall understanding of evolution.

We have three goals for this workshop: (i) to model the case-approach to evolution education, (ii) to provide participants with “instruction ready” web-based evolution education materials, and (iii) to disseminate our preliminary investigation that analyzes the impact of the integrative case-approach on the learning of evolution. The education materials we have developed, including PowerPoint slides and web-based simulations (games), are freely available at http://www.evo-ed.com.