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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Gibson, Phil [1], Hoefnagels, Marielle [1].

A Tree-Thinking Approach in Introductory Biology: Germination of the Idea.

Evolution is a fundamental biological concept that explains phenomena acting at all hierarchical levels of biological organization. Despite its importance in the biological sciences, evolutionary theory is not widely understood or accepted in the general public, and there is tremendous variation in coverage of evolution and related topics in pre-college science education. Consequently, many undergraduate students enter introductory level biology with a poor knowledge foundation and many misconceptions about evolution. In response to calls for more active, student-focused science education in general, and more effective teaching of evolution in particular, we are studying the effect of an introductory biology curriculum based on Tree-Thinking. The curriculum uses a series of active learning modules and curricular elements that focus on using a phylogenetic framework as a construct for introductory biology to increase student understanding and appreciation of evolution as a fundamental principle of modern biology. An overview of the project and early results will be presented.

Broader Impacts:
The modules we develop will reach over 375 undergraduate students at the University of Oklahoma each year. Likewise, approximately 10 graduate students per year will participate in the program and receive training in science pedagogyover the course of the project, which will foster development of this critical aspect of their professional development. The effect of the modules on student learning will be assessed through multiple-choice pre- and post-module assessments, concept maps, and open-ended surveys. Results of the project will be used to develop similar modules for use in other introductory-level courses for majors and non-majors.

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1 - University of Oklahoma, Department of Botany and Microbiology, Norman, OK, 73019, USA

tree thinking
science education reform
undergraduate education.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 34
Location: 554B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: 34003
Abstract ID:101

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