Author Archives: nonmajorsbiology

Instructors: Be kind to your future self

I’ve posted a few times on helping your students cultivate a growth mindset. But I think its also important to think about our own mindsets as instructors. How can we cultivate a growth mindset about teaching, learn from our mistakes, and … Continue reading

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My Students Need Help Asking for Help; Do Yours?

We finished exam 2 in my nonmajors biology class last week, and after the exam was over, I had an epiphany: Very few students asked me for help. For context, I’ve been doing this job for more than 20 years. … Continue reading

Posted in Engaging students, Study skills, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

The Incredibly Stretchy Condom, Revisited

It has been about 6 years since I wrote about the “Process and Tools of Science” lab in which students learn metric units of measure while they experiment with condoms. I still love this activity and use it every semester, … Continue reading

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Natural Selection in Tortoises: A (Homemade) Video

[Doug Gaffin and Marielle Hoefnagels worked together to develop the materials used in this post.] A while back, I wrote a post on an activity that connects genotype, phenotype, and natural selection. In a nutshell, the activity uses colored chips … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Evolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Practice Perfection”: It’s Not Just for Gymnasts

In case you are not focused on the world of college gymnastics, the University of Oklahoma’s men’s and women’s teams are second to none. I am not exaggerating: You can see the 2019 NCAA men’s rankings here and the women’s … Continue reading

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The Laptop Ban: New Research

Faithful readers may remember that a couple of years ago I banned the use of laptops in my nonmajors biology classroom. You can read about the rationale in a previous blog post that summarizes the Mueller and Oppenheimer study, which … Continue reading

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Moldy bread, experimental design, and you

For many semesters, my nonmajors biology lab did a lab called chicken wing microbiology. You can download it here, from the wonderful Association for Biology Laboratory Education website (Walvoord and Hoefnagels, 2006). In the lab, students devised a method to … Continue reading

Posted in Engaging students, fungi, Laboratory activities, Microbiology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Raise Your Hand: How Do You Start the Semester on the Right Foot?

Years ago, I published my best idea for semester prep, a checklist that has proved to be an audience favorite. Over the past 5 years, many readers have asked for my checklist, which I have freely shared. I was knee-deep … Continue reading

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Another Way to Connect Selection, Phenotype, and Genotype

Now that it’s summer, I’m catching up on my American Biology Teacher backlog. I found this interesting-looking activity by Janina Jördens and three coauthors in the February 2018 issue. The title of the article says it all: “Interrelating Concepts from … Continue reading

Posted in Evolution, Laboratory activities, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

So many learning resources … so little time

Contributed by Matt Taylor Suppose you are searching for that great new activity, assignment, or video for your class. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the never-ending list of resources that you can find? Your students might feel the same … Continue reading

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