Author Archives: nonmajorsbiology

Jamboard: A great tool for collecting student questions and ideas

I am back in the nonmajors biology classroom after a long departure. COVID-19, a sabbatical, and some unexpected administrative duties took their toll, but it’s good to be back. I have been trying to reduce the amount of superfluous content … Continue reading

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Inhabiting the Anthropocene: Art Meets Biology

This week I had to opportunity to contribute to a great blog called Inhabiting the Anthropocene. My friend and colleague Zev Trachtenberg hosts the blog site, which is “dedicated to exploring the intellectual and ethical challenges raised by the Anthropocene” … Continue reading

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Binary or not? Teaching the biology of sex

For the most part, the world divides people into two categories: male and female. Public bathrooms, clothing catalogs, baby accessories, kids’ toys, fairy tales, marriage laws, sports, music videos, and the marketing of personal care items ranging from deodorant to … Continue reading

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Don’t Just Talk About Microplastics — Make Them Visible

As a biology teacher, I hope you’re aware of, and deeply disturbed by, the enormous volume of plastics that we all discard, day after day. We can see cups, bags, and other plastic trash by the roadside and in waterways, … Continue reading

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Using Google Forms for biology class: A free tool with many uses

My all-time favorite professional organization is the Association for Biology Laboratory Education, chiefly because the annual hands-on workshops provide ideas that I can use right away in my teaching. (ABLE’s journal compiles all of the past workshops and is a … Continue reading

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Mindset Matters for Teachers, Too

Mindset has been a recurring theme throughout my blog posts. (If you need a quick primer on the difference between fixed and growth mindset, you can find a good summary here.) In a nutshell, people with a fixed mindset believe … Continue reading

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Does Comedy Add Interest, or Does It Distract from Scientific Rigor?

[A guest post by Matt Taylor] The COVID-19 pandemic got me thinking about how difficult it can be to engage biology students, especially nonmajors learning in an online environment. An especially challenging area for me to teach is animal diversity. … Continue reading

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Inching Toward Inclusivity, One Instructor at a Time

Like many instructors, I have spent the past year or so thinking more about enhancing inclusivity and a sense of “belonging” in my college classroom. One thought-provoking paper from CBE — Life Sciences Education that recently came my way has … Continue reading

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This might just be my new favorite book about teaching…

Last month, I bought and read Terry McGlynn’s excellent new book, The Chicago Guide to College Science Teaching (published 2020). It is one of those books that hits the rare combination of being informed by educational research without dwelling on … Continue reading

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Seven Strategies for Sustaining Student Engagement Online

Thanks to an extremely well-timed sabbatical, I have not had to teach my nonmajors biology class during the COVID-19 pandemic. But I have paid attention to what my colleagues are doing with their classes, and I have read a bit … Continue reading

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