Author Archives: nonmajorsbiology

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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A New Way to Look at Red-Green Colorblindness

When we cover genetics in our nonmajors biology classes, many of us use red-green colorblindness as a familiar example of X-linked inheritance. We may even ask our students to indicate whether they can see the numbers or symbols in Ishihara … Continue reading

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“BiteScis”: Bite-sized research to promote scientific thinking

Are you looking for biology lessons that promote scientific thinking, are classroom-tested, and are fully customizable to your own needs? On second thought, who isn’t? While reading The American Biology Teacher recently, I learned about a good source: BiteScis, a … Continue reading

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What Does a STEM Professional Look Like? One Graduate Student’s Perspective

I encourage you to visit today’s Science Careers website and read the moving commentary entitled Why I’ve struggled with the pressure to assimilate when teaching. The author is Montrai Spikes, a graduate student in Biology at the University of Oklahoma … Continue reading

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Calling on students at random: What are the keys to success?

Lofty principles of equal opportunity guide our country and our schools, but the truth is that not everyone is treated fairly, and not everyone’s voice has an equal chance of being heard. As instructors, we must confront the painful idea … Continue reading

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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