Category Archives: Engaging students

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

Posted in Active learning, Collaboration, Engaging students, Equity and inclusion, Instructional technology, Teaching | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Assignments, Collaboration, Engaging students, Laboratory activities, Science in art | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Engaging students, Equity and inclusion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Chemistry, Ecology, Engaging students | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Active learning, Engaging students, Instructional technology, Online teaching, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Engaging students, Equity and inclusion, Mindset, STEM, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Engaging students, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Engaging students, Equity and inclusion, Online teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Assignments, Engaging students, genetics, Teaching, Videos | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“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

Posted in Assignments, Engaging students, Learning at home, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment