Category Archives: Engaging students

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

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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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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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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

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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 , , , , , , , , , | 14 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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One Good Clicker Tip

The end of the semester is not a great time to introduce a tip for using clickers; I am sure this post would have been more useful in January! But I can’t control when ideas for blog posts drop into … Continue reading

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