Tag Archives: engaging students

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

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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

Posted in Instructional technology, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 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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The “Checks”/”Emails” lab: a good start to the semester

We just finished our first week of classes at the University of Oklahoma, and my nonmajors students trooped dutifully into lab on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. To get them talking to each other, one of the icebreaker activities we have done … Continue reading

Posted in Laboratory activities, STEM, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

“Surprisingly Awesome” podcasts

What do broccoli, pigeons, frequent flyer miles, and mattresses have in common? They are all subjects of “Surprisingly Awesome” podcasts. I just listened to the one on broccoli, and I was really impressed. I love resources that help students see … Continue reading

Posted in Engaging students, Evolution, Podcast, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Return of the “Clever Cockroaches”

Longtime followers of my blog may remember that nearly two years ago I wrote a post about the misrepresentation of natural selection and evolution in headlines and news stories. In the study that prompted the post, researchers found that coating … Continue reading

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Epigenetics: Two Great Resources

If you’re like me, you have been hearing a lot about epigenetics lately. I hope you don’t want me to define that term, because biologists don’t agree on what exactly it means. It is enough to say that epigenetics is the … Continue reading

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Good Teaching, Italian Style

Good teaching comes in many forms. Most of the time, I focus on good biology teaching, but on a recent trip to Italy I got to expand my horizons. In May, three colleagues and I were faculty leaders for a … Continue reading

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Drawing to Learn

You might have heard of Writing to Learn, but what about Drawing to Learn? Kim Quillin and Stephen Thomas recently published an article in CBE–Life Science Education that promotes the use of drawings to help students learn biology (especially “model-based … Continue reading

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An Excellent Lecture? Yes, It Can Be Done!

In my last blog post, I mentioned I’d be using the COPUS protocol in my classroom observations this semester. I am still impressed by how easy it is to use the spreadsheet, which has enabled me to focus on the … Continue reading

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