Tag Archives: engaging students

“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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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

Posted in Experimental design, Laboratory activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

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

[This post was updated on 9/10/2020 to repair broken links.] 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 … Continue reading

Posted in Laboratory activities, STEM, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 138 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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