Tag Archives: introductory biology

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

Attend the best conference for people who teach biology labs … for free!

This is a good time to direct your attention to my favorite professional organization: The Association for Biology Laboratory Education, or ABLE. I raved about ABLE in a previous post, and I won’t repeat my praise here. I just wanted … Continue reading

Posted in Academic conferences, Laboratory activities | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Flashcards, but with a Twist

I have had a fondness for index cards for quite a few years, if my 2012 series on the subject is any indication (for a flashback, visit part 1, part 2, and part 3). Flashcards are of course a tried … Continue reading

Posted in Active learning, Learning at home, Study skills | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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 , , , , , , , , , | 67 Comments

What Are the Best Ways to Study?

When I first started teaching, I could not understand why some bright, motivated students struggled in my class. Once I discovered the true problem — awful study skills — I became something of a study skills evangelist. Once a week … Continue reading

Posted in Study skills | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

If you don’t know ABLE yet, you should

I just got back from the 2016 conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE). If you teach biology labs at any level, you really should check it out. It’s hands-down my favorite meeting of the year because it’s about … Continue reading

Posted in Academic conferences, Experimental design, Laboratory activities, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Recognizing purposeful evolution: A treasure trove of prompts

  I was recently cleaning out my teaching lab and found a stash of index cards with test items from the early 1950s. As I was trying to decide whether to keep them or toss them in the recycling bin, … Continue reading

Posted in Assessment, Evolution, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 10 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