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Meiosis: A Play in Three Acts, Starring DNA Sequence

Meiosis is well known for being a sticky topic that appears repeatedly in biology curricula. We observe that a typical undergraduate biology major cannot correctly identify haploid and diploid cells or explain how and why chromosomes pair before segregation. We published an interactive modeling lesson with socks to represent chromosomes and demonstrated that it could improve student understanding of ploidy (1). Here we present an improvement on that lesson, using DNA paper strips in place of socks to better demonstrate how and why crossing over facilitates proper segregation. During the lesson, student volunteers act out the roles of chromosomes while the whole class discusses key aspects of the steps. Strips of paper with DNA sequences are used to demonstrate the degrees of similarity between sister chromatids and homologous chromosomes and to prompt students to realize how and why homologous pairing must occur before cell division. We include an activity on Holliday Junctions that can be used during the main lesson, skipped, or taught as a stand-alone lesson.

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How Do Kidneys Make Urine From Blood? Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches to Filtration, Secretion, Reabsorption, and Excretion

The function of the kidneys is to help maintain a constant internal environment (homeostasis) by regulating the volume and chemical composition of the blood. This regulation occurs via three fundamental processes: filtration, secretion, and reabsorption. Because these three processes all concern transfers between the blood and the pre-urine, inexperienced biology students frequently confuse them with each other and with the related process of excretion. Such confusion impairs understanding of the kidney’s regulatory functions. For instance, the effects of H+ secretion and HCO3- reabsorption on plasma pH can only be predicted if one knows that secretion entails removal from the blood while reabsorption entails addition to the blood. The enclosed three-part lesson teaches these processes through the use of multiple related examples with clinical relevance. In Module A (“Simple Math”), students define the direction of transfer (blood to pre-urine or pre-urine to blood) for each process, create a simple equation to show how excretion rate depends on these three processes, and solve the equation for missing values. In Module B (“Simple Graphs”), students show qualitatively how the three processes affect the composition of the pre-urine and (by implication) the blood. In Module C (“GFR”), students examine the relationship between glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and plasma levels of solutes like creatinine. By presenting multiple related examples embedded in the framework of Test Question Templates (TQTs), this lesson promotes a solid understanding of filtration, secretion, reabsorption, and excretion that can be applied to any naturally occurring substance or drug.

Primary image: Four urinary system processes. This image visually summarizes the four processes covered in this lesson: filtration, secretion, reabsorption, and excretion.

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UDL Mapping Activity

This activity guides faculty through analyzing a resource using the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines.

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Katie M. Sandlin onto UDL

Introduction to the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines

Two activities for introducing Universal Design for Learning to a faculty audience

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Katie M. Sandlin onto UDL

Inclusive teaching strategies

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Pat Marsteller onto Inclusive Teaching Inventories

Working within a QUBES group

Basics

Interacting and sharing within a group

Sharing your group's work with the QUBES community

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Suann Yang onto Using QUBES

Resources for Learning About the UDL Framework

This document is a short overview of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – what it is and how it works – along with useful resources.

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Getting Started with Universal Design for Learning

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Hasley, A. O., Orndorf, H. (2022). Getting Started with Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/8EC1-V892

This trio of documents is written for faculty who want to get started with Universal Design for Learning (UDL):

Introduction to the Universal Design for Learning Guidelines
UDL Mapping Activity
Applying UDL to Existing Materials

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Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses

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Fink L. D. (2003). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.  

This book  is insightful as it offers a new taxonomy of significant learning goals that instructors can set for their course using integrated course design. Examples of the three parts of learning - significant, active and educative are integrated into authentic assessments as examples of how to create impactful outcomes such as (value and lasting change)
 

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Suann Yang onto Backward Design

The College Science Learning Cycle: An Instructional Model for Reformed Teaching

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Withers M. The College Science Learning Cycle: An instructional model for reformed teaching. CBE Life Sci Educ. 15(4): 1-12.

The College Science Learning Cycle is a curriculum design process rooted in backwards design. This paper describes practical steps to revise existing curriculum based on best practices in scientific teaching and provides examples of implementation.
 

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The Problem of Revealing How Students Think: Concept Inventories and Beyond

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Smith JI and Tanner K. The problem of revealing how students think: concept inventories and beyond. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2010;9:1–5.  

An alternative approach to transforming our novice undergraduates into expert biological scientist thinkers with tools that can aid in revealing student thinking and in analyzing what we can do to support or hinder scientific literacy. 

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Understanding by Design: A Framework for Effecting Curricular Development and Assessment

Roth, D. Understanding by Design: A framework for effecting curricular development and assessment. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2017; 6:2, 95-97. 

This is a popular design model in K-12 instructional setting dividing instructional planning into three phases.The main idea is to  essentially place the “horse” of alignment of outcomes and assessment back in front of the “cart” of instructional design. It helps align some of the major misconceptions of how understanding differs from knowledge and how we know when students have attained that mastery or competency of the desired goal. 
 

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From Biology to Mathematical Models and Back: Teaching Modeling to Biology Students, and Biology to Math and Engineering Students

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Chiel HJ, McManus JM, Shaw KM. From biology to mathematical models and back: teaching modeling to biology students, and biology to math and engineering students. CBE Life Sci Educ. 2010;9:248–265.  

Examples of courses that teach mathematical analysis or modeling skills to biology students with an interest in articulating clear educational goals based on a constructivist approach is central to this paper. Reconstructing and introducing assessments that are tightly tied to educational goals with an emphasis on assessing student progress based on their ability to analyze new data is an important barrier in measuring for continuous progress.

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How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school

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Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.). (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Research Council. Backward Design for Forward Action.

A description of some key areas that are relevant to a deeper understanding of a student's learning experience: learning as an active process, adaptive experience of learning, learning for understanding, and role of prior knowledge. A summary of research findings on the physiological and cultural influences on student learning is described.

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Sample DEI Statement by Derek Braun

This sample DEI Statement is written by Derek Braun, Professor at Gallaudet University and BioGraphI Steering Committee member. He includes this statement in his syllabi.

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Sample DEI Statements (The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Brown University)

This resource from Brown University's Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning begins with guiding questions to ask yourself before crafting a DEI statement. Sample statements follow the questions.

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Creating an inclusive syllabus

This resource from the Center for Teaching Excellence at University of Kansas is a useful tool for creating an inclusive syllabus. It includes a sample DEI statement near the end of the page.

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Knowing your own: A classroom case study using the scientific method to investigate how birds learn to recognize their offspring

A useful in-class activity to learn about the scientific method and predictive data visualization

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Charles Willis onto BIOL 1001 Lessons

Samples of diversity statements and how to write them

This website also includes background information on the beneficial reasons for including diversity statements in our syllabi.

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Samples of diversity and inclusion syllabus statements

This set of samples was compiled by Clemson's Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation.

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement of the RCN for Evolution in Changing Seas

This example is from a network of marine biologists.

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UC San Diego Principles of Community

This example from UC San Diego is intended to apply to all groups of people in all positions at the institution. You can use your institution's statement as a starting point for your own, describing how your commitments and actions contribute to or build upon that of your institution.

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