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    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Using Constructed Response Questions on High-Stakes Assessments in Large Classes With Limited Support
    Large lecture courses often rely heavily, and sometimes exclusively, on Multiple Choice (MC) exams to assess student learning. Constructed Response (CR) questions, in which students generate their own answers, can provide more insight into student...

    Courses: GeneticsGenetics

    assessmenttestexamLarge classconstructed responseshort answerscoring
    Lesson
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    Using Raw Sequence Data to Analyze Tumor Suppressor Mutations
    Learning to identify DNA sequence variants from raw sequencing data (electropherograms) is a basic molecular biology skill with applications to basic research and clinical practice. Yet learning to map DNA sequence variants to functional regions...
    bioinformaticsmutationDNAgenomic visualizationparts of a geneclinical consequencesraw data
    Lesson
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    Breaking It Down: What Factors Control Microbial Decomposition Rates?
    Demonstrating and modeling changes in ecosystem processes in the laboratory classroom can be logistically difficult and expensive. This complexity often leaves little time for students to generate and test hypotheses. Yet, we must foster student...
    data analysishypothesis testingdata visualizationdata managementMicrobial RespirationDecompostionAbiotic ConditionsResults Communication
    Lesson
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    Student-Generated Analogies for Learning about Information Flow
    Using analogies is a standard practice for both teaching and communicating ideas in science. Here we upend the traditional lesson, where the instructor provides a fully constructed analogy and explains it, by having the students develop a complex...
    critical thinkingcentral dogmaanalogical reasoning
    Lesson
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    An Interrupted Case Study on Urban Prairie Restoration
    Engaging students in meaningful discussions can be a challenging task for science instructors, especially in introductory courses. The story-telling approach used in case studies can increase student participation by demonstrating the relevance of...
    urban ecologyPrescribed fireEcosystem Servicesecological restorationwoody encroachmentrangeland ecology
    Lesson
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    Exploring Indigenous Viewpoints in the Undergraduate Biology Classroom: An Environmental Case Study Incorporating Hawaiian Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    Changing science education to foster greater equity and inclusion for Indigenous students will require effort from instructors and institutions. Instructors can help by including Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in their science classrooms....
    ecologycase studyenvironmentsystems thinkingTraditional ecological knowledgeindigenous knowledgehawai'idecolonizing scienceNative knowledgeFish ponds
    LessonPlus
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    Keep It Shrimple: An Adaptable Student-Driven Research Project for the Introductory Biology Laboratory
    A challenge in introductory biology laboratory courses is to provide students with authentic, engaging research opportunities that allow them to take ownership of their experiments. We present a nine-week introductory biology module that allows...
    hypothesis testingexperimental designanimal behaviorbrine shrimp
    Lesson
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    Understanding the Importance of Microtubules in Normal Cell Division: Chemotherapy Connection
    In introductory courses, students learn about microtubules as important structures but may not engage in a hands-on experience to localize microtubules themselves or to learn about their connection to cancer treatment. In this lesson, students...
    cancerCell DivisionimmunofluorescenceMicrotubulesAntibodies
    Lesson
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    Promoting Interleaved and Spaced Practice in Anatomy and Physiology Students
    Students' academic performance in college can be impacted by varying background experiences and skill levels. This article describes a lesson designed for undergraduate Anatomy and Physiology students to address the challenge instructors face...
    Anatomical Terms and DirectionInterleaved PracticeStudy StrategiesSpaced Practice
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    A Customizable Inquiry-Based Statistics Teaching Application for Introductory Biology Students
    Building strong quantitative skills prepares undergraduate biology students for successful careers in science and medicine. While math and statistics anxiety can negatively impact student learning within biology classrooms, instructors may reduce...
    introductory biologyQuantitative reasoningInclusive teachingauthentic inquiryInferential statisticsInstructional scaffolding
    Lesson
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    Marsh Madness: Using Video Games and a Case Study to Explore Food Webs and Ecosystem Services in Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve
    As the complexity and interconnectedness of our world increases, we are continually expected to be capable of complex, non-linear thinking in order to successfully tackle and solve the challenges we face in the 21st century. Tackling these...

    Courses: EcologyEcology

    food webssystems thinkingGame Based LearningEcosystem Servicessocio-ecological networks
    Lesson
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    A Momentum-First Approach to Newton’s Second Law
    Students frequently struggle with seeing the connection between forces and motion in introductory physics. This lesson is part of a combined momentum and kinematics unit that first teaches Newton’s second law as a statement of conservation...
    group workMomentumNewton's Laws
    Lesson
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    Bacteria to Brains in Backyard Coyotes: An Interdisciplinary Pedagogical Case Study
    Our interdisciplinary pedagogical case study explores the differences between rural and urban coyotes at the levels of organismal and community ecology. The focus is on how coyotes’ gut microbiomes could affect their behavior via...
    dietanimal behaviorimmune systemmicrobiomeNervous systemgut-brain axisImmunoReachdysbiosisCoyoteCytokines
    LessonPlus
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    The Power of Place: A Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience Studying Urban Ecology, Local Apple Trees and Disease Susceptibility
    Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) offered early in an undergraduate student’s career have the potential to include a greater number and diversity of students than one-on-one mentored research. CUREs that use a...

    Courses: EcologyEcology

    Disease ecologyurban ecologyUrban food forestsUrban heat islandsGenetic resistance
    Lesson
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    In-Class Workshops to Teach Introductory Biology Students about Undergraduate Research
    Decades of evidence support the premise that undergraduate research experiences are valuable endeavors for science students; however, a lack of knowledge about research and how to get involved can preclude equitable participation. We developed two...
    undergraduate research experiencesActive Learning WorkshopsResearch PreparationEquity in Research
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    SCIENCE/Fiction: Modular Template for Class Design
    We present a modular scaffold for designing an introductory seminar using speculative fiction and science papers to welcome university undergraduates to the biology major. A list of twelve possible topics is included, such as Memory, Parasites,...
    geneticscell biologyneurosciencesystems biologyScience Fiction
    Lesson
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    Where Does Elsie's Hair Color Come From? A "De-Simplified" Pedigree Lesson
    Pedigree analysis is part of most Genetics curricula, but the examples traditionally used in genetics courses present phenotypes as if they were entirely and inexorably defined by genotype. This does not reflect the current state of understanding...
    pedigreeMultifactorialphenotypic variationpenetranceexpressivityquantitative variation
    Lesson
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    Snail Races: An Inquiry-Based Approach to Learn Invasive Species Ecology
    Inquiry-based lessons allow learning that is hands-on and student-driven, fostering engagement and retention of knowledge in any discipline. Here, we use this learning framework to engage students in exploring the effects of biotic and abiotic...

    Courses: EcologyEcology

    ecologyenvironmentInvasive SpeciesScience CommunicationScientific InquiryDispersal
    Lesson
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    Quantifying Uncertainty and Distinguishing Data Sets in Introductory Physics
    Physics labs are moving increasingly to open-ended experiments where students develop experimental physics skills, rather than verify textbook physics concepts. This sequence of activities sets the stage for this new kind of lab early in the...
    statisticsMeasurementlaboratoryuncertaintypendulumexperimental skills
    Lesson
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    Cross-Course Public Health Project on Infectious Disease
    The need for collaborative, public health education has never been more important. Students increasingly require necessary skills in effectively communicating critical information to the general public and in working strategically in...

    Courses: MicrobiologyMicrobiology

    infectionpublic healthVaccinespathogenesisantibiotics