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    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Science “Fails”: A Bank of Historical Examples for Learning From Failure in Science
    Learning from failure is critically important to the processes of scientific inquiry, discovery, and invention. However, students are not routinely taught how to reflect on, learn from, and ultimately embrace failure, and relatively few curricular...
    Lesson
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    Debating Conservation: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Introductory Biology Classes
    Role-playing activities in the classroom promote students’ critical thinking, research, and communication skills. We present an activity where students debate a current controversy in conservation. In our case study, students debate the...
    Lesson
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    Film as a Powerful Tool for Increasing Awareness of the Importance of Belonging in STEM
    People of color in STEM fields can face a variety of challenges with belonging due to structural, cultural, psychological, and institutional barriers. The professional development sessions described in this lesson involved using film as well as...
    Lesson
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    Small Organisms with Big Consequences: Understanding the Microbial World Around Us
    Creating a hands-on lab that conveys important information while simultaneously allowing for student autonomy can be difficult. This is particularly true for the field of microbiology, in which labs often rely on “recipe-style”...
    Lesson
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    A Laboratory Module That Explores RNA Interference and Codon Optimization Through Fluorescence Microscopy Using Caenorhabditis elegans
    Scientific research experiences are beneficial to students allowing them to gain laboratory and problem-solving skills, as well as foundational research skills in a team-based setting. We designed a laboratory module to provide a guided research...
    Lesson
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    A Classroom Intervention to Reduce Confirmation Bias
    STEM students are often unable to recognize cognitive bias in their own disciplines, and simply describing cognitive bias to students has shown to be insufficient to improve critical thinking. However, habitual metacognitive techniques show...
    Essay
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    Online Adaptation to "Gotcha! Which fly trap is the best? An introduction to experimental data collection and analysis"
    We present here a simple and engaging experiment capitalizing on the universal need to rid our homes of fruit flies to teach experimental design and analysis. In an earlier paper, we described an experiment in which students learn the scientific...
    Essay
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    Squirreling from Afar: Adapting Squirrel-Net Modules for Remote Teaching and Learning
    The shift from face-to-face instruction to remote teaching and learning has proven to be a challenging endeavor for many reasons, including lack of time, resources, and inspiration. Lab courses, the "hands-on" portion of many curricula,...
    Lesson
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    How Many Squirrels Are in the Shrubs? A Lesson Plan for Comparing Methods for Population Estimation
    Estimating the population sizes of animals is a key skill for any student interested in ecology, conservation, or management. However, counting animals in natural habitats is difficult, and the many techniques that exist each rely on assumptions...
    Essay
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    An Introduction to the Squirrel-Net Teaching Modules
    Although course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) are gaining popularity in biology, most are designed for benchwork-based laboratory courses while few focus on field-based skills. Many barriers to implementing field CUREs exist,...

    Courses: EcologyEcology

    Lesson
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    Squirreling Around for Science: Observing Sciurid Rodents to Investigate Animal Behavior
    Hands-on research experiences are important opportunities for students to learn about the nature of inquiry and gain confidence in solving problems. Here, we present an inquiry-based lesson plan that investigates the foraging behavior of sciurid...
    Lesson
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    Using Current Events to Teach Written, Visual, and Oral Science Communication
    Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals need the skills to communicate with both technical and public audiences, but formal training in these skills is often lacking. In the nine-hour unit presented here, students...
    Lesson
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    Cutthroat trout in Colorado: A case study connecting evolution and conservation
    Evaluation of evidence is a key process skill for the core competencies of applying the process of science and using quantitative reasoning. This case study enables upper-division biology students to practice these skills by applying evolutionary...
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Adaptation and Facilitation of Small Group Activities in an Online Introductory Biology Class
    In spring 2020, the sudden mid-semester closure of my campus in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a rapid transition to emergency online learning. Consequently, I adapted the small group activities and facilitation methods of...
    Lesson
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    Unwrapping Enzyme Kinetics
    Enzyme rates and kinetics are key components used by biochemists to understand how enzymes function. However, students often find it difficult to understand how these experiments are performed and how they reflect enzyme behavior in solution. The...
    Lesson
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    From Cre/LoxP to Fate Maps: Inclusive and Equitable Approaches for Engaging Developmental Biology Students in Experimental Design
    Engaging first generation underrepresented minority students in the process of inquiry in developmental biology is important to increase diversity in future graduate STEM education. One important challenge is how we design curricula to foster...
    Lesson
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    Tying it All Together: An Activity to Help Students Connect Course Experiences to Posted Learning Outcomes
    Instructors of undergraduate courses in Biology and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines face an ongoing challenge to foster higher-order thinking and learning skills while also developing a sound conceptual...
    Lesson
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    To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate
    To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that is the question. Much of the recent trend in society against vaccination is that the general population does not understand 1) how vaccines work and 2) how one's vaccination status can influence others....
    Lesson
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    It's a bird! It's a plane! It's biomechanics!
    Biomechanics is a discipline that draws from physics and engineering principles to understand the movement and structure of living organisms. It is highly interdisciplinary in nature and can be incorporated into general biology and ecology...
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    DNA Detective: Genotype to Phenotype. A Bioinformatics Workshop for Middle School to College.
    Advances in high-throughput techniques have resulted in a rising demand for scientists with basic bioinformatics skills as well as workshops and curricula that teach students bioinformatics concepts. DNA Detective is a workshop we designed to...