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    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    An Interactive Protocol for In-Classroom DNA Extraction
    Using commonly available materials, this tool allows students to extract DNA, exploring DNA chemistry and the principles of experimental design and execution. We take a “Choose Your Own Adventure” approach encouraging students to...
    geneticsDNAbiochemical structure and function
    Lesson
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    Drawing “Octo-Pines”: Ice-Breaker Active-Learning Activities to Introduce Drawing-to-Learn in Biology
    Drawing has been advocated as a technique to develop visual literacy and observational skills in biology students. To increase student motivation and confidence to draw in our course, we developed an introductory active-learning lesson with a...

    Courses: EcologyEcology EvolutionEvolution

    Zoologydrawingdrawing-to-learnice breaker
    Lesson
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    My Fish Tank: An Active Learning Activity for Bacterial Nitrogen Metabolism
    This active learning activity introduces students to the second part of the nitrogen cycle, nitrification. In terrestrial and aquatic environments, bacteria from the Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter genera oxidize ammonia first to nitrite (via a...
    nitrogen cyclenitrificationnitrifying bacteria
    Essay
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    A Multi-Institutional Alternative Assessment Faculty Learning Community: Supporting Teaching in Higher Education
    Faculty learning communities (FLCs) provide opportunities for professional development for faculty, teaching staff, and educational developers in a collaborative and open environment. In this essay, we describe our experience organizing,...
    professional developmentAlternative AssessmentFaculty Learning Community
    Lesson
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    Helping Students to Metacognitively Read Scientific Literature With Talking to the Text
    Reading primary scientific literature enhances students’ understanding of material, increases their self-efficacy, and critical thinking skills. However, scientific articles often present multiple challenges to the students, the first among...
    scientific literaturereading comprehensionmetacognitionScience process skillsTalking to the TextDense Scientific Texts
    Lesson
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    Fragile States: A Case Study Exploring Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry Through the Lens of Fragile X Syndrome
    This case aims to strengthen students’ understanding of molecular biology concepts through study of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). Students begin by learning the cause and phenotypes of FXS and related conditions. Students then apply genetics...
    gene regulationtranscriptiontranslationFragile X syndrometriplet repeat expansionsex linkagemetabolic pathway
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Enhancing the Microscopy Skills of Non-Science Majors and Nursing Microbiology Students: Promoting the Practice of Observing Multiple Fields of View Using Blood Smear Slides
    One of the challenges in teaching microscopy is having students scan multiple fields of view at high power magnification. Many times, students will feel this unnecessary, especially when presented with slides that show only one structure or a...
    Microscopy SkillsBlood SmearsBlood Disorders
    Lesson
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    Teaching the Photoelectric Effect Using an Open-Source Interactive Simulation
    The photoelectric effect is one of the fundamental experiments that established the basis of quantum mechanics. Students studying this experiment in modern physics courses struggle to understand what it actually measured and why it is significant....
    photoelectric effectquantum mechanicsquantalight-matter interactions
    Lesson
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    Why Do I Need a Lab Notebook? Teaching Responsible Conduct of Research with CURE Lab Notebooks
    There are few instructional tools about data acquisition and management available for undergraduate students. I created this lesson as a Fellow of the Ethics Network for Course-Based Opportunities in Undergraduate Research (ENCOUR) to fill this...
    lab notebookresponsible conduct of researchdata acquisition/ management
    Lesson
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    Population Ecology of the Northern Spotted Owl
    The mathematical modeling of populations utilizing field-collected demographic data is an important component of lab curricula in a variety of undergraduate biology lab courses. During the global pandemic brought about by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in...
    demographyCommunity Ecologypopulation ecologyconservation biologylife tables
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    The Flight Physics Concept Inventory: Reliably Evaluating Aerodynamic Lift, Drag and Associated (Naïve) Concepts of Flight in Class and In-Game
    Students often struggle to transfer conceptual understanding from isolated instruction to a coherent mental model. This is especially true for the context of flight physics, fluid dynamics, or the concepts of aerodynamic lift, drag, stall, center...
    active learninggamificationmisconceptionsaerodynamicsfluid dynamicsResearch-based assessment instrumentConceptual SurveyPRE-/POST-test
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Walkabout: An Easy to Use, Experiential Learning Activity for Applying Abstract Concepts to the Real-World
    Students can have difficulty recognizing examples of course concepts in the real-world. They particularly struggle with phenomena that are ambiguously defined, have mimics, or are hard to distinguish from other phenomena. Students can better...
    data gatheringgreen technologyobservations
    Lesson
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    Central Dogma, Dictionaries, and Functions: Using Programming Concepts to Simulate Biological Processes
    Technologies like next-generation sequencing, proteomics, and high-throughput phenotyping have transformed the way we do biology. There is a continued need for scientists with computational skills to analyze biological data while understanding the...

    Courses: BioinformaticsBioinformatics

    computationpythonJupyter notebookFunctionscentral dogmaDictionaries
    Teaching Tools and Strategies
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    Facilitating Scientific Literacy Through Writing: A Write-to-Learn Assignment for Large Introductory Undergraduate Biology Courses
    Write-to-learn (WTL) assignments have been used in a variety of disciplines to encourage conceptual learning and critical thinking in undergraduate education. These assignments focus on facilitating rather than assessing learning. Conversely,...
    geneticsEvolutionecologyCellsPlants form and functionAnimals form and function
    Lesson
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    Learning How to Make “Good Enough” Estimations
    The ability to estimate physical quantities is a useful skill that can help develop critical thinking and scientific literacy. This lesson provides an accessible way to teach students how to estimate physical quantities by focusing on three key...
    MeasurementestimationcommunicationProblem Solvinggroup workUnit conversion
    Lesson
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    Fatty Acid Induction of Lipid Droplets in Cancer Cells
    There is a growing need for the development and communication of cell culture-based laboratory activities specifically designed for undergraduate students. This multi-week laboratory activity allows students to take part in the planning,...
    Course based undergraduate researchCell ImagingLive Cell Staining
    Lesson
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    Simulating Cortical Rotation, Axis Induction, and Experimental Embryology in Amphibian Embryos Using Clay Models
    The study of development requires learners to understand spatially complex concepts like embryo anatomy. Embryo anatomy is dynamic over time, and it is often manipulated by researchers in experiments that are fundamental to the field. This spatial...
    developmentXenopusfertilizationEmbryologyinductionSymmetry breakingOrganizerCortical rotationPatterning
    Lesson
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    The Developmental Origins of Mythology: A Pandemic-Inspired Innovative Developmental Biology Laboratory Exercise
    From an experiential, hands-on perspective, the Developmental Biology Laboratory is easily amenable to a wide range of undergraduate-friendly experiments. Thus, pivoting to a virtual laboratory during the COVID-19 pandemic required significant...
    gastrulationaxis formationlimb developmentchimeramidline
    Lesson
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    Using Collaborative Projects to Promote Active Learning of Microbial Skin Diseases and Their Impact on Everyday Lives
    One of the most daunting aspects of introductory clinical microbiology is learning details about a vast number of different microbial diseases that can infect humans. Each of these diseases has different causative agents, diagnostic procedures,...

    Courses: MicrobiologyMicrobiology

    infectious diseasecollaborationpathogenesisTreatment of diseasesReal-life Microbiology
    Lesson
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    Defining and Understanding Pathogenic Disease: An Engaging Activity that Connects Students' Lived Experiences with their Academic Studies
    Contagious diseases are unavoidable realities of life. Thus, understanding pathogens and their respective diseases is important in many biological subfields including evolution, ecology, health sciences, microbiology, and others. While all college...
    infectious diseasePathogenspathogenic disease