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Wicked Problems: Investigating real world problems in the biology classroom

June 18 - 23, 2018

Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA

         harvey mudd college


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Climate change. Emerging infectious diseases. Water quality. Crop production. We invite you to explore how to use wicked problems like these to engage your students in your classroom, and beyond.  Wicked problems are open-ended, complex problems without clear solutions, which involve both social and scientific challenges.  These problems are a space to add effective pedagogical approaches such as case pedagogies, and community based or place-based learning.  Wicked problems also provide a rich space to include systems thinking, interdisciplinary approaches, and quantitative skills such as data science and modeling.

Wicked problems require diverse problem solving strategies, so we encourage you to bring a colleague from another discipline who would be interested in working on wicked problems.  BioQUEST has always been an interdisciplinary group, and we welcome colleagues outside biology who are interested in working on biological problems.  We will be using the Nation Academies publication, A New Biology for the 21st Century, as a source book for identifying connections between biology and some of the world's pressing wicked problems. 

The Universal Design theme for 2018 is on the effective use of manipulatives.  With increasing access to 3D printing, the ability to support all students, but especially visually impaired students, is literally at our fingertips.  We will examine how best to use these new tools and traditional objects in a variety of disciplinary classrooms.

This workshop is appropriate for college faculty from two and four year institutions, and high school faculty teaching advanced or AP biology. Given the breadth of the topic, all biological disciplines from molecular biology to ecology will find a niche.  Faculty from other disciplines are welcome as well, and we encourage teams to apply.

BioQUEST has been offering the summer workshop experience for over 30 years.  The experience is simultaneously invigorating and exhausting and creates a strong, supportive community of innovative educators. We invite you to participate in this transformative experience and get new and exciting ideas about teaching!