Evolution: Education and Outreach

http://link.springer.com/journal/12052

List of Papers (Total 399)

Teleological reasoning, not acceptance of evolution, impacts students’ ability to learn natural selection

Background How acceptance of evolution relates to understanding of evolution remains controversial despite decades of research. It even remains unclear whether cultural/attitudinal factors or cognitive factors have a greater impact on student ability to learn evolutionary biology. This study examined the influence of cultural/attitudinal factors (religiosity, acceptance of ...

Evolutionary thinking among biology students in a third world country

Background Evolutionary thinking is traditionally directly related to education and inversely to religiosity. Accordingly, biology students are naturally expected to be more prone to naturalist evolution due to their close contact with this theory and high scientific literacy. To test this, we performed a cross-national study surveying biology students’ evolutionary opinions in ...

A multifactorial analysis of acceptance of evolution

Background Despite decades of education reform efforts, the percent of the general US population accepting biological evolution as the explanation for the diversity of life has remained relatively unchanged over the past 35 years. Previous work has shown the importance of both educational and non-educational (sociodemographic and psychological) factors on acceptance of evolution, ...

A state-by-state comparison of middle school science standards on evolution in the United States

The focus of this study is a state-by-state comparison of middle school science standards on evolution in the United States. In 2009, Louise Mead and Anton Mates reviewed the high school science standards on evolution, giving each state a grade based on multiple factors including the number of times the word “evolution” is mentioned, the types of evolution covered, and the ...

Testing the effectiveness of two natural selection simulations in the context of a large-enrollment undergraduate laboratory class

Background Simulations can be an active and engaging way for students to learn about natural selection, and many have been developed, including both physical and virtual simulations. In this study we assessed the student experience of, and learning from, two natural selection simulations, one physical and one virtual, in a large enrollment introductory biology lab course. We ...

Climate change, collections and the classroom: using big data to tackle big problems

Preparing students to explore, understand, and resolve societal challenges such as global climate change is an important task for evolutionary and ecological biologists that will require novel and innovative pedagogical approaches. Recent calls to reform undergraduate science education emphasize the importance of engaging students in inquiry-driven, active, and authentic learning ...

Rate variation during molecular evolution: creationism and the cytochrome c molecular clock

Molecular clocks based upon amino acid sequences in proteins have played a major role in the clarification of evolutionary phylogenies. Creationist criticisms of these methods sometimes rely upon data that might initially seem to be paradoxical. For example, human cytochrome c differs from that of an alligator by 13 amino acids but differs by 14 amino acids from a much more closely ...

The chasmed gene

Mukherjee, S. The Gene: An intimate history.Scribner, NY.594 pages; ISBN: 978-1-4767-330-0; Price: $20.00.

Exploring the influence of plant and animal item contexts on student response patterns to natural selection multiple choice items

Background Research has shown that students have a variety of ideas about natural selection that may be context dependent. Prior analyses of student responses to open-ended evolution items have demonstrated that students apply more core ideas about natural selection when asked about animals, but respond with the same number of naive ideas for plant and animal items. Other research ...

Mammalian organogenesis in deep time: tools for teaching and outreach

Mammals constitute a rich subject of study on evolution and development and provide model organisms for experimental investigations. They can serve to illustrate how ontogeny and phylogeny can be studied together and how the reconstruction of ancestors of our own evolutionary lineage can be approached. Likewise, mammals can be used to promote 'tree thinking' and can provide an ...

An Avida-ED digital evolution curriculum for undergraduate biology

We present an inquiry-based curriculum based on the digital evolution platform Avida-ED (http://​avida-ed.​msu.​edu). We designed an instructional sequence and lab book consisting of an introduction to Avida-ED and a set of three lessons focused on specific evolutionary concepts. These served to familiarize students with experimental evolution and Avida-ED. Students then developed ...

Acceptance of evolution as one of the factors structuring the conceptual ecology of the evolution theory of Greek secondary school teachers

Background The work is part of a wider research project wherein we are trying to further explore the conceptual ecology of evolutionary theory of present and prospective teachers in Greece. Methods Quantitative and qualitative research was applied. In the former a questionnaire was answered by 318 secondary school teachers who teach biology. We further interviewed eight of the ...

Observing populations and testing predictions about genetic drift in a computer simulation improves college students’ conceptual understanding

Background Evolution is a difficult subject for students, with well-documented confusion about natural selection, tree thinking, and genetic drift among other topics. Here we investigate the effect of a simulation-based module about the conservation of black-footed ferrets, a module designed with pedagogical approaches that have been demonstrated to be effective, for teaching ...

A naturalists guide to mobile genetic elements

Mobile DNA III, edited by Nancy L. Craig, Michael Chandler, Martin Gellert, Alan M. Lambowitz, Phoebe A. Rice, and Suzanne B. Sandmeyer. Washington: American Society of Microbiology Press, 2015. Pp xxiv + 1305. H/b $160.00

A valid assessment of students’ skill in determining relationships on evolutionary trees

Background Evolutionary trees illustrate relationships among taxa. Interpreting these relationships requires developing a set of “tree-thinking” skills that are typically included in introductory college biology courses. One of these skills is determining relationships among taxa using the most recent common ancestor, yet many students instead use one or more alternate strategies ...

An exploration of instructor perceptions of community college students’ attitudes towards evolution

Background Faculty perception of student knowledge and acceptance of subject matter affects the choice of what to teach and how to teach it. Accurate assessment of student acceptance of evolution, then, is relevant to how the subject should be taught. To explore the accuracy of such assessment, we compared how community college instructors of life sciences courses perceive ...

Student construction of phylogenetic trees in an introductory biology course

Background Phylogenetic trees have become increasingly essential across biology disciplines. Consequently, learning about phylogenetic trees has become an important component of biology education and an area of interest for biology education research. Construction tasks, in which students generate phylogenetic trees from some type of data, are often used for instruction. However, ...

Questions about NeoDarwinism: a review of two books

Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist NeoDarwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, by Thomas Nagel. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. x + 130. ISBN 978-0-19-991975-8. Hb, $24.95. Are You an Illusion?, by Mary Midgley. New York, NY: Routledge. 2014. Pp. viii + 167. ISBN 978-1-84465-792-6. Pb, $23.95

A deeper confusion

The Deeper Genome: Why there is more to the human genome than meets the eye, edited by John Parrington, (Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press), 2015. pp. xx + 272. ISBN:978-0-19-968873-9. H/c $22.61. Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome, edited by Nessa Carey, (New York, United States: Columbia University Press), 2015. pp. xx + 360 + 61 b&w ...

Influencing highly religious undergraduate perceptions of evolution: Mormons as a case study

Background Students frequently hold an incorrect view of evolution. There are several potential barriers that prevent religious students, specifically, from engaging evolutionary theory in the classroom. This study focuses on two hypothesized barriers on learning evolutionary theory in a highly religious model population, specifically members of The Church of Jesus Christ of ...

Telescopes on the past: robots as models of extinct animals

Darwin’s Devices. What Evolving Robots Can Teach us About the History of Life and the Future of Technology, by John Long. New York: Basic Books, 2012. pp. 273. H/b $ 26.99 US, $30.00 CAN.

Darkness and the dawn?

Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution, edited by Karl S. Rosengren, Sarah Brem, E. Margaret Evans, and Gale Sinatra, (New York, NY: Oxford University Press), 2012.

Engaging students in paleontology: the design and implementation of an undergraduate-level blended course in Panama

Despite the fact that Latin-American countries present ideal environments to train young scientists, most of these countries lack local scientific capacity. Here I describe the design and implementation of an undergraduate-level blended course on paleontology. The course was taught in 2012 to 10 biology majors from the University of Panama and it had three main foci: (1) a design ...