The American Biology Teacher

The American Biology Teacher is a magazine focusing on Education

Articles from Vol. 74, No. 2, February

A Student Activity That Simulates Evolution
Evolution is a sensitive subject. The assault on the teaching of this central theory of biology by one state school board or another is an almost annual event. Many students are resistant to the idea of evolution on the basis of religious beliefs....
Australian History: A Long Story
Australia's history is paradoxical. It has some of the oldest rocks on earth, yet its recorded history is relatively brief, usually measured from the first British colony established at what is now the city of Sydney in 1788. Yes, the Dutch and French...
Bringing Evolution to a Technological Generation: A Case Study with the Video Game SPORE
Board games have been brought into the classroom for years (e.g., War) to help student engagement with material, and some colleges have built a reputation around using non-video games as classroom pedagogy. Barnard College Professor Mark Carnes has...
Darwin's Invention: Inheritance & the "Mad Dream" of Pangenesis
Textbooks typically share almost nothing of the history of biology beyond the occasional image, along with the birth and death dates of a few iconic scientists accompanied by brief descriptions of their discoveries. This is unfortunate. Historical...
Detecting Genetically Modified Food by PCR
Detecting Genetically Modified Food by PCR (Carolina Biological) Genetic engineering has allowed scientists to express specific genes in foods, creating desired effects such as pesticide and herbicide resistance, increased nutritional value, and...
Dobzhansky's Dictum: An Object Lesson for Critical Thinking
Perhaps the most widely cited declaration of truth in the biological sciences was published in the March 1973 issue of The American Biology Teacher. "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" was the title of an article by world-famous...
Endangered Species & Biodiversity a Classroom Project & Theme
The loss of species diversity is one of the most concerning environmental issues facing the biosphere today. The rate of species loss is so high that experts suggest we are entering the sixth mass extinction event for the planet (Pimm et al., 1995;...
Evolution as Part of the Bigger Picture
In October 2011, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Research Council gathered secondary and postsecondary faculty, representatives of private and governmental funding agencies, and leaders of academic societies for a convocation...
How We Got Here: Evolutionary Changes in Skull Shape in Humans & Their Ancestors
Although macroevolutionary processes are traditionally overlooked in introductory biology courses (Catley, 2006), they are essential for overcoming a number of misconceptions (Padian, 2010). This activity offers one way to teach students about macroevolution...
Letters to Darwin from the Future
If your biology students could write a letter to Charles Darwin, how would they critique the 1859 edition of On the Origin of Species? Darwin had extensive correspondence throughout his lifetime, seeking specimens, testing ideas, and maintaining his...
Reasoning about Natural Selection: Diagnosing Contextual Competency Using the ACORNS Instrument
Evolutionary change is a central, observable feature of the natural world. For the past 150 years, the theory of natural selection has served as the primary (but not exclusive) explanation for evolutionary change (Endler, 1986; Gould, 2002). Specifically,...
Solartaxi
Solartaxi (to be shown on PBS in spring 2012 and released as a DVD after that; a Non Square Pigs Films production, directed by Erik Schmitt; 75 minutes) Twenty-seven years ago, a Swiss schoolboy named Louis Palmer imagined a car that ran completely...
To Be Human
Who are we? The question of human nature seems to haunt all disciplines. That may tell us how very "human" the question is. Answers vary widely. Yet scientists--anthropologists, geneticists, ethologists, and developmental and evolutionary biologists--rely...
Use Human Examples to Teach Evolution
Evolution, and particularly human evolution, is a subject that generates intense interest among the American public. New findings often make the front pages of popular science magazines and the science pages of print and online news outlets. (A science...
Why Are Chimps Still Chimps?
Biology educators, whether they teach in high schools or in colleges and universities, may get a question similar to the one in our title. How should they respond? Such questions can provide excellent teaching moments. In the following pages, we provide...
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