The American Biology Teacher

The American Biology Teacher is a magazine focusing on Education

Articles from Vol. 74, No. 7, September

A Brief Introduction to the History of Ecology
* First, Is Ecology a Science? Insofar as ecology describes, classifies, hypothesizes, and tests hypotheses, it fits the classical mode of science as exemplified by physics and chemistry. However, because ecology extends to human interactions, including...
A Comedy of Scientific Errors
William Shakespeare may well have foreshadowed the modern television sitcom. His comic misadventures were expertly crafted. In A Comedy of Errors, for example, twins (with twin servants), each separated at birth, converge unbeknownst to each other...
Acorn Caching in Tree Squirrels: Teaching Hypothesis Testing in the Park
Developing effective exercises for ecology courses is challenging, given time and fiscal constraints and scarcity of nearby habitats. Ideally, exercises would develop critical-thinking skills by introducing students to a scientific topic through hypothesis...
Awesome Snake Science! 40 Activities for Learning about Snakes
Awesome Snake Science! 40 Activities for Learning about Snakes. By Cindy Blobaum. 2012. Chicago Review Press. (ISBN 9781569768075). 130 pp. Paperback. $14.95. Awesome Snake Science is an appropriate name for this book. Author Cindy Blobaum uses...
Can We Teach Proactive Turtle Conservation in Our Classrooms?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Teachers get so caught up in all the mundane activities of dealing with the preparation of lesson plans, state subject standards, parent contacts, paperwork, after-school functions, and many other things that they forget that...
Can You Build It? Using Manipulatives to Assess Student Understanding of Food-Web Concepts
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) include the concept that "Energy flows through ecosystems in one direction, from photosynthetic organisms to herbivores to carnivores and decomposers"...
Clay Caterpillars: A Tool for Ecology & Evolution Laboratories
Ecological and evolutionary processes determine the patterns and organization of communities of organisms around us. Yet these processes can be challenging to explore in a classroom setting because they often take place within large spatial and long...
Data Explorations in Ecology: Salt Pollution as a Case Study for Teaching Data Literacy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] We all know that students enjoy doing hands-on experiments, going outside to collect data, and working in small groups to answer a scientific question. There is also a lot of research to support doing just that--with benefits...
Development of a Water-Quality Lab That Enhances Learning & Connects Students to the Land
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Recent calls for change in undergraduate biology education have encouraged the development of curricula that focus on connecting science learning to real-world challenges (AAAS, 2009). The goal of such curricula would be not...
Discipline-Based Education Research: A Scientist's Guide
Discipline-Based Education Research: A Scientist's Guide. By Stephanie J. Slater, Timothy F Slater, and Janelle M. Bailey 2010. WH. Freeman. (ISBN 9781429265867). 100 pp. Hardback. $34.79. I need to start this review by stating this fact: WHAT A...
Introducing Environmental Toxicology in Instructional Labs: The Use of a Modified Amphibian Developmental Toxicity Assay to Support Inquiry-Based Student Projects
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A current focus of instructional biology labs is to transition from traditional labs to inquiry-based formats that model the scientific process in which students formulate hypotheses, perform experiments, and analyze data....
I Walk the Line: A Popular Termite Activity Revisited
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In the years since the most recent review of the use of insects as teaching organisms (Matthews et al., 1997), many additional insect species and systems have migrated from the research laboratory to the classroom. Without...
Making Connections
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Off hand, I am not sure I can think of a more diverse biological discipline than ecology, or at least one that encompasses the study of so many variables interacting in so many different ways. Because it is the study of organisms...
Morphogenesis of the Terrarium
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Building terrariums is a hobby and a passion for many biologists. Niko Tinbergen's accidental discovery of the fixed action pattern of the three-spined stickleback fish is a classic example of how keeping captive organisms...
Promoting 21st-Century Skills in the Science Classroom by Adapting Cookbook Lab Activities: The Case of DNA Extraction of Wheat Germ
Helping students engage in inquiry-based classroom laboratory activities can be a daunting task for many secondary science teachers. It is not uncommon to hear myriad reasons why inquiry-based instruction is difficult to enact in the classroom, ranging...
Taste the Waste
Taste the Waste (DVD, 2010, 55 minutes: Thurn Films, Germany; http://www.tastethe waste.com; dvd@schnittstelle-koeln.de; $85) What an exciting time to be teaching biology, ecology, or environmental sciences! It feels (to this bio teacher) like we...
Testing Honey Bees' Avoidance of Predators
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Bees are important to our environment because they pollinate plants and help maintain a healthy ecosystem. Many people do not know, however, that approximately one-third of the food we eat is pollinated by animals (Klein et...
The Biltmore Forest School: Poking Back into an Extraordinary Time
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Julian Weatherbee was my grandfather on my mother's side. When he died in the mid-1970s, I inherited his old roll-top desk (Figure 1), hand crafted to his specifications when he was a forester in the state of Washington. It...
Using Biological-Control Research in the Classroom to Promote Scientific Inquiry & Literacy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Biological control is a well-established field of applied ecology in which pest species are managed through the use of predators, parasites, pathogens, herbivores, or other natural mechanisms. Scientists who research biological...
Using Scientific Inquiry to Teach Students about Water Quality
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Inquiry is a process of interaction between teacher and students whereby the teacher engages students in generating questions and pursuing answers through careful observation and reflection (Llewellyn, 2004). The inquiry cycle...