Short Presentations

Short Presentation

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Evolution in Action Ecology and Earth Systems Dynamics
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Structure and Function

Click here for a description of the topics

This session format is designed for presentations that enhance understanding of key concepts, or project activities that feature effective ideas and approaches. Presentations are 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes of Q&A.

The schedule below is tentative, changes may occur before it is finalized.

Tentative Short Presentation Schedule

Friday Short Presentations

Room 83 Room 155 Room 62
10:00 AM Technology and the Textbook: Adding Interactivity to Improve Understanding
Protecting Populations: Emphasizing the Importance of Mathematical Modeling in Undergraduate Ecology
Engineering and Nature
10:45 AM Understanding the Redesigned AP Biology Course and its Impact on high school biology and undergraduate science courses
Using Technology to Connect Students and Scientific Data
Data Nuggets: Unearthing Inquiry Skills
1:15 PM Campus Trees Project: Using Phenology to Engage Students in the Process of Science
Is that a career?? Inspiring the next generation with multimedia conservation biology role models
Share Fair Roundtables
2:00 PM NEON Education: Building capacity for engaging students and society with ecological data
Using Inexpensive Webcams for Time-Lapse Imaging & Video Analysis in the Biology Classroom
LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library
3:00 PM Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) at Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Next Generation Science Standards and Biology Instruction
Pollinator Collecting for the Lab and Classroom
3:45 PM The Open Science Approach: A transferable Field School Model for Problem-Based Learning
Learning Styles and Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Teaching of Critical Thinking in Human Biology
Share Fair Roundtables

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Saturday Short Presentations

Room 83 Room 155 Room 62
10:00 AM Biological Dilemmas: Improving argumentation skills with writing-to-learn activities on socio-scientific issues
Ecological Forecasting (EcoCasing) – Using Computer Models to Teach Ecology Concepts
The making of an online campus flora: college students joining the FoRC (Flora of Rutgers Campus)

10:45 AM Using digital image analysis to integrate mathematics and computer into inquiry laboratories
Using Wikispaces for collaborative content creation in a non-major’s Biology lab
Share Fair Roundtables
1:15 PM Case It: Molecular Biology Computer Simulations for Case-Based Learning
What’s in Your Investigation Toolkit? Digital Resources for Personalize, Anytime Science Learning
Where Goes the Climate, so Goes the Ecosystem
2:00 PM The impact of technology integrated curriculum on student knowledge and attitudes about global climate chagne
Function of the plant cell wall: use of Arabidopsis thalianaas a teaching tool in the plant anatomy laboratory
Share Fair Roundtables
3:00 PM Connecting high school students to authentic research projects and practicing scientists
Lessons from the “Bioenergy Farm”: A Computer Game to Explore Land Management Complexities
LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library: Science Pipes
3:45 PM Discovering solutions from the tree of life: using biomimicry to teach evolution and expore databases
Beyond concept maps: System models as a tool for simplifying complexity in undergraduate biology
Bioblitz! Connecting urban schools to science and technology through research-based learning

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Abstracts and Descriptions

Technology and the Textbook: Adding Interactivity to Improve Understanding

Friday, March 15, 2013: 10:00 AM – 10:40 AM, Room 83.

Authors:

Alison Perkins, School of Journalism/Montana PBS;

Emiko Paul, Roberts & Co. Publishers;

Doug Emlen, University of Montana;

Carl Zimmer, Science Writer

Abstract:

The Evolution: Making Sense of Life e-book application builds on the engaging, narrative style of the textbook by adding interactivity to make formative and summative assessment available to the learner, giving the learner more control of their own learning experience.

Description:

This presentation will introduce participants to the Evolution: Making Sense of Life e-book application, its structural design, its functionality, and its content with the goal of improving its functionality and its use in the classroom. The application incorporates both formative and summative assessments, but stand-alone textbooks, even technologically advanced e-textbooks, have their limitations. The key to engaging learners is to positively improve their learning experience, and we hope to encourage meaningful discussions about the use of this technology in majors level biology courses. Because this e-book application is a hands-on, learner-centered experience, presentation participants will be introduced to the various levels of assessment currently available in the e-book. Pre-assessment questions permit learners to self-assess their understanding of concepts important to the upcoming narrative. Formative assessment can be found throughout the chapter, including comprehension of important data presented in figures and graphs. The summative assessment questions include both multiple choice and written answer formats designed to assess conceptual understanding of the chapter. The primary objective for the presentation will be to introduce participants to the e-book and its current assessment capabilities. Participants should be instructors and other interested individuals considering adopting e-books as tools to enhance learning opportunities. The Evolution: Making Sense of Life e-book application is an incredible resource that potentially can bring flipped classrooms to the majors level. The narrative approach and interactivity allow the student to read and test their comprehension at home, allowing the classroom to be the source of understanding for complex problem solving. We hope this presentation will generate ample discussion for future directions for this kind of application. Participants should bring an iPad.

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Protecting Populations: Emphasizing the Importance of Mathematical Modeling in Undergraduate Ecology

Friday, March 15, 2013: 10:00 AM – 10:40 AM, Room 155.

Authors:

Kristin McCully, University of California, Santa Cruz Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology;
Doris Ash, University of California, Santa Cruz Department of Education

Abstract:

Undergraduate biology programs seldom provide adequate mathematical skills to understand biological phenomena and contribute to scientific inquiry. We present a computer inquiry module that uses research literature to introduce structured population models and their conservation applications to upper-division ecology courses.

Description:

Both the biology research and education communities generally agree that undergraduate biology curricula do not provide students adequate training in the quantitative skills they need to obtain a deep understanding of biological phenomena and to contribute effectively to future scientific inquiry. To help address those needs, we present a computer inquiry module using ecology research literature to introduce structured population (matrix) models, one of the most commonly-used types of ecological models. After an interactive lecture introducing the concepts and mechanics of structured population models, students read published research papers that apply structured population models to specific populations and conservation questions, work through the specific models in groups on computers using the Microsoft Excel add-on PopTools, and present the model with their own research question to the class. The lesson plan and accompanying materials are available at: http://scwibles.ucsc.edu/SCWIBLESProducts.html.

In an upper-division ecology course at a research university, students demonstrated that they accomplished the objectives of the module to be able to use matrix models to project how management actions may impact a population and to understand why models are important in ecology and wildlife management. In pre-module and post-module surveys, a final exam, and interviews, students showed significant increases in structured population modeling skills, such as interpreting transition matrices and population projection graphs, and were able to identify which life stages and vital rates on which managers should focus resources. Although students recognized how important mathematics is to ecology and conservation biology, very few students said they liked math and enjoyed coursework that includes math. However, students commented that they enjoyed this module because they chose the organism to study, analyzed the model themselves using a computer program, and developed their own research question.

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Engineering and Nature

Friday, March 15, 2013: 10:00 AM – 10:40 AM, Room 62.

Authors:

Britt Forsberg, Bell Museum of Natural History

Abstract:

Participants will take part in engineering challenges to bring back to their classrooms. We will solve engineering problems found in nature, observe how plants and animals respond to these pressures, and see how humans use nature’s ingenuity in our own designs.

Description:

Participants attending this presentation will leave with strategies and activities that integrate math, natural science, engineering, and technology in their classrooms. They will compare plant and animal designs with human projects and see the engineering process in action in nature. All the activities are appropriate for upper elementary students. Minnesota 5th grade Life Science and 6th grade Nature of Science and Engineering standards will be addressed.

Engineering and nature can be thought of in 3 ways:

  1. Animals as engineers. Many animals build their own homes that include components like protection from predators, the ability to withstand wind or other weather conditions, or ventilation in hot climates.
  2. Natural selection and adaptations as the engineering design process. Plants and animals face many environmental challenges and have adaptations to help them survive. When an animal or plant is well adapted to its environment it is more likely to pass its genes to the next generation. If a trait is not helpful in the environment or the environment changes, that individual may not live to reproduce.
  3. Biomimicry. Although the meaning and applications of biomimicry can be controversial, there are many examples of how natural solutions can be used to solve human challenges.

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Understanding the Redesigned AP Biology Course and its Impact on high school biology and undergraduate science courses

Friday, March 15, 2013: 10:45 AM – 11:25 AM, Room 83.

Authors:

Brad Williamson, The University of Kansas

Abstract:

An overview of the changes to the redesigned AP Biology course, labs and exam will be provided. The reasoning for the redesign as well as its impact on high school biology and undergraduate science courses will be discussed.

Description:

The Advanced Placement Program (AP) empowers high school students to reach their highest potential by participating in rigorous, college-level course experiences. The College Board redesigned AP Biology to produce a course that reduces breadth, shifts instructional emphasis from content to skills, and promotes deeper learning. Developed in partnership with the National Science Foundation in response to a 2002 National Research Council report titled, Learning and Understanding, the redesigned AP Biology reflects a fundamental shift in AP curricula and assessments to emphasize a balanced approach to critical thinking and problem solving in the context of core content knowledge:

  • Instead of knowledge and recall of factual content, the revised AP Biology course and Exam will require that students apply their understanding of the “big ideas” and key concepts that define the fast-moving field of modern Biology..
  • The redesigned AP Biology curriculum explicitly requires the teaching of seven core science practices fundamental to the work of all scientists.
  • The redesigned course also includes a marked shift to inquiry-based laboratory experiences that reflect the true nature of how scientific questions are investigated. AP Biology lab investigations now require that students pose questions, and design and conduct their own studies to investigate them; 25% of the AP Biology course must be dedicated to laboratory work.
  • Each question on the AP Biology Exam, a rigorous, summative assessment, will require that students demonstrate core content knowledge as they apply an element from the science practices.

The magnitude of the changes, presents the potential for deep impact, not only in AP Biology but also in pre-AP science classrooms as well as undergraduate science courses. This creates a profound need for educators to effectively construct appropriate and rigorous learning experiences for students.

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Using Technology to Connect Students and Scientific Data

Friday, March 15, 2013: 10:45 AM – 11:25 AM, Room 155

Authors:

Keri Barfield, Botanical Research Institute of Texas;
Tracy Friday, Botanical Research Institute of Texas;
Jason Best, Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Abstract:

There are limited, often outdated and inconsistent resources available to teachers and students regarding botanical specimens. Participants will gain knowledge about how the use of technology in the classroom can connect students to scientific data and research.

Description:

Texas range and pasture plant resources available to teachers and students are limited, outdated, and inconsistent. The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) has combined botanical expertise, herbarium specimens, and mobile computer technology to create the BRIT Guide to Texas Range and Pasture Plants, a mobile application that provides botanical information, images, and a learning environment for the 129 most important range and pasture plants that have environmental and economic impact on the state of Texas. These plants are studied by students who participate in plant identification contests across the state as well as by range and pasture managers concerned about these important species.

The guide is used on mobile devices such as phones and tablets and provides a wealth of information including images for each species, the common and scientific names and information about the value for grazing and wildlife. The guide also includes a quiz that helps the students sharpen their identification skills for use in competitions and in the field. This application can be used in the field or in the classroom to help better understand and identify these important plant species. Through this presentation, participants will gain further knowledge about the value of technology in the classroom particularly when access to actual samples is limited. This model will provide an example of how to bring this new technology into the classroom to connect students to high quality, vetted digital images otherwise inaccessible. BRIT website link: http://www.brit.org/rangeplants

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Data Nuggets: Unearthing Inquiry Skills

Friday, March 15, 2013: 10:45 AM – 11:25 AM, Room 62.

Authors:

Melissa Kjelvik, Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University;
Elizabeth Schultheis, Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University.

Abstract:
Data Nuggets are worksheets that provide students with practice interpreting quantitative information and making claims based on evidence. Students are introduced to a scientific topic, challenged to answer a scientific question based on provided data and support a scientific claim using graphs.

Description:

Developed collaboratively by K-12 teachers and researchers at the Kellogg Biological Station, Data Nuggets are worksheets that provide students with practice interpreting quantitative information and making claims based on evidence. They bring data collected by scientists into the classroom and allow students the chance to work with real data – and all its complexities. Data Nuggets cover many research areas, from molecular to ecosystem data, but they all share the same accessible format. In about 15 minutes, students are introduced to a scientific topic and are challenged to answer a scientific question with the data provided. Students then make a scientific claim and support it quantitatively using graphs.

Not only do Data Nuggets cover a variety of scientific topics, they have also been designed to accommodate differentiated instruction. First, each Nugget is ranked from 1-4 according to Background Reading Level, describing vocabulary and content level of the background information. Secondly, worksheets are coded according to the Graphing Skill Level required to complete the worksheet. Students can move through these levels both throughout the school year and through grade levels, as they become more confident in their graphing skills.

Data Nuggets will help students feel confident when faced with data throughout their lives. Throughout their education, students will encounter data on exams, during classroom experiments, standardized tests, and college entrance exams. These skills will stay with a student and can be applied beyond scientific data. In their careers, they will be expected to summarize large amounts of data and support claims with evidence. Data interpretation skills are increasingly important as technology increases access to large pools of data, and the news media exposes us to data that must be quickly interpreted – including hot topics such as climate change and evolution.

Data Nuggets can be found online at http://kbsgk12project.kbs.msu.edu/data-nuggets/.

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Campus Trees Project: Using Phenology to Engage Students in the Process of Science

Friday, March 15, 2013: 1:15 PM – 1:55 PM, Room 83.

Authors:

Sara Wyse, Bethel University;
Tammy Long, Michigan State University

Abstract:

The Campus Trees Project is a laboratory experience designed for students to practice the process of science. Students work collaboratively to engage with the phenology occurring around them on their campus by designing, testing, and evaluating original methods they develop.

Description:

Phenology, the study of naturally recurring events, provides a simple, relatively inexpensive and relevant focus for scientific inquiry. Using trees located on your campus, students work collaboratively to develop, test, and evaluate methods for documenting phenologic change (e.g., leaf color change and abscission in the fall, bud break and leaf emergence in the spring). Through the project students gain foundational science process skills in experimental design, data gathering, peer review, managing large data sets, and communicating findings to a target audience. Importantly, students also gain valuable experience troubleshooting problems and managing the challenges that accompany authentic inquiry – just as practicing scientists do in their research.

This session provides an overview of a semester-long “Campus Trees” project that is suitable for the high school or college classroom. Attendees will learn about the project’s structure and objectives from both the student and instructor perspective. Participants will be provided original lab materials and assessments, including materials currently available online (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2012/02/24/335.6071.932.DC1). Discussion will focus on strategies for adapting the project to suit instructors’ specific needs and objectives across diverse classroom contexts and geographic regions.

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Is that a career?? Inspiring the next generation with multimedia conservation biology role models

Friday, March 15, 2013: 1:15 PM – 1:55 PM, Room 155.

Authors:

Jim MaKinster, Hobart and William Smith Colleges;
Nancy Trautmann, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Abstract:

Web-based videos, Google Earth explorations, and blogs provide middle and high school students with role models in conservation biology. Field tests showed teacher enthusiasm for weaving these into their teaching and consequent increased student interest in science and potential careers.

Description:

Web-based videos, Google Earth Tours, blogs, and lessons are used to connect middle and high school students with six Cornell graduate students conducting compelling conservation biology research in the U.S. and abroad. Professionally produced video vignettes portray the graduate students’ field research, highlight their uses of technology, and include stories about their career-related experiences, plans and dreams. Google Earth tours provide ways to engage in the graduate students’ research, for example analyzing data about disease resistance in frogs collected at various Arizona sites. Teachers are integrating these profiles into biology, environmental science, and middle school science classes – ranging from one or two class periods to woven throughout the year. We will introduce and show highlights of the CBCS videos. For example, one segment will show how a grad student uses automated photo monitoring, GPS, and GIS to track distribution of flamingos in the Bolivian Andes. Another will show a student using pit tags and a portable antenna system to record fish movement and investigate the ecological role of Desert and Sonoran suckers in streams of the Southwestern US. Back in the laboratory, they conduct analyses such as use of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for genetic analysis of disease resistance in leopard frogs, or use of computer modeling to interpret data collected in data loggers carried by birds that annually migrate between the Arctic and the southern tip of South America. http://www.crossingboundaries.org/conservation-scientists-670.php We will also present both qualitative and quantitative evidence that indicate growth in students’ interest in and perceived skills related to these activities. These resources were created through Crossing Boundaries, an NSF-funded project that aims to develop secondary students’ awareness of and interest in conservation science careers that use information and communication technologies.

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LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library

Friday, March 15, 2013: 1:15 PM – 1:55 PM, Room 62.

Authors:

Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America;
Andrea McMillen, Ecological Society of America;
Kenneth Klemow, Wilkes University;
Bill Dahl, Botanical Society of America;
Thomas Meagher, Society for the Study of Evolution;
Sunshine Brosi, Society for Economic Botany.

Abstract:

LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library is an online collection of digital resources to advance outstanding biology education. Learn about this collaborative effort of four scientific professional societies to jointly promote high quality, peer- reviewed educational resources and to support a community of practice for 21st century biology education.

Description:

We are excited to announce the premiere of the LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library (LDDL). This Digital Library provides the unique opportunity for scientists and educators to locate and contribute peer reviewed resources for 21st century undergraduate biology education across the collections of four professional scientific societies.

Society specific portals provide educators with free access to high-quality digital resources related to the disciplines of Ecology, Botany, Evolution and Economic Botany. Learn how LDDL is organized and how to search the current collection of high-quality digital resources.
Educators and researchers alike are encouraged to share your materials and resources for the classroom, laboratory or lecture hall. Learn how to submit your resources for dissemination across the broader biology education community though the Society Portals of the LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library and how resources are reviewed.

This project is a collaborative effort of the Ecological Society of America, Botanical Society of America, Society for the Study of Evolution and the Society for Economic Botany and is based on the model of ESA’s EcoEd Digital Library (beta).


Share Fair Roundtables

Friday, March 15, 2013: 1:15 PM – 1:55 PM, Room 62.

This session is designed for educators to create or revise lesson plans or activities with a peer working group.

Proposals can be submitted for ideas and lessons at any stage of development. This allows for individuals to develop new lessons or to work on modifying currently existing lessons to a new grade level, teaching style, or learning objective(s).

Each lesson or idea will be presented by the author at a roundtable with up to 9 other participants. There will be time for each author to describe their lesson idea. Then discussions will follow provide feedback and ideas regarding the core concepts addressed, methodology, misconceptions, assessment or educational extensions.

More information is available: http://www.esa.org/ldc/program/agenda/share-fair/

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NEON Education: Building capacity for engaging students and society with ecological data

Friday, March 15, 2013: 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM, Room 83.

Authors:

Wendy Gram, NEON

Abstract:

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) wants students to confidently discover, analyze and use data both in their science endeavors and everyday lives. NEON will provide opportunities for students and educators to collect, visualize, analyze and interpret environmental data.

Description:

This presentation will highlight current and upcoming resources that from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). I will share upcoming data portal features, educational programs under development, Citizen Science opportunities, and collaborative tools for engaging students with future NEON data. More information about NEON can be found at http://www.neoninc.org/ and more information about Project BudBurst, a NEON Citizen Science program, can be found at http://www.budburst.org/.

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Using Inexpensive Webcams for Time-Lapse Imaging & Video Analysis in the Biology Classroom

Friday, March 15, 2013: 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM, Room 155.

Authors:

Stephen G. Saupe, College of Saint Benedict / Saint John’s University;
Megan Levis, College of Saint Benedict / Saint John’s University;
Chi Le, College of Saint Benedict / Saint John’s University

Abstract:

This presentation will demonstrate how to create and analyze time-lapse movies using inexpensive cameras and software.

Description:

David Attenborough’s Private Life of Plants (Vol 1-6, BBC) documentary film series employs remarkable sequences of time-lapse growth and development of plants. These movie sequences never fail to amaze even those with little interest in plants. Using inexpensive cameras, biology teachers and students can, like David Attenborough’s team, create their own time-lapse movies in the classroom. The finished movies may not be quite “Discovery Channel” quality, but they stimulate student interest and are an excellent research tool. Individual frames of the movie can be analyzed by programs such as ImageJ. This presentation will demonstrate how to make a time-lapse movie using an assortment of webcams and a digital camera. We will also demonstrate how to use ImageJ to measure length, area, and angles on individual frames movies. This technique can be adapted for any virtually any age group.

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Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) at Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Friday, March 15, 2013: 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Room 83.

Authors:

Kristen S. Genet, Anoka-Ramsey Community College;
Joan McKearnan, Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Abstract:

Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) is a partner in the NSF-funded CCURI. We have been working to establish research experiences integrated into existing courses, develop a new research-based course, and provide summer opportunities for research in collaboration with the University of Minnesota.

Description:

The CCURI (www.ccuri.org) uses an inquiry-based teaching model where students are exposed to real world science through a case study in an introductory course followed by a hands-on research experience resulting from questions about or related to the case. CCURI provides resources for institutional partners including introductory workshops/conferences, start-up supplies and a wide variety of faculty development opportunities. Approximately 30 community colleges nationwide are participating in this initiative, and Anoka-Ramsey Community College is one of these research partner institutions (http://www.ccuri.org/p34.php?pageID=609). We will present how ARCC has been building capacity for research, and now has several faculty involved in conducting research and advising students in research projects in various topics ranging from molecular genetics to field ecology. We will present our approach (including challenges) of integrating research into community college curricula, and provide case studies and examples of how we have engaged students in various research experiences (integrated into course curriculum, independently, and weaving different aspects of a larger research project into several courses that many of our students take in sequence so they get broader and deeper into the material with each course they take). There will be time for brainstorming and discussion about developing and implementing opportunities for undergraduate research, as well as preparing students for these experiences at your institution.

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Next Generation Science Standards and Biology Instruction

Friday, March 15, 2013: 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Room 155.

Authors:

John Olson, Science Content Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education;
Susan Singer, Biology Professor, Carleton College

Abstract:

New “national” science standards are expected to be completed soon. These Next Generation Science Standards could be adopted by many states. Explore the Framework document, which defines the science core ideas and practices for our next generation of students.

Description:

A Framework for K-12 Science Education was published by the National Research Council (NRC) in July 2011. It centers on three dimensions of science learning that, when interwoven, enhance learning: science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas. The Framework emphasizes building learning progressions of interconnected skills and concepts to support student learning during the K-12 experience.

The Framework serves as the foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), expected to be released in late March 2013. These standards are likely to be adopted as the K-12 standards by most states. Minnesota is one of 26 lead states involved in developing the NGSS and committed to the widespread implementation of this vision for science education. John Olson is leading Minnesota’s participation and is providing leadership for the 26 NGSS partner states. Susan Singer was on the Board of Science Education, which developed the Framework and does research on science instruction and learning.

The session will explore how the Framework is supported by research on science learning, in addition to examining the core ideas in biology and how they integrate with crosscutting concepts and practices. Participants will learn how the ideas from the Framework are being translated into standards and how the Framework and the NGSS will likely change K-12 and college biology instruction, both in content and instructional practices.

For additional information, the NGSS website is www.nextgenscience.org.
The Framework website is: http://www7.nationalacademies.org/bose/Standards_Framework_homepage.html.

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Pollinator Collecting for the Lab and Classroom

Friday, March 15, 2013: 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Room 62.

Authors:

Gregory Diersen, Martin Luther College

Abstract:

This method of collecting pollinators with pan traps allows anyone from teachers to researchers to collect specimens without a great time investment, net or killing jar. Find out about pan trapping experiences from grade school children through ecological research.

Description:

Collecting insects, especially pollinators, can be a tough task for students or researchers. The yellow pan trap allows the collection of specimens using dish soap and water at a fixed location. The best part is that insects can be trapped at the same time in several places. It also means no “killing jars” or a net for each person. After placing out the traps, the insects cannot get out, and the trap can be recovered when the time permits. I will explain my experiences with grade-schoolers, high school sophomores, college students in Ecology and my own biodiversity samplings. My collections with pan traps have been conducted with The Echinacea Project, where I investigated the pollinators that were visiting remnant prairie plants surrounding Echinacea angustifolia, the pale purple coneflower. The Echinacea Project – http://echinaceaproject.org/ is a long-term research group sponsored by Chicago Botanical Garden and the University of Minnesota. The maintain a field log online as a blog (called a flog) that is found at http://blog.lib.umn.edu/wage0005/echinacea/ Find out how to engineer pan traps, how to use them in your classroom or lab and some additional applications to study ecology and insect diversity.

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The Open Science Approach: A Transferable Field School Model for Problem-Based Learning

Friday, March 15, 2013: 3:45 PM – 4:20 PM, Room 83.

Authors:

Pat Harrison, Botanical Research Institute of Texas;
April Sawey, Botanical Research Institute of Texas;
Keri Barfield, Botanical Research Institute of Texas;
Karen C. Hall, Clemson University;
Kent W. Bridges, Retired-University of Hawaii-Manoa

Abstract:

The Conservation Ethnobiology Field School is partnering with the Open Science Network in Ethnobiology to create an experience in which students will work collaboratively with research scientists using a Problem Based Learning model.

Description:

The current generation of students may be called true digital natives. They have never known a time without access to technology. These students spend a great deal of their time in front of a screen working virtually with their peers, if at all. In response, the Conservation Ethnobiology Field School uses a Problem Based Learning model, creating a of cohort advanced undergraduate or graduate students Through the Field school, students are provided an opportunity to apply research methodologies to real world problems, outside of the classroom, working with a community. The design is a set of transportable modules, allowing instruction to be held in different locations, serving the needs of students or a particular community. This model incorporates field skills through using new technical tools as well as the standard field collecting techniques used for generations. Students work together to understand current research methods and their application, working in small groups to solve problems. Students address actual community conservation problems, document all aspects of their research, and present their findings to members of the community.

This project is guided by philosophies embraced by the Open Science Network in Ethnobiology (OSN), particularly the guidelines proposed in AAAS Vision and Change. The Open Science Network is professional learning community of educators who link biological science with the human experience. Their mission is to form a worldwide community of instructors who freely share teaching ideas and materials to advance the field of ethnobiology education. Participants will leave with an understanding of OSN, Vision and Change, and a model for field school education.

OSN website link: https://sites.google.com/site/osntechtalk/

Field School link: https://sites.google.com/site/conservationethnobiolfs2012/

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Learning Styles and Bloom’s Taxonomy in the Teaching of Critical Thinking in Human Biology

Friday, March 15, 2013: 3:45 PM – 4:20 PM, Room 155.

Authors:

Valerie J. Wheat, Ph.D., Jefferson Community and Technical College

Abstract:

Teaching students to think critically, and how to learn and master complex topics, is a goal of general education science. This presentation will give you tools to help students learn about themselves and begin developing critical thinking skills in the science classroom.

Description:

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate one method for introducing learning styles and levels of critical thinking to the science classroom.

After this presentation, participants will understand:

  1. The use of a learning styles inventory for measuring four scales of learning styles.
  2. The use of a website to explain Bloom’s Taxonomy to students in simple terms
  3. A method for helping students understand how their learning style can help them master different levels of critical thinking
  4. An application of the process to a specific course topic (protein folding)
  5. Ways to incorporate this technique using online technology

This presentation will utilize several websites and a specific in-class example to show how teaching students about four scales of learning styles and the levels of development of critical thinking can help them improve their critical thinking skills. Presentation will be presented using Powerpoint, the following internet links, and a Wimba classroom in a Blackboard course shell that can be accessed via the internet.

Related links:

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Share Fair Roundtables

Friday, March 15, 2013: 3:45 PM – 4:20 PM, Room 62.

This session is designed for educators to create or revise lesson plans or activities with a peer working group.

Proposals can be submitted for ideas and lessons at any stage of development. This allows for individuals to develop new lessons or to work on modifying currently existing lessons to a new grade level, teaching style, or learning objective(s).

Each lesson or idea will be presented by the author at a roundtable with up to 9 other participants. There will be time for each author to describe their lesson idea. Then discussions will follow provide feedback and ideas regarding the core concepts addressed, methodology, misconceptions, assessment or educational extensions.

More information is available: http://www.esa.org/ldc/program/agenda/share-fair/

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Saturday Short Presentations

Biological Dilemmas: Improving argumentation skills with writing-to-learn activities on socio-scientific issues

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 10:00 AM – 10:40, Room 83

Authors:

Alison Wallace, Minnesota State University Moorhead;
Meena Balgopal, Colorado State University

Abstract:

Learn how writing-to-learn activities on contemporary biological issues encourage the use of scientific and personal evidence and argumentation by secondary school and college students. Evaluate argumentation levels in sample essays and explore ways to use this model in your courses.

Description:

Writing-to-learn activities about current biological issues that engage students’ cognitive, affective, and behavioral domains can increase scientific literacy. Students not only learn science content, but also practice applying higher order thinking skills as they begin to recognize personal and societal dilemmas surrounding these issues and the resulting array of potential decisions. Writing-to-learn strategies can also help students to organize their thoughts into a coherent whole, and encourage the use of scientific and personal evidence in supporting claims, as long as appropriate time and resources are allowed. Participants in this presentation will learn about a NSF-funded research study that tested the effectiveness of this writing model in undergraduate biology, chemistry, and physics courses and middle school science classes. Sample essays will be read and scored by participants for their argumentation levels using a rubric developed by the researchers. Ideas for integrating writing-to-learn activities into science courses taught by participants will be discussed. A set of writing activities around the issue of hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico that is influenced by fertilizer and land-use practices by Midwestern communities will be shared, along with other interdisciplinary issues that faculty members of our learning community have explored such as alternative energies, global climate change, and cancer biology.

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Ecological Forecasting (EcoCasting) – Using Computer Models to Teach Ecology Concepts

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 10:00 AM – 10:40 AM, Room 155

Authors:

Jon Pazol, West Leyden High School;
Lisa Del Muro, Wheeling High School

Abstract:

Using NetLogo, a computer modeling, internet-based program, students can explore the effects of changing variables in food webs, toxin accumulation, and invasive species. Teachers will learn how to easily integrate the models and curriculum into a variety of lessons.

Description:

The EcoCasting Project is a set of hands-on inquiry activities, developed by Northwestern University’s Office of Stem Education Partnerships in conjunction with NOAA. The curriculum and computer models focus on ecosystems, food webs, bioaccumulation, and invasive species and are designed for use in environmental science and biology classes in grades 9-12. The curriculum is aligned to the College Readiness Standards, the National Science Education Standards, and to Illinois state standards. It addresses the following objectives:

  • Using ecological models to investigate food web complexity
  • Investigating PCB toxins and how they move through an ecosystem
  • EcoCasting Investigating invasive species and how they disrupt ecosystems and change bioaccumulation patterns

EcoCasting is comprised of four major investigations, which may be done as stand-alone lessons or as parts of a larger unit. The presentation will include a demonstration of the models, a description of the curriculum, and exploration time if available. More information can be found at http://ecocasting.northwestern.edu/

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The making of an online campus flora: college students joining the FoRC (Flora of Rutgers Campus)

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 10:00 AM – 10:40 AM, Room 62

Authors:

Lena Struwe, Rutgers University;
Lauren Spitz, Rutgers University;
Chris Zambell, Rutgers University;
Patrick Sweeney, Yale University, Peabody Museum of Natural

Abstract:

We developed a field and online-based flora from student plant biodiversity inventories. Over 10% of the state’s species were found on campus. Students gained excellent skills in many methodologies and topics, while collecting research data useful for many research disciplines.

Description:

The development of students’ wild plant identification skills at the university level is essential for the longevity and expansion of biological sciences, to provide understanding of plant diversity, and to prevent “plant blindness”, but floristic knowledge and associated course options have decreased at colleges nationally. We addressed this at Rutgers University, NJ, by creating a novel undergraduate and graduate student-driven campus flora through hands-on outdoor and web-based field inventory. The learning objectives were to: increase students’ knowledge of local plants, heighten appreciation of the natural world, master GPS, photography, collection and online upload of data, and encourage students to work cooperatively – all while having fun. During fall 2011, we challenged 32 students to create a survey of all wild and naturalized plant species on Cook and Douglass campuses (317 acres, New Brunswick, NJ, USA). Students used tools such as floras, hand lenses, and rubber boots, as well as technology in the form of cell phones with GPS and cameras to upload data online. 274 wild species and 100 families were found on campus ( >10% of New Jersey’s plant biodiversity). As many habitats as possible were visited, including hardwood forests, weedy parking lots, artificial and natural ponds, lawns, and fallow gardens. The checklist, with photos, maps, and locations of all observations, is maintained online with free global access as part of the Symbiota database housed by Consortium of Northeastern Herbaria. This is a model for using a campus as a cheap, easily available, living laboratory. The students gained essential skills in species identification, problem solving, inventorying, and data management. This is also the start of a long-term data set and future classes will continue to collect data useful for future research and teaching in areas such as ecology and evolution, plant biology, invasive species, horticulture, and climate change.

Related links:

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Using digital image analysis to integrate mathematics and computers into inquiry laboratories

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 10:45 AM – 11:25 AM, Room 83

Authors:

Stokes S. Baker, University of Detroit Mercy;
Karen Selby, University of Detroit Mercy

Abstract:

How can digital image analysis be used in developing instructional materials? Can inquiry-based digital image analysis laboratory activities develop mathematical thinking? At the University of Detroit Mercy we use ImageJ software to engage undergraduates in learning organismal and environmental biology.

Description:

The National Research Council’s Biology 2010 report recommends that undergraduate biology education place greater emphasis on developing mathematical and computer science skills. To advance these goals, three inquiry-based laboratory activities have been developed at the University of Detroit Mercy where undergraduates used digital imaging to acquire data. Properties in the images were quantified with ImageJ, free software provided by the National Institutes of Health (http://rsbweb.nih.gov/ij/).

A General Biology Laboratory curriculum was designed to develop students’ use of the scientific method and provided an introduction to statistics. Using transgenic plants expressing the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene, students conducted experiments to determine the factors responsible for expression of environmentally regulated promoters. Using an inexpensive filter cube attachment, digital single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras were used to make quantitative fluorescence measurements. A description of the methodology is available at http://aobpla.oxfordjournals.org/content/2012/pls003.full.

Students designed and conducted their own experiments, collected data, used ImageJ to quantify fluorescence, and performed statistical analysis. An assessment study showed that the curriculum improved students’ understanding of basic concepts in statistics. Two investigations have been designed to introduce mathematical thinking in Ecology Laboratory. In one, students used digital images to determine if northern red oak (Quercus rubra) showed phenotypic plasticity in response to light gradients. In the second, students used digital images of their hand-cut stem cross sections to determine if ecological niches affected plant stem anatomy. In both investigations, students developed mathematical thinking by performing several calculations (e.g., blade area to lobe area ratio) and evaluated the significance of the calculations with hypothesis tests. In this presentation, participants will receive copies of the instructional materials and software, and view examples of student work. The results of assessment studies will be presented. The presenters will lead a discussion on how digital image analysis can be used in developing additional instructional materials.

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Using Wikispaces for collaborative content creation in a non-major’s Biology lab

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 10:45 AM – 11:25 AM, Room 43

Authors:

Michael Sawey, Texas Christian University;
April Sawey, Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Abstract:

Easy access to enormous quantities of information can stifle, rather than expand student’s learning. Encouraging students to work collaboratively using resources like Wikispaces allows them to become more invested in their own learning process and creators of a larger product.

Description:

Educators struggle to keep new and relevant technology in their classrooms. Unfortunately, the rush to do so has often led to the inclusion of new technology without the corresponding pedagogy. This approach does not make full use of new technology because it does not change the ways in which students interface with new knowledge or share knowledge they have gained. Thus the implementation becomes simply an old pedagogy using new technology. The authors will discuss the implementation of an innovative lab activity for non-majors Biology students in which they are asked to interface with knowledge in a more contemporary way. The designers of the lab strove to give students a more 21st century experience; that is, interfacing with smaller chunks of information and working in a truly collaborative online format. In this approach, the authors use Wikispaces to change the way students interact with new and previously acquired knowledge, as well as with their learning community. Collaborative content creation is well established in the public (consider Wikipedia) and embraces the realities of the user’s access to vast amounts of information without the need for traditional, more limiting printed resources. However, this vastness can lead to difficulty in knowledge processing for students. Many are not accustomed to reading an entire chapter on broad topics such as genetic inheritance or biodiversity, so by dividing up a large project into smaller more manageable units, students are less likely to become mired in a sea of knowledge but they still can come away with the understanding they need. This reinforces the educator’s role as facilitator of learning rather than simple purveyor of knowledge.

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Share Fair Roundtables

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 10:45 AM – 11:25 AM, Room 62.

This session is designed for educators to create or revise lesson plans or activities with a peer working group.

Proposals can be submitted for ideas and lessons at any stage of development. This allows for individuals to develop new lessons or to work on modifying currently existing lessons to a new grade level, teaching style, or learning objective(s).

Each lesson or idea will be presented by the author at a roundtable with up to 9 other participants. There will be time for each author to describe their lesson idea. Then discussions will follow provide feedback and ideas regarding the core concepts addressed, methodology, misconceptions, assessment or educational extensions.

More information is available: http://www.esa.org/ldc/program/agenda/share-fair/

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Case It: Molecular Biology Computer Simulations for Case-Based Learning

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 1:15 PM – 1:55 PM, Room 83

Authors:

Mark Bergland, Biology Department, University of Wisconsin-River Falls;
Karen Klyczek, Biology Department, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Abstract:

This session will demonstrate how to use the Case It computer simulation to analyze case studies based on honey bee virus detection and evolution, as well as strategies such as role playing for engaging students in learning molecular biology.

Description:

The Case It! Project provides molecular biology computer simulations and associated cases at no cost to educators, available at http://www.caseitproject.org. Case It! v6.06 will perform a variety of laboratory procedures on any DNA or protein sequence including electrophoresis, PCR, blotting, ELISA, and SNP and expression microarrays. The simulation can also be integrated with MEGA software for bioinformatics analyses. In this session, participants will learn how Case It v6.06 can be used to analyze the cases available on the Case It web site, including new cases on honey bee virus detection and evolution. In addition, they will learn how to use the simulation to investigate original research questions, such as genomic analysis of soil phages, as well as how to create their own case scenarios using information from the literature and sequences from online databases. Strategies for engaging students in the case analysis through role playing and other means will be discussed.

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What’s in Your Investigation Toolkit? Digital Resources for Personalized, Anytime Science Learning

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 1:15 PM – 1:55 PM, Room 155

Authors:

Claire Hemingway, Botanical Society of America;
Catrina Adams, Botanical Society of America

Abstract:

Looking for resources to support student-centered investigations or tailor your lessons about plant ecology and biology? Join us to explore new resources and interactive tools on PlantingScience that can personalize a collaborative learning experience for you and your students.

Description:

Curiosity and a biologically meaningful question can jumpstart student-centered inquiries. But it takes a diverse set of resources to support personalized learning during extended science investigations. Scientist mentors in PlantingScience (www.PlantingScience.org) offer direct links to real-world scientific practices and boost student motivation to extend learning beyond the classroom. In addition to connecting students, teachers, and scientists in online collaborations, PlantingScience has learning resources that address the middle and high school Next Generation Science Standards. In this session, we will share new digital resources and interactive tools on the website that allow you to personalize a collaborative learning experience for you and your students. There will be time to explore the new student roadmap resources with helps on talking and presenting science; plant investigation toolkit with tips for integrating math and quantitative reasoning in plant projects; dashboard to track and evaluate student activity; resource library that you can share, comment on, or create for yourself. These resources student-centered investigations can fit in many different types of classes. We also want to hear from you about the kinds of materials and tools you are looking for. Come try out our new resources for online science collaborations and share your ideas for creating a learning landscape for the 21st century.

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Where Goes the Climate, so Goes the Ecosystem

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 1:15 PM – 1:55 PM, Room 62

Authors:

Jeffrey Corney, University of Minnesota

Abstract:

By understanding the fundamental links between ecology and climatology, one can more readily teach the controversial topic of climate change by exploring its potential effects on the ecosystems in which we all live. This presentation will demonstrate how to effectively ground the issue of climate change into the more tangible realm of climate’s direct effects on the flora and fauna living around us in the here and now.

Description:

Climate change continues to be the environmental “issue of our day” that scientists from a variety of disciplines strive to understand and interpret in order to explain what is happening to our climate and what effects that may have on other earth systems. Throughout the world, scientists have already been observing significant changes in vegetation patterns and animal distributions that are likely due to changes that have already occurred with our climate. However, referencing climate change while teaching about ecology remains both difficult and even controversial.

This presentation will demonstrate how to effectively ground the issue of climate change into the more tangible realm of climate’s direct effects on the flora and fauna living around us in the here and now. The focus will be on the ecology of North America, using Minnesota as a specific “bellwether” for climate change, as this state is currently the geographic meeting point of the three major North American biomes: eastern deciduous forests, northern coniferous forests, and western grasslands. This unique ecological distribution is a direct result of this continent’s current climatic conditions. However, climatologists predict significant changes in key abiotic factors such as temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture patterns taking place over the next 100 years. As each biome is comprised of plants adapted to survive and thrive only within a limited range of climatic conditions, such major shifts in climate will likely result in a corresponding, and potentially radical, shift in the composition of ecosystems throughout the continent. By understanding the fundamental links between ecosystems and climate, students will be gaining a deeper appreciation of just how important the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors is in determining what plants and animals can live in a region and what may likely happen to an ecosystem if that climate changes in the not too distant future.

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The impact of technology integrated curriculum on student knowledge and attitudes about global climate change.

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM, Room 83

Authors:

Gillian Roehrig, STEM education Center,UM;
Engin Karahan, STEM center, University of Minnesota;
Devarati Bhattacharya, STEM Center, University of Minnesota;

Abstract:

We will present curriculum and results from the implementation of a climate change unit in a high school classroom. We will share student-constructed media artifacts to represent their awareness and activism in solving critical environmental problems like global climate change.

Description:

Research based on constructivist principles provides not only a coherent framework in which to theorize about learning, but also a context for understanding socially constructed issues and knowledge. This research study particularly investigated the impacts of two constructivism-based frameworks, constructionism and social constructivism, on students’ environmental awareness and activism, and their motivation and engagement. Students created media artifacts to reflect their knowledge, attitudes, awareness, and activism about critical environmental issues such as global climate change through a constructionist design process. Additionally, social networking and knowledge building technologies were integrated into the teaching process to improve the effectiveness of the frameworks employed in this study.

The findings of the study, which employed twenty-two 10-12th grade students were analyzed using a convergent mixed methods design. Results indicated that students’ environmental awareness and activism were improved throughout the constructionist and social constructivist learning processes. In addition, tools such as video designing activities and social networking website positively affected student motivation and engagement. This interactive session will focus on sharing curriculum and demonstrating ways to integrate technology in existing curriculum to promote student interaction and performance in diverse classrooms. This information should prove to be of interest for preservice and in-service science teacher educators, education researchers and teachers.

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Function of the plant cell wall: use of Arabidopsis thaliana as a teaching tool in the plant anatomy laboratory

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM, Room 155

Authors:

Rebecca Lamb, Ohio State University

Abstract:

Understanding of plant development is dependent on knowledge of the underlying anatomy. Inquiry based exercises are not often used in Plant Anatomy laboratories. A laboratory module in which students to explore the unique plant cell wall will be presented.

Description:

Knowledge of the anatomy and structure of plants is essential to an understanding of plant physiology and development. Laboratory work is necessary to achieve such knowledge. However, many plant anatomy laboratory exercises are based on previously prepared slides. While such exercises are needed to allow students to observe many aspects of cell morphology and specific anatomical characteristics, they are often of little interest to students. In addition, these exercises do not engage students in active research. Therefore, more active and interesting activities are needed to engage students.

MG5643: Plant Anatomy is a lecture and laboratory-based course aimed at advanced undergraduates. The student constituency is broad, with senior Biology majors in the majority. Many of these students have had minimal exposure to plant biology and are taking the course to fulfill their laboratory requirement. We have developed a laboratory module that uses the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the mutants and transgenic lines available in this plant. This module is designed to highlight the important functions of the plant cellulose-based cell wall. Students work in groups over the entire semester to characterize an assigned mutant and the corresponding promoter fusion transgenic line containing the promoter of the gene of interest driving ß-glucoronidase (GUS). The students observe plant growth and gene expression over the entire plant life cycle and use anatomical and histological techniques introduced during the laboratory to analyze effects at a cellular level. Each group makes an oral presentation to the class at the end of the course and each student independently writes a research paper on the project. This project allows the students to observe first hand how important the cell wall is to plant growth and development, apply techniques they learn in an active research project and integrate knowledge of temporal and spatial gene expression with phenotypic output.

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Share Fair Roundtables

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM, Room 62.

This session is designed for educators to create or revise lesson plans or activities with a peer working group.

Proposals can be submitted for ideas and lessons at any stage of development. This allows for individuals to develop new lessons or to work on modifying currently existing lessons to a new grade level, teaching style, or learning objective(s).

Each lesson or idea will be presented by the author at a roundtable with up to 9 other participants. There will be time for each author to describe their lesson idea. Then discussions will follow provide feedback and ideas regarding the core concepts addressed, methodology, misconceptions, assessment or educational extensions.

More information is available: http://www.esa.org/ldc/program/agenda/share-fair/

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Connecting high school students to authentic research projects and practicing scientists

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Room 83

Authors:

Susan Flowers, Washington University Institute for School Partnership;
Phyllis Balcerzak, PhD, Washington University Institute for School Partnership

Abstract:

We will report on the overlapping successful outcomes of two separate NSF projects impacting high school level life sciences learning through connections to current research. A two-pronged approach targets both high school students and high school biology teachers.

Description:

In summer 2012, the Institute for School Partnership at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) conducted national dissemination workshops for the Shaw Institute for Field Training (SIFT) and Tyson Environmental Research Fellowship (TERF) programs ( http://schoolpartnership.wustl.edu/programs-services/sift-terf/). These NSF-funded partnered programs engage teens in authentic environmental biology field research with practicing scientists. The dissemination workshops brought together high school science teachers and other educators, research scientists interested in educational outreach, and alumni of the SIFT and TERF programs.

A significant finding from workshop participant discussions of these successful programs was the importance of students’ engagement in authentic scientific practices based on current research. The fact that students were doing real science alongside real scientists greatly influenced their interest in and understanding of scientific topics, their responsible execution of scientific procedures, and their personal commitment to pursuing science in college. The teachers at the workshops were particularly interested in transferring this authentic engagement in research to their classrooms in order to have similar impacts on their students. These teachers are graduates of WUSTL’s NSF-funded Life Sciences for a Global Community (LSGC) Institute, a MS in biology program focused on transfer of current life sciences research content to the classroom and progressive pedagogical practice ( http://schoolpartnership.wustl.edu/programs-services/master-science-biology/).

This program positions biology teachers for leadership and innovative courses have resulted in classroom-ready lab investigations that are grounded in current research and authentic scientific practices. This session will present overlapping outcomes from both of these NSF-supported efforts at WUSTL to impact high school level learning in the life sciences. In a two-pronged approach, the SIFT and TERF programs target high school students and the LSGC graduate program targets high school biology teachers. Session participants will leave with an understanding of how both approaches support transfer of scientific practices to the high school life science education community.

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Lessons from the “Bioenergy Farm”: A Computer Game to Explore Land Management Complexities

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Room 155

Authors:

D. Leith Nye, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC);
John Greenler, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC);
Kate Arnold, Middleton High School

Abstract:

How can computer games engage students in investigating and solving real-world environmental challenges? We present “Bioenergy Farm” an online, multiplayer game in which students compete to grow bioenergy crops to meet energy demands and enhance landscape ecosystem services.

Description:

Computer games and simulations present an ideal platform for students to engage in the sophisticated computer models used by scientists to unravel the complex interactions between the Earth’s living, physical and social systems. Educational computer games, based upon realistic scientific models of the physical world, present students with the opportunity to test and refine their understanding of natural systems as they test predictions through experimentation and adaptive problem-solving. In this presentation, we present “Bioenergy Farm”, a multiplayer, online educational game for grades 9-16 students developed using the NetLogo modeling environment (http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/). In the game, players adapt to shifting markets and fluctuating environmental conditions as they compete to grow bioenergy crops, enhance key ecosystem services, and achieve an optimum “sustainability score.” The game is based upon models used by scientists at the DOE-funded Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (glbrc.org) to explore the interactions between energy markets, land use patterns, and landscape ecosystem services. The game and accompanying educational materials were created in collaboration with high school teachers and tested in classroom settings. Through game play, students test their predictions about the interactions of different crops and farming practices on profits, productivity and ecosystem dynamics. Data generated by the model allows students to analyze their results and adjust strategies. This game offers rich opportunities to engage a diversity of learners in scientific and engineering practices while teaching core concepts in environmental science, biology and economics. In addition, conclusions drawn from game play have broader applications for solving real environmental challenges.

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LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library: Science Pipes

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 3:00 PM – 3:40 PM, Room 62

Authors:

Kenneth M. Klemow, Wilkes University;
Teresa Mourad, Ecological Society of America.

Abstract:

Are you interested in having your students learn ecological concepts through data exploration? Does the steep learning curve associated with data analysis packages hamper student progress? Come and learn how SciencePipes can help students visualize data to learn ecological concepts

Description:

Ecology instructors are increasingly using data to teach ecological concepts. Though data are increasingly made available – especially online, getting students to manipulate often-complex datasets to yield meaningful conclusions often proves difficult for faculty and students alike.

This presentation will introduce participants to SciencePipes, which is a data visualization system created at Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab. Participants will first become acquainted with the framework of SciencePipes. They will then become familiar with the three main categories of components within SciencePipes: datasets, tools to manipulate data within those datasets, and visualization tools. Participants will learn how to graphically connect the inputs and outputs of each of the components to produce desired graphs and tables depicting the results of the analysis.

Participants will be provided guided instruction to ecologically relevant datasets within SciencePipes. Those datasets, created in partnership with ESA’s EcoEd Digital Library allow students to learn concepts including intercontinental diversity patterns, demography, and forest species composition.

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Discovering solutions from the tree of life: using biomimicry to teach evolution and explore databases

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 3:45 PM – 4:20 PM, Room 83

Authors:

Emilie Snell-Rood, University of Minnesota, Dept. EEB

Abstract:

Courses on “Evolutionary Biomimetics” can be used to convey the practical importance of evolutionary biology, and allow students to explore existing biodiversity databases.

Description:

Human society is faced with many problems, from curing cancer and diabetes and feeding billions of people, to eliminating toxins from the environment and providing energy to fuel our societies. The field of biomimicry seeks to solve these problems by looking to the diverse ways that organisms have adapted to environments with similar “problems.” With over 1.3 million described species (and likely over 8 million in existence), chances are there is a species out there that has some solution to any particular problem. But how do we go about figuring which species this might be? And which trait holds the adaptation we are interested in? What might be some limitations associated with copying this adaptation? Structuring a course around “Evolutionary Biomimicry” not only communicates the importance of topics in evolutionary biology, but also encourages active collaboration between biology, engineering, architecture and pre-med students. This presentation will give an overview of a developing course that challenges students to work with their peers to explore the tree of life in search of novel solutions to existing problems. Such courses with immediate, integrative applications should communicate the relevance of the basic concepts the students are learning in biology, in addition to encouraging them to interact and collaborate across disciplines.

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Beyond concept maps: System models as a tool for simplifying complexity in undergraduate biology

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 3:45 PM – 4:20 PM, Room 155

Authors:

Tammy Long, Michigan State University;
Joe Dauer, Michigan State University

Abstract:

For students at all levels, active and iterative system modeling can promote learning about biology. In this presentation, participants will integrate model construction into existing course objectives and develop activities and assessments that facilitate and reveal students’ learning.

Description:

National-level calls for reforming science education advocate that teaching and learning about systems and system modeling be incorporated throughout K-12 and undergraduate STEM curricula. Because systems are characterized by multiple, interacting components, concurrent processes, and emergent properties that can operate at multiple scales, teaching and learning about systems can be inherently challenging for both instructor and student.
Structure-behavior-function (SBF) Theory offers a powerful framework for representing and evaluating diverse models of systems.

We have applied SBF principles to develop a specific type of representation we call a “system model” that is broadly applicable for teaching and learning about biological systems across diverse classroom contexts, including classes with very large-enrollments. Briefly, system models are comprised of: Structures, the objects or concepts relevant in describing a system, Behaviors, specific relationships or interactions between pairs of structures, and Functions, the purposes or roles of the system. This presentation will provide participants an overview of how system models can be used as a tool for instruction and assessment that engages students in higher-level thinking. We will present data from a large enrollment introductory biology course that illustrates how system models can be used to reveal patterns in student thinking and how students’ thinking changes over time.

Working individually and in groups, participants will first articulate how system modeling could be incorporated into their course learning objectives. Participants will then design activities in which students practice model construction and assessment items to determine students’ progress toward specific learning objectives. Finally, participants will create rubrics that simplify the task of grading and provide feedback to students and instructors about student learning. Participants will leave prepared to use system models and the SBF framework in their curriculum to improve students’ thinking about complex biological issues.

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Bioblitz! Connecting urban schools to science and technology through research-based learning.

Saturday, March 16, 2013: 3:45 PM – 4:20 PM, Room 62

Authors:

Kimberly Norton Taylor, Botanical Research Institute of Texas;
Pam Chamberlain, Botanical Research Institute of Texas;
Tracy Friday, Botanical Research Institute of Texas

Abstract:

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) utilizes a community Bioblitz to connect urban students and teachers to authentic research, real data collection, and practicing research scientists in mutually beneficial research-based learning focused on students’ local plant communities.

Description:

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) takes pride in the strength of its team of local scientists and educators working collaboratively to connect the public to its conservation research. BRIT provides opportunities for local students and teachers to directly connect with scientific research projects, relevant data collection, and research scientists in mutually beneficial research-based learning. The BRIT SEED School’s educational philosophies embrace a place-based approach, scientific inquiry, problem and research based learning. These pedagogies require a strong connection to real-world application of scientific methods.

In an effort to connect students and teachers to their local community as well as current scientific research, BRIT works with local schools through the newly initiated Urban Landscape Project. Urban landscapes are a highly diverse and shifting environment affected by environmental, social, and economic pressures. This research project seeks to understand how urbanization impacts plant communities using computer technology, field botany, community surveys, and student-collected data. The project equips local middle and high school teachers with how to engage students in outdoor inquiry and research-based learning through the collection of “real” data that is part of authentic local research. Teachers receive hands-on training regarding collection techniques, native botanical knowledge, the use of current technology, and lesson planning. Teachers and students assist this project by collecting data for the ground-truthing phase. The end goal is to better understand our urban ecosystem and to create a meaningful dialogue between science organizations and members of the community – including local students and teachers. Participants will discuss potential challenges of directly involving students in scientific research and leave this presentation with an example of how to connect students to current research using an inquiry and problem-based learning approach. In addition, they will learn techniques for how to utilize students’ personal technology (smart phones etc.) to assist in data collection.


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