Introductory Biology

Introductory Biology



I chose these articles because I wanted them to “fit into” the Organismal Biology course I teach. The course is very similar to many General Biology II courses at other colleges. There is a mix of biology majors and non-majors in this course. Usually, more than half of each class is filled with non-majors. I wanted to pick shorter articles that fit into the four units that we cover. We currently cover the following units:
1) Intro to Biology/Genetics/Evolution
2) Bacteria&Archaea/Protists/Plants
3) Animals/Animal Behavior
4) Ecology (Intro to Ecology, Population Ecology, and Community Ecology)


Applicable for Courses:

General Biology, Environmental Science, or any other intro. science course that discusses causation vs. correlation and the scientific method

Educational Level:

Roadmap Objectives:

    • Article: Myopia and Ambient Lighting at Night (May 13, 1999) – Nature and, Night Lights Don’t Lead to Nearsightedness (2010) – The Ohio State University
    • Content area/major concepts: I chose this article to primarily discuss the idea of causation vs. correlation. This would be discussed during the first unit of the semester when discussing how science is done and what scientists do.

      Causation vs. Correlation, Myopia, Scientific Process, Sample Size
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data:
    • How the CREATE strategy was used: I plan to give students the article and have them make a cartoon of the experiment at home. During the next class, students will be placed in groups and then asked to produce a group cartoon of the experiment. I will then show each group’s cartoon to the class and discuss what they came up with. I will then have groups annotate the figure together. I will then ask a group to share their annotated figure with the class. At the end, I will facilitate a class discussion on the conclusions that the authors proposed and anything that is unclear about the study. Finally, I will hand out the article ‘Night Lights Don’t Lead to Nearsightedness, Study Suggests’ from The Ohio State University’s website. I will then have the students construct a cartoon about this study and then share the cartoons with the class. We will then have a class discussion about the two articles and review the causation vs. correlation.
    • Biggest teaching challenge: Since this will be the first time we will be making cartoons, it will be a challenge to get them to make cartoons. For the same reason, it will be a challenge to get them to annotate the figure. I may need to give them a few hints and suggestions as they first begin.
    • Article: Scientists Produce Cloned Embryos of Extinct Frog (March 15, 2013) – Science Daily
    • Content area/major concepts: Cloning, Nuclear Transfer, Extinction, De-extinction, Amphibian reproduction
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data:
    • How the CREATE strategy was used: I plan to use this article either during the Genetics Unit or the Animals Unit. I will give them the article to read at home and have them draw a cartoon of how they visualize the experiment. During the following class, students will be placed in groups and told to share their cartoons with their classmates and then produce a group cartoon on a whiteboard in the classroom/lab. We will then have everyone sit down and ask for a few groups to explain their cartoons. I will then have groups write down a list of reasons of why or why not they support de-exctintions, arguments for doing it, arguments against it, and anything else that strikes them about the experiment or idea of de-extinctions. At the end, I will ask them if they can think of any other way to try and bring a species back from extinction instead of cloning. There are two other methods that are currently being discussed that will be brought up in our class discussion.
    • Biggest teaching challenge: Figuring out where would be the best spot/unit in the course to insert this activity. A challenge for students is understanding the mechanisms behind cloning.
    • Article: Thinking Like a Mountain (Aldo Leopold – from A Sand County Almanac)
    • Content area/major concepts: Ecology, Keystone Species, Trophic Cascade, Food Web, Soil Erosion.
    • Methods or technology used to obtain data:
    • How the CREATE strategy was used: I plan to use this article during the Ecology Unit. This is not a journal article or even a review of a journal article, but I think it would work really well in this class and I do plan to use some CREATE strategies with this article. I plan to have students read and cartoon the article at home. There is no experiment, but I think this short essay would be great to cartoon so that they can think more deeply about it and help them visualize what they think it is about. I will also give them a few questions that they will answer about the article: 1) What does he mean when he states “rivers washing the future into the sea”? 2) Mountains obviously do not literally “think”, so what does he mean by “thinking like a mountain”. The next class I will place them in groups and have them share their cartoons with their groups. They will then be asked to combine their ideas and make a group cartoon, which they will then draw on a whiteboard in the classroom/lab. I will then facilitate a group discussion about their cartoons and the answers to their questions.
    • Biggest teaching challenge: Many students have trouble reading this article due to the writing style of Aldo Leopold. I make sure to tell my students that they might have to read it several times and look up the meaning of several words before they can make sense of it and draw a cartoon of what is happening.

Advice for Using Module/Activity:

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