Discussion

Understanding the mechanisms of evolution: random genetic drift

Created by Ned Dochtermann, Erin Gillam, Timothy Greives, Kristina Holder, Steve Travers, and Jennifer Weghorst, this lesson focuses on the evolutionary mechanism of random genetic drift.  Students explore how population size affects allele frequencies by engaging in a group activity that involves generating and plotting data, interpreting graphs, and formulating hypotheses.

Red Light, Green Light: Cell Division and Angelina Jolie

Created by Paul Ogg, Melissa Krebs, Vida Melvin, Amanda Charlesworth, and Melanie Badtke, this lesson teaches how cells regulate cell division using some lecture interspersed with interactive activities including clicker questions, pair/share, and class discussion, applying concepts to Angelina Jolie's BRCA1 mutation.

Shakespeare on Acid: To ionize or not to ionize?

This lesson, created by Graciela Unguez, Erika Abel, Vanessa Castleberry, Rizalia Klausmeyer, Aaron Snead, Martina Rosenberg, William S. Garver, and Marcy Osgood for the National Academies Summer Institute for Undergraduate Education in Biology uses clickers, pair and share, and other exercises to help students "understand the effect of environmental pH on the ionization status of weak acids and weak bases."

Protein Function Follows Form: Two-Lesson Activity

Created by Moriah Beck, Masih Shokrani, Karen Koster, William Soto, David McDonald, and David Swanson for the National Academies Northstar Institute for Undergraduate Teaching in Biology, this activity spans 2-3 classes and uses lecture, clicker questions, jigsaws, and group discussions to teach the relationship between protein structure and function.

Coevolution Case Study

Created by Laura Conner, Susan Hester, Anne-Marie Hoskinson, Mary Beth Leigh, Andy Martin ,and Tom Powershis, and contributed by Yale University's Center for Scientific Teaching, this case study lesson reinforces the concept of coevolution and gives students practice with the analysis and interpretation of data.

Open Review Discussion

Students used a platform called Open Review (www.openrev.org), developed by the members of the Harvard physics department, which is a PDF annotation tool that is tailored to discuss scientific publications openly. Every week, students read two publications related to research in the Harvard Physics Department and used Open Review to discuss them online and learn about the academic research.

Daily ER18 Immersion

Guanchang Qian made every section and every day an active learning experience for her ER18 students to enhance not only students’ learning experiences, but also the students’ relations with their instructor. She exposed students to ER18 material every day through daily emails and supplementary readings.

Public Opinion Polling Challenge

This activity created was by Benjamin Schneer, a graduate teaching fellow for GOV30, to help students understand methods in public opinion polling. Schneer provided a dilemma for students to resolve using information about public opinion polling found in their textbook or online resources. Students enthusiastically participated in this active learning exercise to incorporate classroom knowledge in a practical setting.

Paper Presentations and Discussions

In OEB 119: Deep Sea Biology, groups of students have to present and lead discussions on scientific papers throughout the semester. Before class each week, all students have to read an assigned scientific paper and post a summary paragraph and two questions to an online forum. A group of students has to prepare a short presentation about one part of the paper, so that each paper is presented by a different group of three to four students each week. 

Presenting Primary Papers

In OEB 191: Physiological and Biochemical Adaptation, students present one or two papers in primary literature to the class and lead the discussion. After retrieving the papers from online sources or the library and reading them, the presenters prepare a PowerPoint show to explain and summarize the findings.

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