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1 July 2013 A New Integrative Approach to Evolution Education
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Abstract

Evolution is a difficult theory for students to understand. Part of the reason for this may be the tendency of instructors to teach evolution in the context of ecological systems, isolated from genetic and cellular mechanisms. To address this, we developed a set of integrative cases that consider the evolution of traits from the genetic scale to the macroecological scale. We implemented two of these cases in a biology course and tested their effectiveness using a pre-and postcourse assessment tool. Students who successfully learned evolution in a case context were better able to explain the molecular basis of mutation, to connect mutation to phenotypic change, and to make mechanistic links between genotypes and phenotypes. These gains were independent of the students' course achievement and precourse understanding of evolution. These findings support the hypothesis that students who acquire a molecular understanding of evolutionary mechanisms will have a better overall understanding of evolution.

©2013 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.
Peter J. T. White, Merle K. Heidemann, and James J. Smith "A New Integrative Approach to Evolution Education," BioScience 63(7), 586-594, (1 July 2013). https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2013.63.7.11
Published: 1 July 2013
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