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Instead of dissecting animals, students create small clay models of human internal organs to demonstrate their understanding of the positioning and interlocking shapes of the organs. Not only is this approach more environmentally friendly, it also forces them to learn human anatomy — which is more relevant to them than the anatomy of other creatures — in a creative and constructive manner. The article includes photos of students' work, a table for evaluation (grading rubric), and a list of materials, as well as some helpful hints.
A “blog” can be used as an online journal club to supplement classroom learning. When crafted in a certain way, it can help students develop their scientific reading comprehension, critical thinking, and writing skills in a way that can easily be assessed by educators.
During laboratory sessions devoted to ecology, 182 preservice K-8 teachers participated in a Project Wildlife in Learning Design (WILD) workshop. Participants rated the workshop highly, indicated they would use more inquiry-based activities, and were more interested in teaching ecology following the workshop. Post-test scores indicated an increased content knowledge of ecology.
The techniques of forensic anthropology and pathology can provide new information to increase student interest in studying the structural details of the human skeleton. We present a simplified methodology for assessing skeletal ethnicity, sex, age, and stature. An inexpensive method has been devised for constructing an Osteometric board to allow students to measure long bones accurately. The effects of aging and the influence of lifestyle alterations on skeletal elements are presented along with the prediction of their effects on the living individual, This laboratory is intended to acquaint students with the process of collecting and analyzing data, interpreting scientific results, and assessing the accuracy of their conclusions. Gathering and analyzing their own data sets gives students a better understanding of the scientific method and an increased ability to translate this understanding to other scientific disciplines.
Urban students often have limited access to field sites for ecological studies. Ubiquitous ants and their mounds can be used to study and test ecology-based questions. We describe how soil collected from ant mounds can be used to investigate how biotic factors (ants) can affect abiotic factors in the soil that can, in turn, influence plant growth.
Students commonly test the effects of chemical agents on the heart rate of the crustacean Daphnia magna, but the procedure has never been optimized. We determined the effects of three concentrations of ethanol, nicotine, and caffeine and of a control solution on heart rate in Daphnia. Ethanol at 5% and 10% (v/v) reduced mean heart rate to ∼50% and ∼20% of its initial value, respectively. Recovery was rapid after removing 5% ethanol, but recovery from 10% ethanol took 20–30 minutes. Nicotine at 100 µM reversibly increased mean heart rate by ∼20%. Higher concentrations produced varied and sometimes irreversible effects. Caffeine at 0.1%, 0.5%, and 2% (w/v) had no convincing effect on heart rate. Of the three agents tested, nicotine's peculiar effects make it the least useful in an educational setting. Caffeine could be used to emphasize the need for blind observers because it does not increase heart rate in Daphnia. If students find that it does, their bias is revealed. Ethanol produces unambiguous effects at 5% and 10%. Heart rates recover quickly after removing 5% ethanol, which allows students to explore reversibility as an alternative to having a separate control group.
This is a set of animal behavior investigations in which students will practice scientific inquiry as they observe crayfish, ask questions, and discuss territoriality, social interactions, and other behaviors, in doing this, they hone their skills of observation, learn to record and analyze data, control for variables, write hypotheses, make tentative conclusions, and then design and carry out original experiments. This set of activities and experiments is designed for middle school through high school life science or biology classrooms.
Many statistics texts pose inferential statistical problems in a disjointed way. By using a simple five-step procedure as a template for statistical inference problems, the student can solve problems in an organized fashion. The problem and its solution will thus be a stand-by-itself organic whole and a single unit of thought and effort. The described procedure can be used for both parametric and nonparametric inferential tests. The example given is a chi-square goodness-of-fit test of a genetics experiment involving a dihybrid cross in corn that follows a 9:3:3:1 ratio. This experimental analysis is commonly done in introductory biology labs.
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