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1 February 2016 Can a Biology Course Rooted in the Tree of Life Overcome Student Misconceptions?
John W. Doudna
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Introductory biology for nonmajors provides an opportunity to engage students with the complexity of life. In these courses, instructors also have the opportunity to experiment with course material and delivery, especially with an intent to overcome common misconceptions about biology. Fortunately, frameworks exist that can be integrated into a completely novel classroom framework: the AP biology curriculum and the tree of life. In addition, assessments are available that specifically address common misconceptions. I tested whether such a novel approach, covering the four big ideas in biology equally and structured around an accurate depiction of biodiversity as a branching history of evolution, can improve student comprehension of difficult biological concepts. In the end, I found that students improved significantly in their understanding of biology and were much less likely to have common misconceptions about difficult topics.

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John W. Doudna "Can a Biology Course Rooted in the Tree of Life Overcome Student Misconceptions?," The American Biology Teacher 78(2), 93-98, (1 February 2016).
Published: 1 February 2016

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Big ideas in biology
nonmajors biology
student misconceptions
tree of life
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