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4 April 2023 I Know That's a Grasshopper, but I don't Know Why: An Argument-Driven Inquiry Activity for Teaching Taxonomy
Jeremy M. Brooks, Joshua B. Grinath, A. M. Rasmussen, Anna S. Grinath
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Undergraduate biology teachers usually emphasize taxonomic keys as tools for students to explore organismal diversity and biological roles, largely ignoring the epistemologically challenging process of creating the keys. Students are often frustrated by the challenging language and apparent randomness of traits selected for taxonomic keys, which in turn leads to decreased interest in and motivation for taxonomy. Here, we offer an Argument-Driven Inquiry activity designed to engage students in both the scientific practices and processes required to generate taxonomic keys. Students make observations of organisms in both field and lab settings, generate taxonomic keys, and engage in scientific argumentation with their classmates to evaluate the accuracy and usefulness of their keys. Through this activity, teachers can help students recognize the useful yet imperfect nature of taxonomic keys and the subjective nature of choosing the traits used to construct them. We believe that by lifting the veil of certainty that often shrouds taxonomic keys, students become more open to the productive struggle inherent to taxonomy and the scientific process.

Jeremy M. Brooks, Joshua B. Grinath, A. M. Rasmussen, and Anna S. Grinath "I Know That's a Grasshopper, but I don't Know Why: An Argument-Driven Inquiry Activity for Teaching Taxonomy," The American Biology Teacher 85(3), 159-163, (4 April 2023). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2023.85.3.159
Published: 4 April 2023
JOURNAL ARTICLE
7 PAGES

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KEYWORDS
argument-driven inquiry
entomology
field
generating taxonomic keys
lab-based learning
taxonomy
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