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Evolution, Education and Evaluation: Tree-thinking in Intro Biology

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Title: Evolution, Education and Evaluation: Tree-thinking in Intro Biology


1
Evolution, Education and Evaluation
Tree-thinking inIntro Biology
  • Phil Gibson
  • OU TSI October 20, 2011

2
Miller, J.D., E.C. Scott, and S. Okamato. 2006.
Public Acceptance of Evolution. Science. 313
765-766.
3
The Basic Ideas of Tree-thinking
  • Nothing in biology makes sense except in the
    light of evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973)
  • Nothing in evolution makes sense except in the
    light of phylogeny. (Society of Systematic
    Biologists 2001).
  • Nothing makes sense in phylogeny except in the
    light of DNA. (Kalinowski et al. 2010)

4
Tree-Thinking
5
Tree-Thinking
6
What we want to know
  • Question 1 What is the relationship between
    ability to read phylogenetic trees relate and
    acceptance of evolution?
  • Question 2 How does student understanding of
    natural selection and genetics relate to
    understanding and acceptance of evolution?
  • Question 3 Will a tree-thinking based
    curriculum using active learning modules improve
    student understanding and acceptance of evolution
    and evolutionary theory?

7
  • BIOL 1134 Evolution, Ecology, Diversity
  • 1. Encourage understanding and appreciation for
    major, modern biological thought and theories
  • Unity and diversity of life (DNA and genetic
    variation)
  • History of life (evolution and phylogeny)
  • Relationship between structure and function
    (adaptation)
  • Focus on life at the individual, population,
    community, and ecosystem levels (hierarchical
    organization, interdependence)
  • Develop student skills, understanding, and
    appreciation for the nature of science.
  • Thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving in
    biology.
  • Prediction and hypothesis testing in science.
  • Data collection, analysis, and interpretation
  • Group collaboration and interactions.

8
Tree-thinking Curriculum Structure
DNA Genetics
Inheritance Pedigrees
Phylogenetics Read Construct Trees
Evolution Concepts Mechanisms
Application (Biodiversity surveys, adaptations,
speciation etc.)
9
Components of the curriculum.
  • Genetic basis of phylogeny tree thinking
    genetics, inheritance, and population genetics
  • Principles of tree-thinking how-to of phylogeny
    construction and interpretation
  • Application of tree-thinking opportunities to
    collect and analyze data, processes of hypothesis
    development and testing
  • Modules Case study, group inquiry, active
    learning

10
Pedigree Analysis Genetics
11
Phylogeny of Domestic Dog Breeds Result of
Artificial Selection
12
Platypus Reproduction Mammalian Evolution
13
Pollination and Floral Evolution
14
A Deadly Passion Evolution of Sexual Cannibalism
Scorpion
Praying mantis
Australian redback spider
15
Assessment Evaluation
  • Measure of the Acceptance of the Theory of
    Evolution (MATE) 20 question Likert-scale survey
    (Rutledge Sadler 2007)
  • Tree-thinking Challenge, Understanding
    Phylogenetic Trees, Tree Thinking Concept
    Inventory Variety of questions to read and
    construct phylogenetic trees. (Baum et al. 2005,
    Meir et al. 2007, Neagle 2009)
  • Concept Inventory of Natural Selection, Genetics
    Concept Assessment (Anderson Fisher 2002, Smith
    et al. 2008)

16
MATE pre-post Comparison
17
Tree Reading Assessments
18
MATE TTCI Spring 2011
19
MATE, Natural Selection Genetics
20
Normalized Learning Gain
21
Deeper Analysis the Education Literature
  • The education literature is rich with techniques
    for further analysis
  • Item Analysis, Discrimination Index calculations,
    Cronbachs a provide further insights that basic
    statistics dont reveal.
  • Further analysis of specific questions and
    answers.

22
What weve learned so far. . .
  • Tree-thinking curriculum appears to increase
    understanding and acceptance of evolutionary
    theory.
  • Acceptance of evolution is related to
    tree-thinking ability knowledge of natural
    selection, and knowledge of genetics.
  • Better assessments are needed.
  • Theres more work to do!

23
Acknowledgements
  • National Science Foundation
  • DUE 0940835
  • The University of Oklahoma
  • College of Arts and Sciences,
    Department of Botany and Microbiology, Department
    of Zoology
  • J. Cooper, M. Jones, S. Rhodes, A. Makowicz, C.
    Poindexter, M. Gibson, D. Washecheck
  • All research conducted under OU IRB 12682
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