Friday, June 15, 2012

Evolution Education: Seeing the Forest for the Trees and Focusing Our Efforts on the Teaching of Evolution

The following paper was published by three graduate students and myself. This paper was one of the products of an Advanced Topics Course I taught. The course was centered on a Learning Sciences perspective on Evolution and was published in the journal Evolution Education.

It centers on the notion that Evolution is the underlying framework upon which all biology is based; however, when it comes to learning evolutionary concepts, many students encounter obstacles. There are many reasons as to why these obstacles occur. These reasons deal with evolution being treated as a discrete topic among many within a biology curriculum, misunderstanding the nature of science, and personal difficulties with understanding due to evolution’s seemingly abstract nature. In this article, we propose a different way of thinking about and teaching evolution in grades K-12, and it surrounds four core areas essential to the understanding of evolution: variation, selection, inheritance, and deep time. Possibilities for how these areas can affect learning are described and implications for assessment are also discussed.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Picture: The Spa-- Hudson Street in Hoboken (circa 1975)

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