Office of Undergraduate Research

Teaching Evolution to Non-science Majors

This research compared two strategies for teaching students to analyze evolutionary relationships among organisms in support of a general course in modern evolutionary theory. The class was divided into two groups. One group worked with imaginary organisms and another worked preserved insects. Once they presented their results, the groups were switched to the other treatment and then their analyses examined again. The main question is whether using biological specimens significantly improves students' understanding of concepts in evolutionary biology. Data analysis will focus on students' informal writing, before-and-after questionnaires, lab reports, and videotapes of classroom discussions and computer modeling of evolutionary relationships.

Tasks and responsibilities:

Data entry; preliminary data analysis; transcription of video segments.