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  1. Louisa Stark
  2. https://medicine.utah.edu/faculty/mddetail.php?facultyID=u0134900
  3. Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah
  1. Dina Drits-Esser
  2. Senior Research Associate
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah
  1. Sheila Homburger
  2. Science Content Manager
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah
  1. Molly Malone
  2. Sr. Education Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Genetic Science Learning Center, University of Utah

Building High School Students’ Understanding of Evolution through Collection ...

NSF Awards: 1418136

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

Evolution: DNA and the Unity of Life is an 8-week curriculum unit for introductory high school biology students that was designed for the Next Generation Science Standards. This project addresses the need for new 3-dimensional, phenomenon-based curriculum materials that are freely available and easy for educators to implement as they rise to the promise of NGSS in their classrooms. Based around high-interest phenomena, the unit addresses core ideas about evolution with pertinent core ideas from molecular genetics throughout. It integrates relevant crosscutting concepts as well as practice in analyzing and interpreting skill-level-appropriate data from published scientific research and constructing evidence-based arguments. Through an iterative development process that included multiple rounds of testing and revision, the project supported research on 3-dimensional learning and effective high school instruction. The project culminated in a randomized controlled trial comparing the unit to business-as-usual materials that cover the same core ideas. Results indicate that students who used the new unit better understand the evolution DCIs than students who used evolution units that did not integrate heredity (p=<.001). Most of the teachers involved in testing the unit reported that it was as good as or better than materials they used in the past and that they plan to use the unit again. Presentations and workshops about the unit have been accepted for both researcher and practitioner conferences. The unit is freely available on the Teach.Genetics.utah.edu website.

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