ABLE 2016


Wright's Mini 2014
Participants at Brianna Wright's Creating Celebrity Offspring: Understanding Allele Inheritance mini workshop during the ABLE 2014 conference

Mini Workshop Presentations

Mini Workshops are 50-minute, drop-in sessions that will be held on Friday, June 24, 2016. Topics will range from wet lab techniques to discussions on pedagogical research and practice. Abstracts are posted below, but aren't yet sorted by Session/time.


Session I | Session II | Session III | Session IV

Marine Biodiversity in a Bag
Ben Waggoner
University of Central Arkansas

Marine aquarium suppliers sell bags of aragonite sand from tropical regions. Depending on where it was collected, aragonite sand usually contains identifiable shells of foraminiferans, cnidarians, arthropods, gastropods, scaphopods, and bivalves. It lends itself well to lab exercises in invertebrate zoology, paleontology, marine biology, biodiversity, and general ecology. Not all brands of sand are equally rich, and instructors should select sustainably sourced sand, since not all marine aquarium specimens and products are collected sustainably. However, a ten-pound bag provides material for hundreds of students, and the sand can be reused indefinitely if picked specimens are not kept in a permanent collection. Participants will pick through sand samples and discover a surprising diversity of specimens, including rarely seen taxa such as scaphopods and caecid gastropods. We will then calculate various biodiversity indices and discuss sampling and rarefaction.


Awareness Makes You Friends: Addressing Diversity Concerns in the Classroom
Heather Karner, Tuyen Nguyen and Debra Mauzy-Melitz
University of California, Irvine

With the growing diversity seen on college campuses every year, miscommunications and misunderstandings are inevitable. Issues can arise due to differences in backgrounds, cultures, learning and studying preferences, and numerous other characteristics that make every individual unique. Even though this rich diversity can lead to disagreements, its existence also teaches tolerance and understanding of one another’s differences. Students, instructors, and mentors alike have a pressing need to be inclusive and cognizant of how each of our own diversities influence the classroom and student learning outcomes. The road to tolerance and inclusion is a bumpy one, but can sometimes be made less arduous with a conversation. This workshop will provide an environment to discuss several case studies of potential situations that students, instructors, and mentors may encounter on campus while trying to navigate their own and other’s diversities. We will work together to come up with better ways to handle misunderstandings when they arise, and ways to anticipate and prevent potential discord in the classroom. Join us and start the conversation on how to start the conversation.


Using Twitter to Build Community Within Large Classes and Departments
Mindy McCarville and Lara Gibson
Dalhousie University

Over the last two years, we have introduced Twitter accounts (@Dal_CellBio and @DalBiodiversity) to our large (400-600 students per year), core second year classes. The intention of these accounts is to promote discipline-related articles and links, as opposed to using it as a class administration tool. In this workshop, we will present an overview of our experiences thus far, including the process by which we set up our accounts, how these accounts have evolved over time, examples of the types of tweets that we have posted, and limitations and challenges. We aim to demonstrate that using a class twitter account allows us to link our students to both local and global research and foster a sense of community. In the second half of the workshop, we would like to facilitate a broader discussion with participants regarding their experiences with social media in the classroom and also the larger issue of our roles and responsibilities as account moderators.


Photosynthesis, a look inside the leaf
Catarina Mata
City University of New York, BMCC

In this short lab the anatomy of leaves is connected to the physiology of gas exchange during photosynthesis. After learning about gas exchange, and differences in photosynthesis in C3 and C4 plants, students will make fresh cuts of commonly available leaves of both and look at the location of the cells that have most chloroplasts, and the location of the phloem. Students will relate the distance from the stomata, to the location of carbon fixation in both C3 and C4 plants, they will also look at stomata in fresh epidermal peels. If time allows, this lab can have an ecological adaptations side, giving students’ leaves from different ecosystems and having them relate external and internal anatomy to the environment they are adapted to.


Fun with Videos: Difficult Concepts Made Accessible
Lakshmi Chilukuri, Lorlina Almazan, Ana Gomez
University of California, San Diego

Augmenting required reading with user-friendly multimedia tools focused on conceptual trouble spots caters to multiple learning approaches and promotes the use of interactive techniques such as iClickers and Peer Instruction. In our experience, students are more engaged in class when they participate in problem-based learning and discussion. Readership of assigned material increases when associated with visual tools. We hypothesize that once a concept has been introduced, students who have explored the subject at their own pace through the use of well-designed online tools will be more likely to engage in stimulating discussion, derive greater benefit from the curriculum, and are less likely to commit errors. We will demonstrate the use of an innovative technology, the Learning Glass, using one physiological concept and one numerical concept and share our successful implementation. In this workshop, participants will mimic the student experience with a difficult microbial physiology concept, the Kligler Iron Agar and the corresponding online tool. We will also present examples of other such concept videos. Sample segments of the Kligler online tool can be viewed at:


Good mutation? Bad mutation? A Simulation Based on Sickle Cell Disease to Teach the Hardy-Weinberg Principle
Robalino Javier
Educational Media Group, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Sickle Cell Disease is a serious genetic condition caused by the abnormal folding of hemoglobin. Surprisingly, the mutations that cause this disease occur at unusually high frequencies in some human populations. HHMI’s short film “The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans” documents the fascinating story of how the connection between the Sickle Cell trait and malaria was discovered, documenting a genetic trade-off that affords a selective advantage to humans living in regions where malaria is endemic. The participants of this workshop will work in groups to perform a hands-on simulation, analyze their data, and share ideas on how to implement this activity in their courses. This simulation helps students understand how allele frequencies change (or not) from generation to generation under different selective pressures. The activity underscores the basic principles underlying Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium, placing abstract concepts in a context that students can more easily understand.


Encouraging metacognition through mandatory exam review
Pam Connerly
Indiana University Southeast

Some of the most memorable and exciting experiences in teaching occur when students grasp what they need to change in their approach to learning, make that change, and sharply improve their understanding and performance. Yet, simply describing good study practices in class is not sufficient to inspire all students to work harder and smarter to learn the important concepts. Students are often receptive to feedback after under-performing on exams, but they are not always willing to seek out help and advice from the instructor. I have designed an Exam Intervention Policy that requires students to meet with me and complete a quiz and exam review process if they score a C- or lower on an exam. Having a policy ensures that all students at-risk of not achieving the C required for biology majors at least have a conversation with me about exam preparation techniques and exam-taking skills. Assessment of the effectiveness of the intervention is ongoing. In this mini workshop, I will present details about my policy and lead a discussion with attendees on their techniques, reflections, and suggestions for helping students improve their study processes and exam success.


Intuitive computational modeling as a method to teach about biological and biochemical processes using Cell Collective
Nicholas Galt
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Traditional lecture and textbook-based learning format in life sciences courses makes it challenging for students to fully conceptualize and appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of biological and biochemical processes. We have developed a new learning approach that enables students to build, simulate, and investigate computational models of processes embedded in biological systems. This method is facilitated through an easy-to-use software, Cell Collective (, that makes this computational modeling approach accessible to any student and instructor (i.e., no prior computational modeling experience is necessary). The learning modules have been designed to be self-contained, and adoptable by any instructor. This computational approach has been used at several levels, including large introductory courses, upper-level undergraduate, and graduate courses, as well as high school. The setting of its utility is also flexible; the modeling activities can be used in-class, assigned as homework, as well as deployed as extensive lab investigations. During this workshop, we will briefly present the theoretical basis for the computational modules, highlight available learning modules, and assist participants in developing and simulating a computational model related to one of the learning modules.


Crafty Low-Cost Molecular Biology Manipulatives
Jennifer Schroeder
Young Harris College

The abundant availability of computer-aided graphics and videos to display the complexities of biological systems at the molecular level has been beneficial to student learning, especially for those who respond well to visual aids. Concern over retention of material presented in this manner has led us to create a number of kinesthetic models that require active student participation. In this workshop, we will present a number of classroom models and activities that we have used to demonstrate concepts such as: electron configuration and chemical bonds, transcription, translation, electron transport chains, and cytoskeleton assembly. While some of these models work well for introductory-level biology courses, many are designed to highlight the finer details covered in upper-level molecular biology courses. Materials used to create these models are inexpensive and require varying degrees of artistic/skill level. In addition to providing low-cost options, most of these models were developed because no commercial models were available. Participants will be provided descriptions and/or detailed designs for many of these models and will be given the opportunity to participate in at least two specific group activities.


Biological Data Analysis:  the Linear Regression Controversy
Rabi Murad
University of California, Irvine

As technology continues to increase the amounts of data accessible to biologists, the use of effective data analysis becomes important. Many students are not equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle these data sets. With an active learning activity, we explore two recent and related research articles. They have two different conclusions using the same data set concerning the cause of tumorigenesis differing only in the application of linear regression analysis. In this workshop, students learn about linear regression, how it is useful, and then utilize this knowledge to determine which research group correctly analyzed the data. The class is split, and the two groups hold a mock debate to hone their scientific communication skills on this subject.


Everything I know About Lichens, I Learned from My Students: Implementing a Problem Based Learning Class for Non-Majors Biology Students
Myra Carmen Hall
Perimeter College at Georgia State University

Sometime around the spring of 2013 I lost my mind and told my Department Chair that I wanted to teach a problem based learning class (PBL). Most folks have probably heard of a PBL but just so we are on the same page, a Problem Based Learning class is a student centered method of teaching that originated with medical school students. Students work in groups to solve open-ended questions. Students are typically taught to frame the problem in terms of what they know, what they need to know, and how they will find the information they need. Attendees of this workshop will have the opportunity to model the introduction to one such problem. This will be followed by an open question/answer session about my experience, the type of questions that lend themselves to this type approach, and preparation for teaching using this method. Afterwards we will discuss the pros and cons of using PBL models in general and the special challenges of using it in a non-majors biology course. We will conclude with a summary of the affect PBL had on the learning outcomes of the students in a PBL class compared to those in a traditional lecture based class.


Snap Circuits Make Gene Circuits a *SNAP*!
Ann Yezerski
King’s College

One of the current trending terms in molecular biology is “gene circuit” which refers to the genetic control of intricate enzymatic pathways that are responsible for biochemical processes in the body. The more we learn about the molecular genetics and physiology of these pathways, the more difficult it is for students to conceive of all the interactions. In order to make these complex concepts more understandable, I have created an exercise using electrical circuits as analogs. Since electrical circuits can be just as complicated to understand, I use a child’s educational toy kit designed to teach electronics known as Snap Circuits. Through these activities, students can model pathways being studied in class and also be challenged to build their own gene circuit for any biochemical process. An example will be presented which applies the concepts to the classic fly eye color laboratory exercise. Participants will construct their own basic pathways and discuss options for use in courses such as Genetics, Biochemistry, and Cell Biology.


Introductory Biology Labs for Students with Low Vision
Maria Mays and Jennifer Schroeder
Young Harris College

Biology laboratory activities can be difficult to modify for low vision or visually impaired students. Here we will demonstrate and allow participants to experience several laboratory activities adapted for low vision or visually impaired students. Currently, the models available for use in the visually impaired biology classroom are both expensive and only available for a few topics. These models also typically get poor reviews from students especially those that are still learning braille. Adapting the same laboratory activities that will be completed by students without low vision for the use of students with low vision is beneficial in ensuring that all students are able to learn the material and do well in the course. Offering the same laboratory activity for all students is also beneficial in maintaining a cohesive classroom. The laboratory activities presented here will include modifications on labs for college introductory biology and could be adapted for high school or upper level college biology courses. Topics covered include animal diversity, evolution, cell biology, and genetics. There will be an opportunity to experience several of these activities and the opportunity to discuss other activities that cannot be completed due to time constraints.


Engaging Non-Major Biology Students in a Biology Laboratory through Service Learning Activities
Sarah Cerra
New Mexico State University Alamogordo

Student engagement of non-major biology students can be difficult. Some students believe they are not good at science, do not like science, or have other mental blocks regarding biology that sometimes make it difficult for students to be successful in class. Service learning is an opportunity for students to network in their communities through classroom activities. There are many ways a student can complete service learning activities in the community. A service learning project was piloted in which students were asked to complete 8 hours of service learning rather than the traditional out of class experiment set up. Students were then required to turn in a journal of their experience and present to their class. Students described enjoyable experiences and in a few cases, these experiences have helped them to make decisions regarding future careers. Come discuss ways your students can be more engaged in laboratory class while getting involved in their community!


A Fast and Fun Method for Studying Plant Vascular Tissue
Julia Emerson
Amherst College

This workshop describes a simple, inexpensive technique for staining the vascular tissue of plant stems, without having to use lengthy clearing and staining procedures typical of most published techniques. Many introductory biology students are relatively uninterested or averse to learning about plants. We have therefore incorporated this lab activity into the second week of our unit on plant biology. The procedure is simple and fast: students use double-edged razor blades to make thin sections of plant stems, transfer them to a microscope slide and immediately cover each section with a drop of a commercially-available ink. The stained section can then be directly examined on a compound microscope after adding a coverslip. Students generate beautifully-stained sections showing rarely-seen arrangements of xylem and phloem in simpler plants such as club mosses and whisk ferns, for comparison to typical textbook examples of the vascular tissue in angiosperm stems. This activity encourages students to become actively engaged in their studies of plant anatomy and physiology, and it is highly suitable for courses that have limited time and monetary budgets to devote to lab activities. Workshop participants will be able to try out this procedure themselves.


The Leap from Lecture: Using a Case-Based Approach in a Large Intro Bio Course
Julie Collins
University of Wisconsin, Madison

In this session, I will introduce a case-based approach to Introductory Biology and discuss how it parallels and differs from traditional lecture-based formats. We have run this curriculum for two semesters so far, with promising results. Students work in cohorts of 24 through 6 biological cases that cumulatively cover core concepts in Evolution, Ecology, and Plant Physiology. Students compose individually written solutions to each case and receive formative feedback on their writing and their conceptual understanding. Faculty meet with groups of about 8 students each, once per case to promote higher level thinking and more detailed research.
Participants will learn how we organized this approach to accommodate 216 students, review example cases & student responses, and discuss how we developed the cases we use in this course. We view this format as an immersion approach to Introductory Biology. Somewhat like a language course’s semester abroad, students are placed in the midst of complex biological systems and must learn the vocabulary and grammar required to analyze them through a self-directed learning process. I am excited to share our experiences with the ABLE community!


Using Mastermind game to teach experimental critical thinking skills
Cole Megan
Emory University

Students can struggle with the complexity of experiments and data. Teaching them to think critically through an experimental design to control their variables and to think about all alternative explanations for data can be a challenge. One fun way to allow students to practice these skills is to use the game of Mastermind. Mastermind is a code-breaking game that can be played with just colored pencils and paper. In lab it can be used as an ice-breaker activity that also sharpens students' critical thinking and communication skills.


Non-Visual Laboratory Activities for Biology
Debbie Fiore
Bridgewater State University

The discipline of biology is extremely visual; it relies on a person’s ability to observe and study the world around them. It is a challenge to teach the concepts of biology to individuals in a laboratory setting who are unable to use their sense of sight. Non-sight required lab activities were pursued and implemented for visually impaired student in the non major’s General Principles of Biology Laboratory Course to address concerns that the sight-required laboratory activities were not optimal for the visually impaired and may be diminishing their overall lab experience. This session will introduce and demonstrate some of the non-visual biology laboratory activities that were developed and are currently being used in the Non Majors General Principles of Biology Laboratory Course at Bridgewater State University.


Presenting Practical Botany to Engage Students
Karen McMahon
The University of Tulsa

These lab exercises highlight economically useful plants and botanical products to engage non-majors in the Plants and Society Laboratory, a course in the general curriculum which is taken to satisfy the science requirement. Exercises include: viewing free-hand sections of parsnips with differential staining to understand the functional organization of roots; examining fibers from plant-derived fabrics to illustrate the differences between primary cell walls and secondary cell walls; making paper from locally collected plants to demonstrate the usefulness of plant fibers; demonstrating a drying test and iodine test for plant oils to illustrate the degree of unsaturation in plant oils; and making soap from plant oils. Students readily embraced these laboratory activities and came to recognize the importance and value of plants to society.


Human Race(s)
Amy Marion
New Mexico State University

What exactly is “race”? Is race best defined as a social, a geographical, or a biological concept? Is race strictly a cultural characteristic? How should we define race or distinguish one racial group from another? More importantly, should we distinguish people by race? The Human Race(s) lab exercise was designed for a non-science major’s course in Human Biology. In this experiment, the hypothesis that human races are biologically different from each other is evaluated by determining the genetic relatedness between people. Students begin by calculating the genetic diversity within and between 3 subspecies of chimpanzees to demonstrate how gene sequences can be used to see the relationships between organisms. Comparisons of mtDNA sequences are used as evidence for or against the idea that different chimpanzee races (subspecies) are genetically distinct. After analyzing chimpanzee genetic diversity, students explore race as a genetic concept within human populations by comparing mtDNA sequences from multiple people of either European, African, or Asian origin. ABLE mini-workshop participants will conduct the Human Race(s) lab exercise by accessing Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s BioServers to obtain the mtDNA sequences and use their sequence comparison software.


How to do labs on a small budget
Kathy Schwab and Amanda Masino
Huston-Tillotson University

Huston-Tillotson University is a small university in Austin, Texas, with a very limited budget. We have designed labs that will work on this small budget. And we thought others, particularly those from small colleges with limited budgets, might like to know how we do this. We will give some examples of inexpensive labs including active learning/inquiry-based labs.


Strategies for a Hybrid Classroom: an Online Activity for Understanding Figures from Primary Literature
Sarah Carmona and Debra Mauzy-Melitz
University of California, Irvine

Universities have been transitioning towards virtual classrooms as teachers and administrators attempt to broaden their scope and confront a rapidly expanding student population. While some schools are offering courses or degrees fully online, a more widespread practice is to offer courses as “hybrids” which combine traditional lectures with an online learning supplement. One issue arising from this format is lower student engagement within the virtual classroom, resulting in decreased retention. To combat this, I created an online activity designed to engage students with the material while promoting higher-order critical thinking. This activity was originally created as a supplement to help biology undergraduates understand how to interpret figures from primary research articles. After a brief introduction on figures, students were presented with a new scenario and asked to solve problems through a series of multiple choice and free response questions. Participants in this engaging mini workshop will experience the activity as a student and administrator. Key points of discussion will include how to promote critical thinking and active learning in an online setting. This activity and the ideas presented in this workshop can act as resources for participants who are designing their own hybrid lectures.


Enhancing laboratory education with student-created videos
Carrie Doonan, Emily Drill, and Annette Vincent
Carnegie Mellon University

While videos of many laboratory techniques are available online, these lack the details necessary to be useful as preparation for our specific laboratory courses. To address this, students in the upper-level Experimental Genetics Lab Class at Carnegie Mellon University were assigned a video project with the goal of clearly demonstrating a concept or technique for use as a current and accurate reference for pre-lab preparation. Videos were assessed based on criteria of usefulness, content, clarity, accuracy, as well as peer, class and partner assessment. During the planning stages, the instructors carefully considered the advantages and dis-advantages of this project, as it replaced an experiment in the current lab curriculum. This workshop will cover the planning and implementation of the videos, from topic assignment to the film screening and evaluation day in class. We will demonstrate some video projects, and discuss the challenges this project presented. Finally, we will ask for feedback on the projects.


Progressive Concept Mapping in Lab: Building Connections All Semester Long
Krystal Gayler and Marielle Hoefnagels
University of Oklahoma

One challenge in learning biology is conceptualizing how the pieces of a complex story fit together. A typical exam might cover chemistry and cells before the course moves on to genetics and inheritance, but students may never understand how those units relate to each other or to evolution and ecology. To address this issue, we implemented a semester-long concept mapping project in our non-majors biology lab. Early in the semester, small groups of students created concept maps covering the basic concepts of cell chemistry. After review, a corrected map was pushed out to the entire class. When it was time to build the next section, students started with the correct map and added concepts related to DNA, proteins, cell division and inheritance. A few weeks later, we added evolution; ecology came last. This exercise demonstrated the continuity between the textbook, the lab, and the lecture, an aspect previously missing from the class. In this workshop, we will explain why and how we implemented this project. If time allows, workshop participants will use an app to start building a concept map for their own courses.


Using Zotero Online Citation Manager for a Group Literature Review Assignment
Susanne Altermann
Whitman College

Free online reference software Zotero can be used to help students build a skill set in writing biological literature reviews. Workshop participants will learn how to use Zotero in such a way that students can keep track of many papers, share their annotations of the primary literature with other students, and benefit from other students’ tags and notes. This writing intensive activity is not grading-intensive, it promotes sharing work with peers, and provides students with valuable practice using a citation software. This mini-workshop is appropriate for any instructor who wants to add a scaffolded writing assignment to a lab or lecture class or who wants to build on written work from past academic terms. The workshop will be especially valuable to faculty in programs requiring written senior theses.


Creating Browser Based Interactive Keys and Documents in Class: Two Easy-to-Use Tools for Your EdTech Toolkit
A. Daniel Johnson
Wake Forest University

Interactive browser-based documents have many uses in biology teaching: branching keys, If/Then narratives, ecosystem summaries, etc. Participants will learn how to use two free cross-platform tools to create interactive HTML documents they can view with any browser. Twine is a standalone cross-platform program in which create individual pages of text and media, then link them using page name tags to create the desired narrative paths. jQuery Mobile is a feature-rich Javascript framework used in interactive mobile sites that easily adapts to classroom use. jQuery Mobile is a very simple, approachable introduction to HTML coding because it uses cut-and-paste blocks of HTML. It is well within the capabilities of novices, and students can continue building on what they learn. Neither tool requires IS support, so they can be incorporated into a course with minimal effort. Workshop participants will leave with two starter HTML documents, one built in Twine, and one with jQuery Mobile. Participants are asked to bring their own laptops or device to work on documents.                           


A Milky Approach to Enzymes
Anitha Iyer and Linda W. Crow
Lone Star College-Montgomery

A hands-on wet-lab approach will be used in this mini workshop. The focus is on enzyme action which is an important topic in both the majors and non-majors biology courses. This particular lab has been piloted in the non-majors biology course. It uses common grocery store materials and focuses on the enzyme, Lactase. Enzyme labs can be difficult due to measurement challenges. The proposed workshop will demonstrate the use of urine test strips to address this. We have designed a simple procedure that uses different types of milk and soy products. A lactase solution will be added to the solutions. Using the urine test strips we will check for glucose levels. Proper reading of nutritional labels and graphing is also a focus for this lab. This lab also lays the foundation for a discussion of lactose intolerance and the impact of enzymatic controls in the body. A complete procedure along with discussion questions will be provided.


How Close Can You Stay - Being a Locavore
Christine Petersen and Lyn Baldwin
Thompson Rivers University

This workshop will feature the “How Close Can You Stay” project and value of eating locally and the positive experience that this had on our BIOL 3430 Plants & People students thru the presentation of their work and opinions. It is great opportunity to share the sphere of influence that biology courses can have in regards to our relationship with plant based foods and our local communities. Specifically, students chose a recipe using as local foods as possible in mid-winter. They created a poster featuring their recipe, listing where ingredients came from, and included a map showing how far the ingredients traveled. Students then prepared their recipes and as a class we gathered for a feast! To capture their experiences and thoughts they were to write a creative nonfiction blog about being a locavore. At this workshop we will present student work in the form of poster images and excerpts from their essays. The benefits are twofold: to share the project idea with fellow educators and encourage the concept of eating locally. I will be getting the audience to participate in an interactive portion during my presentation.  This will be a 5 minute survey where I will get people in small groups to guess where they think a certain list of plant foods come from using a map. We will go over their results and compare to the findings of our students subject to seasonality.


PhotosynQ: Massively collaborative project-based Phenotyping platform
Greg Austic
Michigan State University

PhotosynQ is a platform to organize the collection, analysis, sharing and discussion of scientific quality sensor data for teachers, scientists, and ag professionals. It connects real world research with education, so students can engage in projects with impact. It has tools so teachers can track student effort, collaboratively analyze the resulting data, publish results, and connect with scientists around the world. This workshop will walk participants through an actual project, using a low cost fluorometer to measure photosynthesis.


Using Socratic Questioning to Encourage Curiosity and Critical Thinking and to Enhance Problem Solving Skills
Jean Heitz
University of Wisconsin, Madison

We question all the time in life. We are all familiar with how many questions children ask as they are learning about their world. Some of these are verbal questions; others involve probing or interacting with our environment to learn how things work. Questioning helps us connect the new information we collect with what we already know. Sometimes we forget this when it comes to teaching. We often spend more time on what we as instructors will do than on what we want our students to learn. We polish our presentations and make sure that all the instructions are clearly spelled out for e.g. a given lab protocol. In effect we are asking our students work with “what we learned”. We are not teaching them “how we learned it” and as a result how they can learn.
In this session I will introduce effective ways to use Socratic questioning and engage participants in activities they can use to teach others (e.g. TAs and students) how it can be used to break down and work through problems and to reinforce critical thinking skills.
Associated documents: Socratic Questioning “Toolbox” Encouraging Curiosity, Questioning and Critical Thinking article by J Heitz and M Meyer.


Introducing Students to the “Big Ideas” in Biology
Jean Heitz
University of Wisconsin, Madison

In this session I will share the presentation that I use during the first session of a course to introduce students to:
• What biology is and what options they have for different majors in biology.
• How to approach learning by scaffolding what they learn around the big ideas or concepts in biology. These include the AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes* and the AAAS Vision and Change**
• The types of thought processes and questions they will need to use to address an example “real life” scenario.
This lays the groundwork with our students for the types of thought processes, problem solving and inquiry we work to incorporate in all aspects of our Introductory Biology courses – lecture, lab and discussion/recitation.
*AAC&U’s Essential Learning Outcomes:
**AAAS Vision and Change:


Putting Bryophytes into the Biology Lab Curriculum
Linda Fuselier
University of Louisville

Bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts) are small plants that are often overlooked as model organisms in biology labs. Bryophytes are easy to obtain, culture and maintain and there are multiple areas of the curriculum into which studies of bryophytes fit. This mini workshop will introduce participants to several ways to incorporate mosses and liverworts into the biology laboratory. The workshop leader has successfully used bryophytes to teach plant evolution and experimental design in introductory biology, plant anatomy and life histories in botany labs, and basic molecular forensics in molecular ecology labs and to involve undergraduate students in field and lab research. The workshop will include an introduction to bryophytes, examples of several species that are easy to culture and maintain, culturing methods and inexpensive, tested lab activities that use readily obtained bryophytes. Participants will identify common mosses and liverworts, harvest gemmae for starting their own cultures and experience a dye movement competition among moss contenders. All activities are meant to increase knowledge about bryophytes, their biology and ecology, and encourage participants to use bryophytes as model organisms in their labs and research.

SESSION I: 8:30 - 9:20am


>>> Return to Top

SESSION II: 11:00 - 11:50am


>>> Return to Top

SESSION III: 1:30 - 2:20pm


>>> Return to Top

SESSION IV: 3:00 - 3:50pm


>>> Return to Top



All contents copyright © 2015, Association for Biology Laboratory Education. Last updated May 19, 2016 . All rights reserved.