Navigation Links
Evolution education for K-12 teachers needs beefing up, says CU-Boulder professor
Date:2/15/2009

A failure to grasp the fundamentals of biological systems may be leaving K-12 teachers and students vulnerable to claims by intelligent design creationists, new-age homeopaths and other "hucksters," according to a University of Colorado at Boulder biology professor.

On the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin's classic book "The Origin of Species" that first described natural selection in detail, polls still show that only about one third of Americans believe evolution is supported by scientific evidence, said Professor Mike Klymkowsky of CU-Boulder's molecular, cellular and developmental biology department. "The questions we are asking ourselves as scientists and educators is what the problem is here, and what are the objections to evolution," he said.

Klymkowsky said the disconnect is due in part to the inability of students and the public to understand the evidence for and the mechanisms behind the evolutionary process. There is difficulty in grasping the idea that random biochemical events can produce novel and useful adaptations, he said, and an inability to understand how such random events take place at the molecular and cellular level to generate evolutionary change.

"We can't leave students with mysteries about how biochemical processes work, because that's when nonscientific information sneaks in," he said. Klymkowsky gave two presentations on innovative science education programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting held Feb. 12-15 in Chicago.

Klymkowsky and CU-Boulder Research Associate Kathy Garvin-Doxas co-developed the Biology Concept Inventory at CU-Boulder, which includes online surveys to measure undergraduate understanding of fundamental biological concepts. The inventory is especially useful when it is administered to students prior to course instruction to allow professors to better understand the needs of students in particular courses, he said.

The BCI effort also includes obtaining short essays from thousands of students regarding their understanding of evolution and natural selection, genes and traits, including the notion of dominant and recessive genes, he said. Such essays have helped to identify commonly held misconceptions of biochemical processes, he said. As part of BCI, Klymkowsky and his colleagues also surveyed campus science faculty in different disciplines to assess which key concepts and ideas in fundamental biology they felt should be covered.

Klymkowsky and Clemson University chemistry Professor Melanie Cooper were recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year project titled Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything, or CLUE. The project includes developing a general chemistry curriculum using the emergence and evolution of life as a springboard to introduce and explain related chemistry concepts, Klymkowsky said.

Klymkowsky also is involved in the national Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics program at CU-Boulder, designed to improve introductory science and math courses and to recruit and train future K-12 science teachers. CU's STEM program includes CU-Teach, an undergraduate program found on the Web at http://www.colorado.edu/cuteach that leads to a math or science degree and a secondary education teaching license in four years.

"A staggering percentage of the American public, ranging from plumbers to presidential candidates, fail to accept, at least in part because they don't understand, the evidence for and mechanisms behind evolutionary processes," said Klymkowsky. "Understanding the nuts and bolts of biological systems is important for all students, and particularly critical for those planning to become biology teachers or general science teachers."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mike Klymkowsky
Michael.Klymkowsky@colorado.edu
303-919-4874
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Pubic hair provides evolutionary home for gorilla lice
2. Singapore-US scientists first to develop revolutionary microchip that uses 30 times less energy
3. Researchers observe evolution chain reaction
4. Comparative genomics reveals molecular evolution of Q fever pathogen
5. Evolution and climate change research advances at Rutgers-Camden
6. Dinosaur fossils fit perfectly into the evolutionary tree of life
7. Billion-year revision of plant evolution timeline may stem from discovery of lignin in seaweed
8. The Evolution of Human Aggression: Feb. 25-27 conference
9. Evolutionary process more detailed than previously believed, study shows
10. Scientists uncover evolutionary keys to common birth disorders
11. Primate culture is just a stones throw away from human evolution, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)... March 31, 2016   ... or the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to ... its soon to be launched online site for trading ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense ... technology to an industry that is notorious for fraud. ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... BOCA RATON, Florida , March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect ... Synthetic DNA in ink used in a variety of ... preventing theft. Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes ... authenticity through forensic analysis of the DNA. ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry ... Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission ... hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, ... community, has closed its Series A funding round, according ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund ... to meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez ... to complete validation on the current projects in our ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® ... provides a free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root ... CT at no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016 Cell Applications, Inc. and ... to produce up to one billion human induced ... one week. These high-quality, consistent stem cells enable ... and spend more time doing meaningful, relevant research. ... high-volume manufacturing process that produces affordable, reliable HiPSC ...
Breaking Biology Technology: