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Evolution 2012: A Workshop for Educators

Date: August 13-15, 2012

Location: NESCent (The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center), Durham, NC

Why do we study evolution? Why do we teach it?  How can we teach it more effectively and engagingly?  How can we draw on cutting edge research in evolution to make it more relevant and exciting to our students?  How can we overcome some of the common obstacles and pitfalls to make teaching and learning evolution more successful and rewarding?

Aimed at instructors at the high school level, this workshop is designed to address all of those questions by providing an overview of key evolutionary concepts and mechanisms, and exploring cutting-edge topics in evolutionary science.  Evolutionary biologists and educators at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) will present topics with an emphasis on recent developments and practical applications. The scientific content will be supported by hands on classroom activities, pedagogy demonstrations and information about teaching resources.  The workshop will include an educational field trip to tour the Duke Lemur Center, one of the foremost prosimian research centers in the world. The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Workshop Leaders

Jory Weintraub - Dr. Weintraub received a Ph.D. in Immunology from UNC Chapel Hill, followed by an NSF-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Science Education.  He taught undergraduate biology for several years at UNC, as well as at several historically minority universities throughout North Carolina.  His areas of focus include faculty development, minority outreach, undergraduate curriculum development and instruction, and instructional technology.

Robin Bulleri – Mrs. Bulleri teaches Biology and AP Biology at Carrboro High School.  She earned a B.S. and M.Ed. from Boston University, and has taught in Massachusetts and North Carolina for 13 years.  She developed this workshop as part of the Kenan Fellows Program, a competitive fellowship that fosters leadership and development in teachers.  Mrs. Bulleri has received numerous grants, developed curricula, and presented at conferences.


RESOURCE PAGE - This page includes a collection of resources to support teaching the material covered in the workshop.



Monday, August 13
8:30 Arrival, coffee & bagels
9:00 Welcome, Goals of the Workshop, Introductions – Robin and Jory
9:30 Importance of teaching evolution; changes in the AP Biology frameworks; NC Essential Standards; teaching evolution as a unifying concept in biology; integrating revised Bloom’s taxonomy into curriculum - Robin
10:00 Origin of Life; Geologic Time – Adam Smith (NESCent Postdoc)
10:45 Break
11:00 Geologic Time Activities (Evolution Card Sort, Deep Time Walk) – Robin
12:00 Lunch on your own
1:15 Systematics; Tree Thinking; Phylogenetics (Content and Activities - Pipe Cleaner Trees, A Walk through the Woods) – Jory
2:45 Break
3:00 “Driving Forces of Evolution” (Mutation, Natural Selection, Genetic Drift, Gene Flow) – Jory
3:45 Natural Selection Activities (Feeding Darwin’s Finches, Survival of the Skittles, Natural Selection of "Teddy Grahams") - Jory
4:30 Wrap-up, Questions, Reflection


Tuesday, August 14
8:30 Arrival, coffee & bagels
9:00 Teaching Through Seminars - Robin
10:30 Break
10:45 Online/Computer-Based Evolution Simulations (Pop. Genetics Simulation, EvoDots, Aipotu, Avida-Ed) - Robin
12:00 Lunch
1:15 Molecular Evolution – Nathan Sheffield (Duke Program in Computational Biology/Bioinformatics)
2:00 Molecular Evidence Activity – Nathan, Robin, Jory
2:45 Break
3:00 Bioinformatics/Phyloinformatics – Robin
3:45 Teaching Evolution Using Case Studies - Jory
4:15 Wrap-up, Questions, Reflection
Wednesday, August 15
8:30 Arrival, coffee & bagels
9:00 Biodiversity/Biogeography – Elizabeth Sbrocco (NESCent Postdoc)
9:45 Biodiversity/Biogeography Activity – Elizabeth, Robin, Jory
10:45 Travel to Duke Lemur Center
11:00 Tour DLC
12:00 Pizza Lunch at DLC
1:30 Human Evolution – Briana Pobiner (Smithsonian Institution)
2:15 Human Evolution Activities - Briana
3:00 Break
3:15 "The History and Challenges of Teaching Evolution in NC"– Janice Swab (Meredith College)
4:15 Wrap-up, Workshop Evaluation, Hand out CEU Certificates

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