Written by: Emily Weigel
Primary Source: Choice Words with Choosy_Female
I just got back from presenting at the National Association of Biology Teacher’s annual meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. Despite the mountains of snow, I had a really fun time and met plenty of outstanding teachers in biology and biology education. I was lucky enough to be able to go this year through an invitation from the BEACON/NESCent organizers of the Evolution Symposium. They gave me the task (*gulp*) to conduct a teacher workshop on a recent lesson I and my collaborators published:
Weigel, E. G., DeNieu, M., & Gall, A.J. (2014). Oh, Behave! Behavior as an interaction between genes and the environment. The American Biology Teacher.76(7): 460-465.
This lesson is designed to show the genes and the environment interact to form behaviors, and because the behaviors can change over time, they are subject to evolution. Students first read a review paper on how genes and behavior interact, then model relationships for examples given in the paper. Students are then presented with a novel example from primary literature on imprinting in stickleback. Students are then expected to make predictions and model the relationship between environment, genes, and evolution in forming this behavior.
Those wishing to do the lesson can also email me for the papers, or contact me or the authors directly. They love for their work to be used in education!
You can also expand the lesson through HHMI’s resources on sticklebacks (videos, lesson plans, virtual labs): http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/browse?kw=stickleback
For those wanting to use Data Nuggets (real research data) on sticklebacks, please check out my labmate Alycia Lackey’s two lesson plans here on mate choice and male competition: http://datanuggets.org/2014/06/which-guy-should-she-choose/ http://datanuggets.org/2014/06/fish-fights/ These have teacher guides, rubrics, and student worksheets scalable to your students’ needs and abilities.
Yay for teaching bio, and all the teachers that push their students to master it!