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Education Report for September/October 2010

The AIBS Education Office provides analysis and communication for the AIBS Board, Headquarters Office, and Education Committee on issues of import to the AIBS membership and the larger scientific community. Reports are broadly disseminated by email every few months to AIBS membership leaders and contacts. Special reports are sent more frequently as needed. We have archived these reports here for your information and attention. Read about each report's contents below, then click to read the complete text.

Upcoming Event: "Molecular Insights into Classic Examples of Evolution" Symposium and Workshop

Be sure to join us at the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference (www.nabt2010.org) in Minneapolis for the annual evolution symposium and workshop, cosponsored by AIBS and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). Anyone unable to attend can still participate in the annual evolution symposium via live webcast on Friday, November 5th, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm CDT and watch all or part of the symposium. Viewers will be able to submit questions online and have the speakers respond in real time. For full program information, including speaker names, talk titles, and times, please visit http://www.nescent.org/media/NABTSymposium2010. To participate in the webcast, go directly to http://dukeuniversity.acrobat.com/nabt2010.

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New Module: Using Socioscientific Issues-Based Instruction

AIBS and the Science Education Resource Center have developed a new module that presents the “what,” “why,” and “how to” of socioscientific issues-based instruction, along with five peer-reviewed examples of controversial real-world issues to engage students in learning biology. To access the free module on the ActionBioscience.org website, go to http://www.actionbioscience.org/educators/socioscientific.html.

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Science Posters for Your Classroom

Three new posters have been added to our collection to help communicate key principles about the nature of science in a fun and engaging way. To check them out and get them on your classroom walls this school year, go to the AIBS webstore: http://webstore.aibs.org/category/35998333721/1/Poster.htm.

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Are You an Outreach Coordinator or Informal Educator?

Participate in the Outreach Coordinators and Informal Educators Section (OCIE) section events at the NABT Conference. Exchange ideas, learn about professional development opportunities with BSCS, and join the community on Wednesday, November 3rd during the afternoon section meeting. And on Thursday, November 4th the section is sponsoring a poster session where programs have a chance to reach out to NABT conference attendees. The theme for this year’s poster session is “What online resources/courses does your program use to impact teachers on a local regional, national and/or international level?” Abstracts are due by October 1, 2010. Please submit your proposal online at http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dDVJQ3U4TW9mbDUtZ3BkTkNPTVU3RWc6MA.

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Survey of Essential Topics for Introductory Biology Courses for Biology Majors

For the past two years, a committee of the Four-Year College and University Section of the National Association of Biology Teachers has been attempting to identify a set of topics that all biology students should master prior to entering higher-level biology courses. Preliminary data to be published in the January 2011 issue of The American Biology Teacher indicate that it may be possible to reach agreement on a set of 25 topics that would be minimally required. Consensus on these essential topics would provide instructors with the freedom to choose to teach only these topics or to include more material as their time and interests allow. Eileen Gregory (Rollins College), Jane Ellis (Presbyterian College), Craig Lending (State University of New York at Brockport), and Amanda Orenstein (Centenary College) invite you to participate in an online survey so they may collect additional data for this project: https://survey.itec.suny.edu/opinio/s?s=3870.

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Symposium at Purdue University: "Investigating Students' Scientific Reasoning about Biological Experiments"

On Saturday, November 13th, 2010, a group of doctoral students and faculty who teach introductory biology courses will conduct a symposium about assessments of scientific reasoning. Topics will include experimental design and identifying independent and dependent variables, use of positive and negative controls within an experimental set up, deciding what is feasible to measure, and use and interpretation of visual representations of data. Full details and the registration form are available at https://purdue.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9tVgOWuNuiRPUuE.

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Participate Online in a Youth Conservation Connection Project

Classes and after school groups are invited to participate online in Conservation Connection. Fusing virtual and real experiences, the project uses a combination of WhyReef (the virtual coral reef in Whyville.net), webcasting, video blogging, and a customized social networking site (FijiReef) to connect youth around the issue of environmental conservation. Your group will engage in inquiry-based activities with other Chicago and Fiji teens as they learn about coral reef biology and ecology. To learn more, go to www.youtube.com/whyreef.

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