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Evolution ChallengesIntegrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution$
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Karl S. Rosengren, Sarah K. Brem, E. Margaret Evans, and Gale M. Sinatra

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730421

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 August 2021

The Promise and Challenges of Introducing Tree Thinking into Evolution Education

The Promise and Challenges of Introducing Tree Thinking into Evolution Education

(p.93) 5 The Promise and Challenges of Introducing Tree Thinking into Evolution Education
Evolution Challenges

Kefyn M. Catley

Laura R. Novick

Daniel J. Funk

Oxford University Press

Engaging in tree thinking (using phylogenetic diagrams to interpret and infer historical processes) is a prerequisite for understanding macroevolution. Tree thinking has become increasingly important in biology, with important ramifications for applied fields such as genomics, conservation, epidemiology, and pharmacology. Focusing on what is currently known about cognitive and perceptual constraints on students' tree-thinking skills the chapter reports on the effectiveness of business-as-usual instructional units on tree-thinking concepts in two upper-level classes for Biology majors and discussing how this knowledge can be used to inform curriculum development. The chapter argues for a paradigm shift in the way evolution is taught — from a strong focus on natural selection to a model that visualizes evolution as a broad hierarchical continuum which integrates both micro and macro processes with critical scientific reasoning skills.

Keywords:   phylogenetic trees, cladograms, macroevolution education, nature of science, good continuation, prior knowledge, confirmation bias

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