Scientific Teaching Workshop

Have you ever considered the chasm between science taught in a classroom and science learned at the bench? How can we imbue our classrooms with the critical thinking, scientific rigor, creativity and the spirit of experimentation that defines our research?

This workshop will introduce you to scientific teaching, a teaching strategy that involves students using the practices of science to learn science. Scientific teaching posits that the teaching of science should be faithful to the true nature of science by capturing the process of discovery in the classroom. These methods have been shown to be effective in helping students learn core disciplinary ideas such as applying the process of science, using models, reasoning analytically, developing arguments, creating narratives, and working cooperatively to actively construct knowledge. Workshop highlights include:

  • Using backward design to construct objectives, assessments, and instruction that promotes learner-centered instruction.
  • Creating learning goals and assessments that enable students to demonstrate deep understanding of core concepts through scientific practice.
  • Exploring how to actively engage students in cooperative work and scientific practices in all types of learning environments.Breakfast, lunch, and a coffee break will be provided. This event is co-sponsored by the BSD Postdoctoral Association and the Chicago Center for Teaching.

Breakfast, lunch, and a coffee break will be provided. This event is co-sponsored by the BSD Postdoctoral Association and the Chicago Center for Teaching.
Course capacity: 40.


Diane Ebert-May, Michigan State University

Diane Ebert-May provides international leadership for discipline-based biology education research that integrates life sciences and cognitive science. She promotes professional development, assessment and improvement of faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students who actively participate in creative research about teaching and learning in the context of their scientific discipline. Ebert-May’s research group investigates the impact of undergraduates’ design and use of models and arguments to build conceptual connections across scales in biology and are following students’ progress through a sequence of the major’s biology curriculum. Her book, Pathways to Scientific Teaching (Ebert-May and Hodder eds), is based on active learning, inquiry-based instructional strategies, assessment and research. Ebert-May is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advance of Science, was awarded the Carnegie Foundation & CASE–US Professor of the Year, MI 2011, and received the AIBS Education Award in 2012. Her plant ecology research continues on Niwot Ridge, Colorado, where she has conducted long-term ecological research on alpine tundra plant communities since 1971.

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