SCI 570           Issues in Evolution for Teachers                       Summer 2003


Instructor:                                                                                Class Meets:

Dr. David W. Rudge   (                 Jul 21-25  8:30-4:00 pm

Mr. Eric Howe            (                      1127 Wood Hall

Office: 3134 Wood Hall

Phone: 387-2779


Required Texts/Materials:       

National Academy of Sciences (1998) Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. (This will be distributed to all students.)


Course Description:

"Evolutionary biology is a particularly difficult topic to teach for most science teachers. This workshop highlights various strategies (e.g. using simulations, identifying and building on alternative conceptions) participants can use to introduce students to concepts and skills associated with the study of biological evolution. Emphasis will be placed on how teachers can use evolution to enhance understanding of key biological concepts and how scientists study biological phenomena from an evolutionary perspective. Beyond this, the workshop also demonstrates how the study of evolutioncan be used to help students better appreciate how science differs from other forms of human inquiry. (Note: this rigorous course is specifically designed for Masters Students in Science Education)." (WMU Center for Science Education Summer Workshops/Courses SUMMER 2003, p. 3)


Course Rationale

Like other science content workshops offered through the Center for Science Education, this workshop is intended to aid inservice teachers in their life long development as learners of science and provide them with innovative strategies for how to facilitate science learning in their classrooms.  This particular course is being offered at the graduate level for the benefit of individuals pursuing a masters degree in the Mallinson Institute for Science Education.


Broad Goals for SCI 570

Students will:

1)    deepen their understanding of the fundamental concepts of evolutionary biology;

2)    become aware of misconceptions they and their children have about evolutionary processes;

3)    become familiar with techniques that can be used to faciliate the learning of evolution and the nature of science; and,

4)    refine one or more of these techniques for use in their own classrooms.


Course Objectives for SCI 570

By the end of this course, students will:

·      re. Goal 1, students will demonstrate their mastery of key evolution concepts;

·      re. Goals 2, students will discuss misconceptions about evolutionary processes and strategies for how to help children overcome these misconceptions;

·      re. Goal 3, students will participate in a variety of hands on, minds on, activities aimed at improving their understanding of evolutionary processes and the nature of science;

·      re. Goal 4, students working in groups will microteach using an activity from our text and will also develop a separate activity for use in their own classrooms.





Instructional Methods and Activities

SCI 570 meets daily for a week. A variety of pedagogical strategies will be used, including brief lectures, activities, discussions and videotapes. Time will be provided on Thursday to prepare for group microteaching presentations on Friday; some time will also be provided on  Thursday and Friday to work on the two major projects for the course.


References and Resources

Course web site:


Policies and Procedures

Attendance and participation:

Attendance and participation in class is required of all students. More importantly, the discussions scheduled for class times are an essential part of your professional preparation.


Students with Special Needs:

Students with disabilities or other special needs who need special accommodations in this course are invited to share these concerns or requests with the instructor as soon as possible.


Academic Honesty

You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the 2001-2002 WMU Graduate Catalog that pertain to Academic Integrity, pp. 24-26. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.


Course requirements: 

Students will evaluated on the basis of several written assignments and participation as follows:


Name of Assignment                                       Points

1. Participation                                                200

2. Microteaching                                             300

3. Lesson Plan                                                500



The class participation grade is not an attendance grade, i.e. you will not recieve any credit in this regard merely for being present at the class. Likewise, you will not receive full credit merely for saying something, however innane. The instructors will assign this part of the grade on a daily basis with reference to whether the student has been an active participant during the day's activities.


The microteaching component of your grade will be evaluated with reference to a specific lesson you develop and practice in small groups that you present as a group on the last day of class. Your group will submit a written lesson plan on Friday. A written meta-discussion of how it went is due on August 8.


The lesson plan component of your grade is an opportunity for you working on your own to revise the lesson plan you did as a group for another grade level. It should be submitted in writing by August 8.

Grading Procedures:

Grades for final assignments 1 day late will be reduced 10%, 2 days late 20%, and more than 2 days late 30%. Final grades for the course will be tabulated by dividing

the total number of points the student has accumulated by 10.

A:        92-100                                                 BA:      88-91

B:        82-87                                                   CB:      78-81

C:        72-77                                                   DC:      68-71

D:        62-67                                                   E:         61 or less



Tentative Schedule


Mon July 21                     Introductions, Review of the Syllabus, The

                                         Silver Box Activity

                                         How to Modify The Silver Box Activity For

                                         Different Grade Levels, Reflections on


                                         Microevolution, The Mystery Phenomenon I

                                         The Mystery Phenomenon II


  Tues July 22                  The Mystery Phenomenon III

                                         Activities to Illustrate Natural Selection

                                         Religion and Science

                                         Free time to work on microteaching and lesson



  Wed July 23                   Tricky Tracks,

                                         Great Transformations


                                         Modified Caminacule Activity for

                                         Different Grade Levels

                                         Island Caminacules

                                         Free time to work on microteaching and lesson



  Thurs July 24                 Free time to work on microteaching and lesson



  Fri July 25                     Microteaching Presentations

                                         Free time to work on lesson plans