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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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The Promise and Challenges of Introducing Tree Thinking into Evolution Education

The Promise and Challenges of Introducing Tree Thinking into Evolution Education

Chapter:
(p.93) 5 The Promise and Challenges of Introducing Tree Thinking into Evolution Education
Source:
Evolution Challenges
Author(s):

Kefyn M. Catley

Laura R. Novick

Daniel J. Funk

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730421.003.0005

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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