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Models and Strategies for Teaching Evolution to Non-Science Majors in a Seminar Format

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2017

Katherine V. Bulinski*
Bellarmine Center for Regional Environmental Studies, Bellarmine University, 2001 Newburg Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40205
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A cornerstone of paleontological education is the topic of evolution. While formal evolutionary biology classes made up of lectures and labs are essential for students of biology and paleontology, these classes are closed to most non-science majors because they often require multiple prerequisites. Because of a combination of anti-evolution cultural forces and shortcomings in evolution-based education at the K-12 level, many American college students have not received accurate or effective evolution instruction before entering college. Because a working knowledge of evolution is essential for developing biological scientific literacy, some colleges and universities now offer seminar-style evolution courses designed for non-science majors that can help reverse this trend. Seminars such as these offer students the added opportunity to develop more sophisticated writing, speaking, and critical-thinking skills in the context of evolutionary biology. This chapter highlights two successful course models and two shorter course modules, provides lists of teaching resources, and details a number of different writing and discussion-based pedagogical strategies as they apply to teaching evolution in a seminar setting.

Research Article
Copyright © 2012 by The Paleontological Society 

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