Friday, August 28, 2009

Scientific names chosen by BIOS 101 students

This semester, in BIOS 101, I asked my students to actually go to the library, handle primary literature (bound journals) in biology, select a paper from the year they were born, select a scientific name from that paper, then photocopy the paper as material for their extemporaneous Friday writings this semester. The name is their organism for the semester, and they will spend the rest of their lives (at least the next 15 weeks) using that name in various ways. This is the first time in UNL history in which well over a hundred freshmen have gone to the library, actually handled real paper publications, primary literature, during their first few days at the university.


Jim Serach said...

JJ - This is a fascinating and incredibly valuable exercise, just getting them to look into the journals alone! But there is a really cool deeper lesson here. I met Ernst Mayr several years back, at a Q & A session at Harvard. I asked what he thought was the most important thing that high school kids ought to know about biology. His response was that they should know the names of things and that they should be outside, seeing and handling living things. In short, they need to get a sense of natural history. What are the writing tasks and questions you use with this assignment?

Jim Serach said...

Another comment - I am intending to lead a teacher workshop at the 2010 ASP on teaching about parasites. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone that uses this blog about what you, as professionals in the field, think high schoolers and middle school students, and their teachers, need to know? I am putting together background information and a set of lab and classroom activities. Thank you!