You are not currently logged in.

Access JSTOR through your library or other institution:


Log in through your institution.

Journal Article

A New Integrative Approach to Evolution Education

Peter J. T. White, Merle K. Heidemann and James J. Smith
Vol. 63, No. 7 (July 2013), pp. 586-594
DOI: 10.1525/bio.2013.63.7.11
Stable URL:
Page Count: 9
Were these topics helpful?
See something inaccurate? Let us know!

Select the topics that are inaccurate.

  • Download ($42.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Add to My Lists
  • Cite this Item
A New Integrative Approach to Evolution Education
Preview not available


Evolution is a difficult theory for students to understand. Part of the reason for this may be the tendency of instructors to teach evolution in the context of ecological systems, isolated from genetic and cellular mechanisms. To address this, we developed a set of integrative cases that consider the evolution of traits from the genetic scale to the macroecological scale. We implemented two of these cases in a biology course and tested their effectiveness using a pre-and postcourse assessment tool. Students who successfully learned evolution in a case context were better able to explain the molecular basis of mutation, to connect mutation to phenotypic change, and to make mechanistic links between genotypes and phenotypes. These gains were independent of the students’ course achievement and precourse understanding of evolution. These findings support the hypothesis that students who acquire a molecular understanding of evolutionary mechanisms will have a better overall understanding of evolution.

Page Thumbnails

Part of Sustainability