Pedagogy and inquiry-based learning
Strategies to incorporate modeling in today’s biology classroom
Models (simplified representations of more complex systems or processes) are ubiquitous in science. They are diverse; models can be concrete, verbal, symbolic, visual, or gestural. With the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; K-12) in mind, we showed that model-based teaching can incorporate diverse strategies in today's classrooms in order to enhance learning (Bryce et al. 2016). We also suggested a variety of "best practices" for using model-based teaching in different situations. Ultimately, we argued that model-based thinking is not strictly relevant to the sciences, but is also an everyday phenomenon. The ability to create, manipulate, and communicate models will give students a set of skills that is useful throughout life.
I am proud to share authorship with the 2013-14 UCSC SCWIBLES team (which comprised several grad students and faculty in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department and the Environmental Studies department). This article represents a culmination of hundreds of hours in the classroom, as we designed and implemented inquiry-based curricula, and in group discussions where we debated the finer points of model-based learning. Through this experience, we each became better teachers and communicators of science.