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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Community Outreach

Inquiry-Based Curriculum Enhancement

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Materials for L112: Biological Mechanisms
Biochemistry Taboo
Students define concepts of biochemistry using alternative descriptions, as certain words are off limits in this version of the popular game Taboo. Inquiry in the form of creating alternative explanations is the NSES recommendation addressed by this activity.
Cardiac Clinic
In this activity, students apply their knowledge of the heart and the circulatory system to diagnosing and making recommendations for individuals with different heart related problems. Inquiry is not a significant component of this activity, although students do defend an argument both verbally and in writing.
Cells, Science and Questions
In this lesson, students develop conjectures about structure and function of unknown cells and cell processes. The inquiry component is learning to ask appropriate and relevant questions about unfamiliar phenomena. Recommended as a first day activity.
Dissecting Diets
In this activity, students evaluate the claims of scientists and the public press with regard to dietary recommendations. They critique the level support provided for each claim, and are encouraged to consider other factors that could confound the claims being made.
Exploring Molecules
In this activity, students attempt to identify important biological molecules in a 20 Questions game. While doing so, they practice asking questions and learn that some questions are better than others. This activity is ideal for early class periods.
Inheritance Intrigue
In this activity, students solve a case of unclear heredity. Using three lines of evidence, students create the best possible solution. Students practice the inquiry skill of formulating and revising scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Students explore the brain as a whole and examine interactions among regions o the brain using case histories from the book of the same title. Students suggest areas of the brain responsible for different pathologies, and sometimes generate thought experiments to test their suggestions. A textbook that includes figures and/or descriptions of the brain and brain regions is required.
Mendelian Genetics
This lesson is a complex instruction activity. Students use multiple modalities or skills to accomplish an unusual task relating to their understanding of Mendelian genetics. Clear communication comprises the inquiry component of this activity.
Photosynthesis in Flux
In this activity, students explore the influence of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations on photosynthesis at multiple levels of biological organization. This exploration occurs through the analysis of figures from published research and the students' communication of their findings and argument to peers.
Respiration Challenge
In this activity, students examine cellular respiration on a molecular level. In small teams, they solve problems focused on various inhibitors of respiration. Using limited data and their past learning of respiration, students "formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence".
Respiration in Sammy's Cells
Students explore metabolism in the context of aerobic exercise. Inquiry appears as students develop reasonable different answers to the same problems, based on previous knowledge and the factors they consider.
Sex and Reproduction
In this lesson, students explore reproduction in multiple ways. The inquiry components are creating appropriate representations of data and evaluating relatedness of variables, and developing criteria for making judgments.
Understanding Digestion
Students explore digestion in multiple ways during this activity, by examining factors that interact with digestion and by comparing digestion among organisms. In particular, they learn about reading tables and figures.
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This activity challenges students to think about cell components in new and unusual ways. Inquiry does not comprise a significant portion of this activity. Recommended as a review activity.
Who's The Father?
Students examine DNA evidence in a paternity case; this evidence is ambiguous in some respects. Students must determine what evidence is sufficient to make their case. The use of evidence and alternative explanations are the inquiry components of this activity.
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