SCIE-123-01: Evo Devo Module

4. Teaching notes

14 Mar 2017

About Class Design

This class was designed for undergraduate students attending San Francisco Art Institute. These students were Fine Art majors with little science background.

Goals of Course

An underlying theme of their larger course was to understand the scientific method. The overall goal for this Evo Devo module is to understand the field of Evolutionary Development and understand how Evo Devo scientists approach their research questions.

The Flowers

The reason I choose to use flowers is 1. that they are cheap 2. stable phenotype within species 3. I know a little about them and 4. they are beautiful. I was lucky enough to be looking for flowers in Spring in Berkeley California, so I had many flowers blooming in my neighborhood. Since we did not have access to microscopes, I tried to find flowers where the floral parts were large enough that you did not need maginification to identify parts. I also made sure I did not overrepresent a particular clade within Angiosperm history. I attempted to get the widest spread across Angiosperms as possible with at least one other species “closely” related.

Notes after class was taught

To pass out the flowers, we played White Elephant to distribute the flowers. I wanted to make sure distributing the flowers was both random and allowed to choose (so an interest was invested before dissection).

The class went relatively smoothly. The students thouroughly enjoy the dissection part and were able to identify many of the flower organs without much help.

Next time

I would have a lecture part about flowers and be more specific about what is expected of them before handing out the flowers. Some of the students just started hacking away immediatley and ruined the flowers.

I forsee this class could be expanded in many ways to multiple classes going into phylogenetic tree and molecular evolution.

Images From Class

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1. Diversification of Insect Wing Morphology
2. Species List