Biology Institute - 2020 Weeklong Courses (Select 2)

When registering for the conference, you will select one pedagogy course and one content course. All courses are taught in the Harkness, student-centered discussion pedagogy with hands-on lab activities. Courses are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If a course title does not appear on the registration form, it is filled to capacity.

Period 1: Pedagogy

(Select One)

Teaching Biology Around the Harkness Table: Hands-On, Discussion-Based Learning

LeadersRich BenzChris Matlack

This course will introduce teachers to the Harkness philosophy of teaching. Hands-on, discussion-based biology instruction around an oval table is the teaching method, named after its benefactor at Phillips Exeter Academy, that will be explored by participants. We will introduce some main themes of biology by utilizing the Harkness teaching philosophy (question, think, discuss and do). The role of homework in exposing the students to the material before every class much like “flipping the classroom” will be modeled. Participants will also see how hands-on laboratory work can be used to introduce new material, strengthen developing ideas in current material, or bring closure to material at the end of a unit.


STEM Strategies Focusing on Biology

Leader: Jeff Lukens

The belief that STEM education is a good idea is tough to dispute. The "all-in" adoption of STEM education in U.S. schools is, however, quite rare. The reasons are many and varied, but the grim fact is that the implementation of school-wide (or even department-wide) STEM strategies requires open mindedness, cooperation, collaboration and compromise on the part of teachers and other school leaders. However, if we are serious about living out our own leadership responsibilities, WE can be the ones to drive the STEM bus into town. The first letter in the acronym, "S", is there for a reason. Science has to be the driving force behind any successful STEM effort. In this BIE course offering, we will do several lab activities that address central themes in every Biology class, including Enzyme Catalysis, Transpiration, Cell Respiration, Diffusion, and more. Data will be collected using "T" (technology) and evaluated using "M" (mathematics) and "E" (principles of engineering). Even if your school does not have access to state-of-the-art technology, the techniques and strategies that we use will be adaptable to any lab situation in which you find yourself. 


Period 2: Content

(Select One)

Learning Through Arguments: Integrating Data Analysis with Biology Concepts in the Classroom

Leader: Stanley Lo

In this course, we will examine how scientific argumentation can be integrated in the learning of biology concepts. Using selected classrooms activities from the book Scientific Argumentation in Biology (published by the National Science Teachers Association), we will discuss how students can learn biology concepts in the curriculum while simultaneously analyzing data, generating arguments, evaluating alternatives, and refuting claims. Together, we will experience these interactive activities around the Harkness Table and discuss how to implement them in our individual classrooms. As part of the course, we will also collaboratively develop additional scientific argumentation activities.


Marine Biology: A Hands-On, Place-Based Field Course

Leader: Rich Aaronian

Even though the NH coastline is short, it is comprised of a variety of habitats. In this course, we will discuss these habitats, but will concentrate on the rocky intertidal zone: its physical features, identification of organisms and their adaptations to this challenging environment. A field trip to the coast is scheduled so that you can observe it firsthand and then bring invertebrate organisms back to the lab’s wet table for more detailed observation and identification.