During the course of my PhD, as part of certain academic requirements and as part of my outreach activities, I have developed some educational materials. On this page I have listed some of them.
Lessons developed for CCT requirements
As part of the requirements for CCT I had to give two interactive lessons.
Lesson 1: What would it take for you to survive? This lesson was designed using principles of problem based learning. Lesson Plan Presentation
Lesson 2: The dynamic populations of Isle Royale This lesson was designed using principles of co-operative learning and place based learning Lesson Plan Presentation Feedback
Materials developed as part of requirements for my comprehensive exam
Since I am a Discipline Based Education Researcher based in the Department of Plant Biology, as part of my comprehensive requirements, this was one of the questions that I had to address: "The Ph.D. you ultimately receive will be from a Department of Plant Biology. As such, and given your specific expertise in biology education, it should be reasonable to expect that you would be able to design an introductory-level course in plant biology that addresses fundamental principles and employs best practices with respect to pedagogy and assessment. Walk us through the design of such a course. What are the primary learning objectives (both content and skills)? What would the course look like on any given day? How would you assess outcomes?"
The unifying theme across all modules of the course was 'Evolution'. I used principles of place based, inquiry based, and outdoor learning while designing the course. It was specifically designed to take advantage of the habitat and ecological diversity that is present at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), and each section was designed with a focus on a very specific location.
The 4 modules were as follows:
Origin of plants. Location: Wintergreen lake
Emergence of land plants. Location: Crooked lake and Lux Arbor
Plant Ecology. Location: Plant succession trail and the greenhouse.
I developed a lesson that would be implemented during the 1st Module i.e. Origin of Plants. The learning objective was : “Formulate a cost/benefit argument for physiological and behavioral traits in phytoplankton with respect to fitness and evaluate the consequences of ‘decent with modification’ of said physiological characteristics in extant organisms” Materials: Lesson Plan
Additionally, I developed an assessment that would be administered at the end of the 3rd Module i.e. Plant Ecology. It was designed to assess the following competencies and skills:
Ability to apply the process of science
Ability to use quantitative reasoning
Ability to use modeling and simulation
Ability to tap into the interdisciplinary nature of science
Materials developed for lesson on Co-operative learning
I designed and conducted a lesson that was intended to introduce the FAST fellows to co-operative learning strategies in the classroom. Besides principles of co-operative learning, I also included principles of place based learning.
Using a local ecosystem - i.e., Isle Royale, I walked the students through a series of activities that were designed to help them construct models to predict population growth and interactions. During the course of the lesson students also had to develop hypothesis to explain patterns that they saw or predicted.
Materials developed for the Systems Thinking workshop.
I developed and conducted a workshop for K-12 teachers that was geared towards helping them integrate and assess systems thinking skills in their students. I used data from my research to build the workshop.
Materials developed for the Agriculture and Ecology Student Trail
I developed educational activities and teaching materials for the Long Term Ecological Research Program and the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), Michigan State University. These activities were based on research being done at the station and were aimed at improving students’ understanding of agriculture and agricultural practices. I was part of the group that designed an activity booklet based on these activities. Subsequently, I co-authored a teacher’s manual for these activities and a manual for the tour guides. I also trained people to lead tours and led multiple tours myself for students and adults.
The Community Engaged Portfolio section has more details about the development of these materials. Materials:
Materials developed for the Pathways to Scientific Teaching class
As part of the class, I worded in a team of three to develop a lesson that was based on the principles of scientific teaching. The lesson plan - Do plants need sunscreen? - was designed in collaboration with Dr. Stefanie Tietz and Dr. Caleb Trujillo and was intended to teach photosynthetic systems in undergraduate biology. It was based on the following research paper: Li, Z., Wakao, S., Fischer, B. B., & Niyogi, K. K. (2009). Sensing and responding to excess light. Annual review of plant biology, 60, 239-260 Materials: