The Sci-Files – 02/14/2021 – Maria Berry – Learning about Learning

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

Maria Berry smiling
Maria Berry

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Maria Berry. In her undergraduate research, Maria studies the effectiveness of a high school biology curriculum in fostering students’ ability to understand complex biological processes. The ConnectedBiology curriculum uses a multi-level simulation of deer mice to study the process of evolution. It’s divided into five units, each covering vast biological topics and phenomena, from those on the population level to those on the molecular level. Maria is currently examining how frequently and how well students can make connections between these vast topics- for example, can students explain why variations of a protein in deer mice might eventually cause predators to prey on certain colors of mice more than others, and what causes these protein variations in the first place? She hopes to determine if this way of teaching high school biology- as a handful of larger topics, all interconnected- is more impactful to student learning than teaching all of these topics as separate entities.
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