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Teaching biology with technology

Klopfer awarded $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve high school teaching
Students will not only be using pre-built simulations, but also creating their own. Pictured here, the StarLogo TNG program code, expressed by the puzzle piece blocks, underlying a model of ecology and evolution, and the resulting 3-D simulation.
Caption:
Students will not only be using pre-built simulations, but also creating their own. Pictured here, the StarLogo TNG program code, expressed by the puzzle piece blocks, underlying a model of ecology and evolution, and the resulting 3-D simulation.
Credits:
Image: Eric Klopfer

Eric Klopfer, director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, has received a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a four-year collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania to improve the teaching of biology at the high-school level.

Klopfer is working on the program with Susan Yoon, a former MIT postdoc, who is now an assistant professor in UPenn's Graduate School of Education.

The grant funds the development of an introductory biology unit using computer simulations as a way for students to build their understanding of topics ranging from the origins of life to molecular biology, ecology and evolution. The material will be presented from the perspective of complex systems, helping students understand how the rules that govern individual units in a system scale up to system behavior, and how they reflect such basic principles as randomness and equilibrium.

Read more on the School of Architecture and Planning website


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