Teaching Evolution

Defending Evolution in the Classroom

by Brian J. Alters and Sandra M. Alters
Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2003. 276 pages.

Defending Evolution in the Classroom is a necessity for anyone concerned with evolution education. The late Ernst Mayr wrote, "This book should be in the hands of every educator dealing with the subject of evolution," and Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of NCSE, agreed: "At last a book for teachers to help them cope with antievolutionism. Clearly written and filled with practical advice about the underlying religious and scientific issues prompting student questions, Defending Evolution should be on every teacher's bookshelf." A member of NCSE's board of directors who testified in Kitzmiller, Brian J. Alters directs the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University.

Evolution in Perspective: The Science Teacher's Compendium

edited by Rodger Bybee
Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association, 2004. 452 pages.

From the publisher: "If ever a subject could benefit from a strong dose of perspective, it's evolution. This important new book supplies the necessary insights by bringing together the views of leading scientists, professors, and teachers. Working from the premise that only those students whose schools teach them about the nature of science will truly understand evolution, the collection gathers 12 influential articles first published in the NSTA member journal, The Science Teacher. ... This collection comes from, and is developed for, the people on the front lines — educators who deal with the controversy."

Investigating Evolutionary Biology in the Laboratory

edited by William F. McComas
Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2005. 388 pages.

In Investigating Evolutionary Biology in the Laboratory, William F. McComas assembles a host of useful articles that together provide a complete introduction to the strategies and rationales for teaching evolutionary biology in the laboratory, including experiments and exercises. Topics include Foundations of Evolution Education, Examining the Evidence for Evolution, Using the Tools and Principles of Evolution, Variation and Adaptations within Species, Biotic Potential and Survival, Simulating Natural Selection, and The New Evolutionary Synthesis. A long-time member of NCSE, McComas was awarded the Evolution Education Award for 2007 by the National Association of Biology Teachers.

NSTA Toolkit for Teaching Evolution

by Judy Elgin Jensen
Arlington (VA): National Science Teachers Association, 2008. 73 pages.

From the publisher, the National Science Teachers Association: "Evolution is — or should be — a major unifying theory in every biology or life sciences classroom, but science teachers, principals, and school administrators all too often hear the question: 'Why teach evolution?' NSTA Tool Kit for Teaching Evolution, compiled by NSTA with input from the National Center for Science Education, helps you cogently answer that question." The reviewer for The Science Teacher writes, "This small book really packs a powerful punch! It is an important read for all science teachers and provides both arguments and models for good instruction."

Science as a Way of Knowing

by John A. Moore
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. 544 pages.

From the publisher: "For the past twenty-five years John Moore has taught biology instructors how to teach biology — by emphasizing the questions people have asked about life through the ages and the ways natural philosophers and scientists have sought the answers. This book makes Moore's uncommon wisdom available to students in a lively and richly illustrated account of the history and workings of life. Employing a breadth of rhetoric strategies — including vividly written case histories, hypotheses and deductions, and chronological narrative — Science as a Way of Knowing provides not only a cultural history of biology but also a splendid introduction to the procedures and values of science."

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science

from the National Academies of Science
Washington DC: National Academies Press, 1998. 150 pages.

Published in 1998 under the auspices of the National Academies of Science, which provides authoritative scientific advice to the federal government, Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science is addressed to "the teachers, other educators, and policy makers who design, deliver, and oversee classroom instruction in biology. It summarizes the overwhelming observational evidence for evolution and suggests effective ways of teaching the subject. It explains the nature of science and describes how science differs from other human endeavors. It provides answers to frequently asked questions about evolution and the nature of science and offers guidance on how to analyze and select teaching materials."

Teaching Biological Evolution in Higher Education: Methodological, Religious, and Nonreligious Issues

by Brian J. Alters
Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2005. 136 pages.

Reviewing Teaching Biological Evolution in Higher Education for the McGill Journal of Education, NCSE's deputy director Glenn Branch described the book as "a splendid vade mecum," adding, "Alters provides a wealth of valuable suggestions for teaching evolution effectively at the college level, with sensible advice for understanding the misconceptions that students are likely to bring to class. ... Whether creationists are increasingly present or only increasingly visible ... they are definitely on campus, and Teaching Biological Evolution in Higher Education should be on the shelf of any instructor who teaches any aspect of evolution at the college level."

The Creation Controversy & the Science Classroom

by James W. Skehan and Craig E. Nelson
Arlington, VA: NSTA Press, 2000. 56 pages.

Consisting of two sections, "Modern Science and the Book of Genesis" by James Skehan and "Effective Strategies for Teaching Evolution and Other Controversial Topics" by Craig Nelson, The Creation Controversy & the Science Classroom aims to provide teachers with an understanding of the nature of science and the relationship between science and religion. Brian Alters described Skehan's contribution as "a concise, detail-rich history of some of the relevant issues concerning science and biblical scholarship, with a good relevant criticism of creationism woven throughout," and Nelson's as "to the point, with a great number of useful ideas and strategies packed in a short read."

The Nature of Science and the Study of Biological Evolution

by NSTA and BSCS
New York: North Star Line, 2005. 132 pages.

The Nature of Science and the Study of Biological Evolution, as its title indicates, adroitly interleaves a discussion of the nature of science with a broad perspective on evolution. Consisting of a text for high school students and a CD–ROM for teachers, the material discusses the nature and methods of science, the development of the theory of evolution, seven lines of evidence that converge on evolution, population genetics, natural selection, and primate and human evolution. Both the text and the CD–ROM are imbued with the pedagogical acumen characteristic of the National Science Teachers Association and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study.

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