Graduate Research Papers


Graduate Research Paper (UNI Access Only)


Evolution (Biology)--Study and teaching; Dissection--Study and teaching;


As a life science teacher, two areas of controversy I deal with are evolution and dissection. Though evolution and dissection are different topic-wise, they are similar in the fact they invoke a moral challenge to some. Because both subject areas can present challenges in the classroom, student understanding is often affected negatively. Evolution in biology is as important as history is to social science. A lack of understanding in evolution can cause one to “miss the big picture” when it comes to life science. Another possible effect of a lack of understanding for evolution could be a reluctance to accept it as truth.

Like evolution, dissection has also earned a reputation as a controversial area of biology. This dissection controversy has led to its reduction and even elimination from the classroom. Though virtual replacements for dissection are used to augment the loss of physical dissection, what are the students actually learning? Dissection in the lab is still viable in the sense of teaching tool manipulation, cooperative working skills and also providing a true sense of working with an actual specimen for the students.

The purpose of this creative component is to teach evolution and common ancestry with the hands on approach of dissection, fossils and phylogeny. Along with the comparative anatomy of dissection, students will examine what the fossil records shows us in regards to how animals have changed over time as well as trace their ancestral lineages with phylogenetic diagrams. It is my intention to show students several forms of evidence for evolution along with gaining cooperative, hands on skills. Through experiencing several different examples of evidence for evolution in cooperative setting, students will better understand and accept it and our common ancestry.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Science Education Program

First Advisor

Kyle Gray, Advisor

Date Original

Summer 2018

Object Description

1 PDF file (85 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download