Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



Natural selection is a topic that is laden with misconceptions. These misconceptions are often not addressed, and students can leave a biology classroom with the same incorrect ideas that they entered with. These misconceptions can be identified and addressed by using the Concept Inventory of Natural Selection (CINS). Furthermore, by teaching using methods that encourage hands-on, inquiry based techniques, students are more apt to reconcile these misconceptions and have a deeper understanding of the natural selection process. The goal of my research was to show a positive correlation between reduction in student misconceptions about natural selection and inquiry based activities. Five classes of students (145 total students) completed the CINS twice; once as a pre-test, and again as a post-test. Three classes had the natural selection unit delivered in a lecture-based format with no hands-on activities. Two classes had the unit delivered with no lectures, but instead with inquiry activities that utilized methods and practices from the Reformed Teacher Observation Protocol (RTOP). Data was collected from both classes and compared. If teaching method plays a significant role in decreasing student misconceptions, there would be a statistically significant difference in gains between the teaching styles, which there was.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dana Browne