Proposal Abstract

Building creative scientific thinking skills is a difficult process for many undergraduate students who often experienced science as a collection of facts in high school. This paper describes an attempt to improve those skills in an undergraduate Animal Physiology course at a liberal arts college. A combination of experimental design exercises, primary literature reading, in-class discussions, the writing of a grant application, and exam questions oriented toward experimental design was used to help students gain skills in asking and answering scientific questions. Although mastery of creative scientific thinking cannot occur in only one course, progress was measured by comparing student responses to an open-ended inquiry session during the first week of class with responses to a final exam question and with the final grant application. Students showed improvement in generation of a testable model, experimental design, and prediction of results. Less improvement was seen in generation of alternative hypotheses and analysis of assumptions upon which their models were based. Small numbers of students for this study limit the statistical analysis.

Location

Concourse

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

 
Mar 12th, 4:00 PM Mar 12th, 5:45 PM

An Approach to Improving and Evaluating Creative Scientific Thinking Skills in an Undergraduate Animal Physiology Course

Concourse

Building creative scientific thinking skills is a difficult process for many undergraduate students who often experienced science as a collection of facts in high school. This paper describes an attempt to improve those skills in an undergraduate Animal Physiology course at a liberal arts college. A combination of experimental design exercises, primary literature reading, in-class discussions, the writing of a grant application, and exam questions oriented toward experimental design was used to help students gain skills in asking and answering scientific questions. Although mastery of creative scientific thinking cannot occur in only one course, progress was measured by comparing student responses to an open-ended inquiry session during the first week of class with responses to a final exam question and with the final grant application. Students showed improvement in generation of a testable model, experimental design, and prediction of results. Less improvement was seen in generation of alternative hypotheses and analysis of assumptions upon which their models were based. Small numbers of students for this study limit the statistical analysis.