I am, by training a physiologist. I love teaching comparative physiology. We start from looking at a basic structure and then we examine how the structure becomes adapted to animals living under different environmental constraints. This course examines how animals adapt at levels from their protein or cell membrane structure all the way up to behavioral adaptations for thermoregulation and everything in between. To me, this is the course that links biology together. Below are sample materials that I hope will give you a sense of the course.
Sample Lecture Materials
Muscle guided notes
This unit examines how muscles move and are adapted for different functions. It focuses on heart and skeletal muscle.
Muscle Lab activity
During this activity we record the neural activity exciting muscles and excite motor neurons
Locomotion guided notes
Locomotion lab activity
Course evaluations and surveys
Early semester survey
This survey is given after the first exam.
This is the final course survey. Part of it is formative assessment that is repeated from the start of the semester.
This course got off to a rough start. However, I examined my performance critically and this led me to enact several strategies for course improvement.
Fall 2016-- refocused the course on several core concepts, created worksheets relating labs more explicitly to course material, decrease lecture.
Spring 2017-- changed some labs that did not work, introduced several activities including one which teaches about the value of failure in science, introduced some small group discussions, started recording lectures
Spring 2018-- introduced guided notes, introduced a recurring assignment where students locate and relate primary literature articles to the course, recorded all lecture, did half of the lectures without powerpoint (this increased student engagement), introduced group quizzes, and introduced a collaboration which required students to work with others from another discipline (art) and create a new animal (see examples below). In the latter they had to defend adaptations the animal had using primary literature.
Sample Student work
Below are examples of the assignments created through the art and physiology collaboration. The students were asked to base their findings in primary literature, source lists had to be turned in. However, they had to do something they have never done-- they had to write scientific information for a general audience. This combination of working on something novel with a non-science major helped them to cement their knowledge. This is a public art exhibit which is currently hanging in the student center.