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Biology Inquiries: Standards-Based Labs, Assessments, and Discussion Lessons

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7652-1
304 pages
October 2005, Jossey-Bass
Biology Inquiries: Standards-Based Labs, Assessments, and Discussion Lessons (0787976520) cover image


Biology Inquiries offers educators a handbook for teaching middle and high school students engaging lessons in the life sciences. Inspired by the National Science Education Standards, the book bridges the gap between theory and practice. With exciting twists on standard biology instruction the author emphasizes active inquiry instead of rote memorization. Biology Inquiries contains many innovative ideas developed by biology teacher Martin Shields. This dynamic resource helps teachers introduce standards-based inquiry and constructivist lessons into their classrooms. Some of the book's classroom-tested lessons are inquiry modifications of traditional "cookbook" labs that biology teachers will recognize. Biology Inquiries provides a pool of active learning lessons to choose from with valuable tips on how to implement them.
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Table of Contents


About the Author.

1. Introduction.

What Is Standards-Based Teaching?



Resources for Educators.

2. Science as Inquiry.

The Inquiry Cubes.

She Turned Me into a Newt (I Got Better).

Storytelling Graphing.

Crossed Knives: A Pattern Game.

The Distraction Stick: Another Pattern Game.

Case Study Study.

Investigating Plant Growth.

Scientific Inquiry Assessment.

Biology Portfolio.

3. The Cell.

What Is Life? Part 1: Glue Goblins.

What Is Life? Part 2: Investigations.

What Is Life? Part 3: The Andromeda Strain.

Potato Bubbles: An Introduction to Enzymes.

Floating Filter Paper Chips: An Exploration of Enzyme Activity.

Breakfast Is Ready: Bacon Diffusion.

Investigating Osmosis in Plant Cells.

The Osmosis Inquiry Egg.

Mitosis Sequencing.

4. The Molecular Basis of Heredity.

Mendel’s Data.

Multifactorial Inheritance.

Nature and Nurture.

Chargaff’s DNA Data.

Classifying Oaks with DNA.

5. Biological Evolution.

Explaining Evolution.

The Lost World.

Are Humans Still Evolving?

Dissecting Frog Evolution.

6. The Interdependence of Organisms.

History of a Carbon Atom: Part 1.

History of a Carbon Atom: Part 2.

Life or Death Food Chain Decision.

Investigating Forest Succession.

7. Matter, Energy, and Organization in Living Systems.

Water Discrepancies.

Why Are Plants Green?

Why Are Plants Not Always Green?

Autotroph Inquiries: Comings and Goings.

Autotroph Inquiries: Do Plants Respire?

Autotroph Inquiries: Building Organic Molecules.

Cold-Blooded Thermometers.

Energy Storage Molecules and Natural Selection.

8. The Behavior of Organisms.

Termite Trails Mystery.

Red Dot Special.

The Mozart Effect: Investigating Music and Memory.

The Mozart Effect: Are You Buying It?

9. Science in Personal and Social Perspectives.

Putting SPF to the Test.

Watershed Investigations.

Consider the Issues.

Debating Biological/Societal Topics.

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Author Information


Martin Shields has taught high school biology for thirteen years. He has worked with students of all ability levels from remedial to Advanced Placement. His educational background includes a masters degree in biology and he has had diverse research experiences. He has been published in The Science Teacher and regularly presents on inquiry and other teaching strategies at state and national conventions.

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Must-have companion for science inquiry teaching methods
  • Innovative, clasroom-tested design
  • Ideal for high school grade biology and life sciences courses
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"Teaching biology through inquiry takes practice--it does not come easily. This book provides a diverse series of excellent labs and activities that will serve as stepping stones that lead to an inquiry based biology classroom--a place where all students can experience the joy of developing their understanding and appreciation for biology."
--Brad Williamson, biology teacher and former president of the National Association of Biology Teachers

"Ignite your creative energies as if you were just walking into your classroom for the first time. Martin Shields has created the source for sound strategies all in one text—he has just what you have been waiting for."
--Marion V. “Bunny” Jaskot, biology teacher and president of Biology Teachers Association of New Jersey

"This is exactly the book I have been waiting for. There aren’t any books quite like it out there that I know of  or I would have bought them. Any teacher who wants to increase their source material would welcome the lessons in this book. Equally important, the book  also shows teachers how to turn current activities into inquiry-based activities."
--Jeff Sandler, biology teacher

"Biology Inquiries is a practical and resourceful book that serves both aspiring and practicing inquiry-based biology teachers. It transcends the spirit of inquiry into forty-seven laboratory investigations; a must-have for those who want to elevate their teaching through inquiry."

--Douglas Llewellyn, professor of science education and author, St. John Fisher College

"This is an excellent resource for upper middle grades and high school teachers that supports any biology curriculum. It contains tested activities, developed by an experienced biology teacher, with valuable suggestions for implementing this inquiry-based approach."
--Sandra D. Adams, professor of biology pedagogy, Montclair State University

"This book perfectly bridges the gap between standards and practice.  I would not only recommend this book to my teaching colleagues but also to professional developers and science education professors. It is a clearly marked pathway through the jungle of science education reform and is an exemplar for pre-service as well as in-service teachers. Martin Shields not only provides labs, discussions and assessments that follow the standards, but he also provides strategies and implementation tips to help teachers apply the standards in their own classrooms. Science reform never seemed so do-able and fun!"
--Vivian Lee Ward, project director, Access Excellence

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