Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Evolution 2014: Cooperative data collection is more meaningful than individual data collection

Posted 20 Jun 2014 / 0


Julie Noor’s classroom activity in Drosophila breeding points out a really great “best practice” for any data collection in undergraduate laboratory exercises: if you ask students to first interpret only the data they collected, then allow them to interpret the aggregated data of the whole class, you can allow them to see the importance of sample size.

In her activity, students collect data on a small population of flies. Any one vial of flies is quite likely to lead to the wrong conclusion about how eye color evolves… but the collected data from the whole class allows for clear conclusions that are consistent with our understanding of Drosophila genetics. A great lesson in the dangers of reaching conclusions based on small sample size can be built into this sort of activity.

A Minor Post, Conferences, Evolution Education, Lesson Ideas, Natural Selection, Population Genetics, Society for the Study of Evolution, Teaching

Leave a Reply