Tips for Promoting Visual Model-Based Reasoning Skills in Biology Classrooms

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Empower biology students to master visual model-based reasoning. Explore the challenges and learn strategies to help students interpret, construct, and reason with essential visual tools.

Kim Quillin, Introductory Biology Curriculum Coordinator for Salisbury University and co-author of Biological Science, Salisbury University

Visual model-based reasoning is a crucial aspect of the 'Modeling and Simulation' competency in the Vision and Change framework for biologists (AAAS, 2011). However, students often encounter difficulties in interpreting, constructing, and reasoning with visual models, such as enzyme models, DNA models, cell models, mitosis and meiosis diagrams, phylogenetic trees, niche models, and many other visual thinking tools essential to the biologist's toolbox. Why? And what can instructors do to help students succeed? Join Dr. Kim Quillin as she defines important variables related to visual model-based reasoning in biology, outlines the main reasons students struggle, and provides examples and tips for instructors to facilitate the skill-building of visual model-based reasoning in their classrooms.