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Learning can be all Fun and Games: Constructing and Utilizing a Biology Taboo Wiktionary to Enhance Student Learning in an Introductory Biology Course

    Authors: Jeffrey T. Olimpo1, Shannon Davis1, Sarah Lagman1, Raj Parekh1, Patricia Shields1,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 20 December 2010
    • *Corresponding author: Mailing address: Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, 0118 Bioscience Research Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Phone: (301) 314-2595. Fax: (301) 314-9489. E-mail: pshields@umd.edu.
    • Copyright © 2010 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 164-165. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.191
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    Abstract:

    Most introductory courses in the biological sciences are inherently content-dense and rich with jargon—jargon that is often confusing and nonsensical to novice students. These characteristics present an additional paradox to instructors, who strive to achieve a balance between simply promoting passive, rote memorization of facts and engaging students in developing true, concrete understanding of the terminology. To address these concerns, we developed and implemented a Biology Taboo Wiktionary that provided students with an interactive opportunity to review and describe concepts they had encountered during their first semester of introductory biology. However, much like the traditional Taboo game, the rules were such that students could not use obvious terms to detail the main term. It was our belief that if the student could synthesize a thoughtful, scientific explanation of the term under these conditions, he or she demonstrated a true understanding of the conceptual context and meaning of the term.

Key Concept Ranking

Cellular Processes
0.9267767
Photosynthesis
0.5
Respiration
0.5
Photosynthesis
0.5
Respiration
0.5
Glucose
0.5
Lead
0.5
0.9267767

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2010-12-20
2017-11-22

Abstract:

Most introductory courses in the biological sciences are inherently content-dense and rich with jargon—jargon that is often confusing and nonsensical to novice students. These characteristics present an additional paradox to instructors, who strive to achieve a balance between simply promoting passive, rote memorization of facts and engaging students in developing true, concrete understanding of the terminology. To address these concerns, we developed and implemented a Biology Taboo Wiktionary that provided students with an interactive opportunity to review and describe concepts they had encountered during their first semester of introductory biology. However, much like the traditional Taboo game, the rules were such that students could not use obvious terms to detail the main term. It was our belief that if the student could synthesize a thoughtful, scientific explanation of the term under these conditions, he or she demonstrated a true understanding of the conceptual context and meaning of the term.

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Screenshot of Biology Taboo Wiktionary.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 164-165. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.191
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