Comparing Outdated and Updated Textbook Figures Helps Introduce Undergraduates to Primary Literature †
Many of the didactic tools used in the undergraduate classroom, including textbooks, often highlight science as a body of knowledge, presenting learners with a field’s current “up-to-date” understanding of a subject. It is important that students grasp the idea that this body of knowledge is not static, but evolving through a process by which scientists continually test, revise, and build upon that knowledge. Science as a process is best highlighted in the primary scientific literature. In the context of the undergraduate classroom, we have used side-by-side comparison of old and updated textbook figures to introduce 200- and 300-level Genetics students to the field as a dynamic area of scientific inquiry. We also use this exercise as an opportunity to introduce students to relevant primary literature. We find that this is an effective way to transition students from their textbook to primary literature as a source of information.
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