Investigating the development and use of phylogenetic representations by college undergraduates in a plant systematics course

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Investigating the development and use of phylogenetic representations by college undergraduates in a plant systematics course

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10355/9678

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dc.contributor.advisor Abell, Sandra K. en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Friedrichsen, Patricia J. en_US
dc.contributor.author Halverson, Kristy Lynn en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2011-01-24T22:39:04Z
dc.date.available 2011-01-24T22:39:04Z
dc.date.issued 2009 en_US
dc.date.submitted 2009 Summer en_US
dc.identifier.other HalversonK-110609-D336 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10355/9678
dc.description Title from PDF of title page (University of Missouri--Columbia, viewed on September 15, 2010). en_US
dc.description The entire thesis text is included in the research.pdf file; the official abstract appears in the short.pdf file; a non-technical public abstract appears in the public.pdf file. en_US
dc.description Dissertation advisor: Dr. Sandra K. Abell and Dr. Patricia Friedrichsen. en_US
dc.description Vita. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references. en_US
dc.description Ph. D. University of Missouri--Columbia 2009. en_US
dc.description Dissertations, Academic -- University of Missouri--Columbia -- Curriculum and instruction. en_US
dc.description.abstract Representations are critical tools for visualizing complex scientific knowledge. However, there is limited research investigating how students gain representational competence in biology, specifically in evolution. In evolutionary biology, phylogenetic trees are generated to represent evolutionary relationships among taxa. Unfortunately, these trees are not well understood by students. In this study, I used open-ended student responses from pre/posttests, interviews, reflective journal entries, field notes, and course assessments to learn how 27 upper-level undergraduate students enrolled in a plant systematics course used phylogenetic trees and developed tree thinking skills. I identified a) 10 approaches students used to interpret phylogenetic trees and 5 criteria used to compare representations; b) 8 alternative student generated representations and that some students were not able to generate any representation to illustrate a given phylogenetic scenario; and c) improvements in students' overall tree thinking, with greater improvement in tree reading than tree building. During the course, students were exposed to 3 instructional interventions to improve their tree thinking skills. I identified 16 core skills necessary for students to develop competence in tree reading and tree building. I proposed 7 levels of representational competence (Levels 0-6) based on these core skills. This empirical framework for representational competence in tree thinking will inform the design of evolution curriculum and maximize the instructional potential of using phylogenetic representations. en_US
dc.format.extent xvi, 292 pages en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher University of Missouri--Columbia en_US
dc.relation.ispartof 2009 Freely available dissertations (MU) en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Plants -- Classification en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Science -- Study and teaching (Higher) en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Cladistic analysis en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Phylogeny -- Data processing en_US
dc.title Investigating the development and use of phylogenetic representations by college undergraduates in a plant systematics course en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
thesis.degree.discipline Learning, teaching and curriculum en_US
thesis.degree.grantor University of Missouri--Columbia en_US
thesis.degree.name Ph. D. en_US
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 696016145 en_US
dc.relation.ispartofcommunity University of Missouri-Columbia. Graduate School. Theses and Dissertations. Dissertations. 2009 Dissertations


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