Linking genetics and evolution to increase sophistication of student understanding over time.

The Connected Biology project, a collaborative effort between Michigan State University and the Concord Consortium, is developing a connected set of technology-enhanced three-dimensional lessons for high school biology. This novel curriculum is aligned with research-based NGSS performance expectations and fosters integrated learning of high school genetics and evolution. The content for all curriculum development is based on the Evo-Ed cases, enhanced by the technological frameworks of the Concord Consortium.

We hypothesize that thoughtfully integrating the practices of science with a limited number of disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts will support students’ development of a network of connected biological concepts that they can use to make sense of phenomena and increase the sophistication of their understanding. This approach stands in contrast to many strategies in biology education which often treat topics as disconnected, resulting in learning isolated facts over deep connections. We are creating and researching an example of instructional materials for high school biology designed to foster students’ ability to construct scientific explanations of the relationships between molecules, cells, organisms, and populations, and to support them in analyzing and interpreting data to explain a variety of phenomena and their underlying causes.

Current Progress

We have designed and developed an exciting set of 15 lessons, "Deer Mouse Fur Color: From the Field to the Beach," connecting cell biology, molecular genetics, inheritance and evolution. Students use a Multi-Level Simulation (MLS) that connects both visible and invisible events into a causative chain across levels—with the ability to "zoom" in and out of the population, organism, cell, and molecular levels.

Our free curriculum package includes the online lessons, an interactive Teacher’s Edition, and real-time Teacher Dashboard. Additional background materials and supplemental resources are also provided by visiting our curriculum page and logging in with a free teacher account.

ConnectedBio Application

Our technology-enhanced three-dimensional lessons for high school biology are built around the ConnectedBio Multi-Level Simulation, a simulation that supports student exploration of multi-level phenomena.

Please note: This application is subject to change without notice. We will update the application periodically as we refine it based on classroom pilots and research.