Initial Publication Date: December 15, 2017

Judi Roux: BIOL 1001: Biology and Society at University of Minnesota Duluth

About this Course

BIOL 1001: Biology and Society satisfies these Liberal Education requirements:
Part 2: Knowledge Domains
Natural sciences (with lab)
Part 3: Key Topics
c. Sustainability

In previous years, only one section was offered each fall and spring with up to

280 students
enrolled, with 142 students in each section.

Spring: Two seventy-five minute lecture sessions and one 2-hour lab per week

Fall: Three fifty minute lecture sessions and one 2-hour lab per week

Even though Biology and Society has a large student enrollment, I prefer that students are actively engaged with the course topics and with each other rather than always listening to a PowerPoint lecture. At the beginning of the semester, students were assigned to teams of four using the CATME Team-maker surveys at Students worked in these teams during lab activities and specific classroom activities. With my fall course, I began to implement case studies to introduce and engage students with required topics, so I appreciated that case studies were available for certain activities within the modules.

If we each take responsibility in shifting our own behavior, we can trigger the type of change that is necessary to achieve sustainability for our race or this planet. We change our planet, our environment, our humanity every day, every year, every decade, and every millennia.
Yehuda Berg
Retrieved from

My Experience Teaching with InTeGrateMaterials

I have always taught global climate change and other environmental / sustainability issues in Biology and Society. I hoped to add to my current toolbox of classroom activities to better engage students in higher level thinking about global climate change. I utilized portions of module units that complemented the effective classroom activities that I already use.

Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course

This non-majors course is one semester long, but we basically cover all biology topics in that one semester. I usually follow a "macro to micro" sequence after the initial coverage of the nature of science and scientific processes. We had already covered ecology and environmental chapters in the course before our Faculty Mentoring Network began. Sustainability and evolution are embedded throughout the course. Our textbook, Biology: Science for Life also discusses social justice issues related to biology and environmental issues. The modules were most related to our chapter 5 on photosynthesis and global climate change. I found ways to include other modules as we discussed evolution and biological adaptation.


I assessed student understanding of general information about global climate change with the Evaluate Statements About Climate worksheet completed in their groups.

Twelve true or false statements about climate change were used and two questions (number 1 and number 12) were most often labeled and explained incorrectly.
1. Last year was hotter than the previous year. That means the globe is warming.
12. Scientists do not "believe" that atmospheric CO2 is increasing, rather, they "accept" that atmospheric CO2 is increasing.

For question 1, students did not seem to understand the differences between weather and climate, although these definitions were discussed in class and in the textbook reading.
For question 12, students may have been confused by the wording of the question due to spelling errors and extraneous phrases. Although we discussed the nature of science extensively at the beginning of the semester using materials from ENSI and NWABR, some students may still hold misconceptions about scientist "beliefs" rather than scientific explanations based on evidence.

For the Case Study 6.1, #2: Adaptation to Extreme Heat Waves, student groups listed logical explanations for the open-ended questions to show their understanding of human adaptations to the heat effects of global climate change.
Outside of class, students used an online feedback link to list their survey results for What is your climate change personality?


My ultimate vision for my students is always their understanding of how biology affects their daily lives and our society. In using the modules, my goals continue to be their understanding of the importance of global climate change, their roles in sustaining our environmental resources, and how they can influence other stakeholders and policymakers with their knowledge.