The Biology in a Box program was developed to meet school curriculum goals in partnership with K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educators. Biology in a Box offers grade appropriate inquiry exercises and associated permanent materials that reinforce math and science skills to Tennessee/regional public school systems. Teacher training workshops are offered to participating school systems so that teachers may function as facilitators of student learning as they and their students explore box thematic exercises. In addition to its physical presence in Tennessee and neighboring state schools, Biology in a Box further provides web access world-wide to over 300 inquiry exercises on 11 themes along with accompanying materials lists, science and math standards, alphabetized cross listings and suggested readings.
Community partners include 101 Tennessee School Districts, four school systems in adjacent states (Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia,) and Georgia Tech University. University of Tennessee Knoxville partners include the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Impact on UT
The partnership has contributed broadly to a greater understanding of math and science education. Multiple academic publications and presentations have been published as a result of this program, including presentations at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeast Section Conference, publications in American Biology Teacher and a book chapter in a STEM education series. Further, data are being collected for publication in the science education literature.
Impact on Community
The project has distributed a wide variety of grade appropriate exercises and reusable materials to Tennessee/regional classrooms. These materials reinforce biological and math content and comprehension. STEM hubs throughout the State of Tennessee have used Biology in a Box thematic units to provide their middle school teachers professional development in the teaching of STEM, with particular interest in the interaction between different teaching disciplines (e.g., math and biology).
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