Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Science Education

Publication Date



A feature of science is its production of evidence-based explanations. Scientific models can both provide causal explanations and be predictive of natural phenomena. Modeling-based inquiry (MBI) is a pedagogical strategy that promotes students’ deep learning about phenomena via engagement in authentic scientific practices. Some university instructors have begun to facilitate MBI in their courses, notably those aimed at aspiring K–12 science educators who, per the Next Generation Science Standards, are encouraged to implement MBI. Yet exploration of curriculum and teaching with MBI in postsecondary environments is scarce. We detail a novel MBI curriculum implemented in a postsecondary ecology course that included students interested in future careers in education. The curriculum engages students in modeling why there is greater biological diversity in tropical than in temperate regions. This biological phenomenon continues to be of great interest to the scientific community. We briefly detail how the curriculum impacted students’ understanding of participation in aspects of scientific practices and their comfort with facilitating MBI.


This article was originally published in The American Biology Teacher. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Publisher statement: Published as "Modeling Tropical Diversity in the Undergraduate Classroom: Novel Curriculum to Engage Students in Authentic Scientific Practices." © 2019 by National Association of Biology Teachers.
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The American Biology Teacher


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