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Module Descriptions

There are ten modules.They can be used in whole or in part, in class, in discussion section, or as homework (however, we have some evidence that they are more effective when done in “real time” in class rather than as homework). The modules with keys are available for instructors; simply complete the request modules form. We are eager to hear of your experiences in using these modules and to receive your suggestions for improvement.

Animal Physiology Module.

This module focuses on the role of size and surface area in the lives of animals.

Biodiversity Module.

This module explores species-area relationships using log-log graphs and power functions.

Cell Structure and Function Module.

Here students explore cell signaling pathways in a context that allows the application of both simple linear models and simple statistical analysis.


The goal here is for students to see the absolute dependence of physiology– and life– on diffusion, and see how exponential models can help us understand it.

Introduction to Mathematical Models: Cell Biology Application.

We have two modules that are designed to introduce students to the idea of mathematical modeling; if you use multiple modules, you may want to do one of these two first. This one focuses on a cell biology application, and the other on an ecological application; use whichever one best fits your material.

Introduction to Mathematical Models: EcoEvo Application.

This has the same mathematical concepts as the above module, but set in an ecology-evolution context instead of a cell biology context, as may be more appropriate for some introductory biology courses.

Mendelian Genetics.

This module gives students practice with calculating and predicting the genotype and phenotype frequencies resulting from monohybrid and dihybrid crosses, as well as calculating and interpreting a chi-square statistical analysis to test hypotheses about independent assortment of traits.

Photosynthesis (Plant Physiology).

The goal here is to put photosynthesis in a real world context, as well as make conceptual connections between photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and industrial CO2 production.

Population Genetics 1: Breeding Bunnies.

Here students explore the effect of natural selection on allele frequencies.

Population Genetics 2: Drifting Bunnies.

This is an optional extension of the above module that adds a layer of complexity (and reality!) in the form of genetic drift.