Engage Students In Science As A Process

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

Explore free instructional tools to help your biology and environmental science students deepen their content knowledge and understand how science works. We will highlight several online interactive resources that engage learners in the scientific process and one that helps students plan, organize, and present their own inquiry-based activities.


An educator with more than 10 years of experience in high school and community college settings, Melissa focuses primarily on outreach and content development for undergraduate introductory biology courses. She also manages logistics for all outreach and professional development events. Before she began teaching, Melissa managed a research lab in the cardiology department at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a master’s degree in chemical and life sciences from the University of Maryland.

Extended Abstract

One of our goals is to advance the implementation of best practices for biology and science education. We tackle this goal by producing high-quality multimedia resources for educators that are used in tens of thousands of classrooms and by millions of students. Our resources translate core scientific concepts into accessible, authentic experiences that engage students in the processes of science, in accordance with recommendations by leading education frameworks. Since its launch, BioInteractive has grown from being supplementary to the textbook and mainly for advanced students, to a repository of resources integral to the curriculum and for all students taking high school biology and introductory college biology courses.

BioInteractive content focuses on: 

  • Important concepts and ideas—the most important concepts in biology and in sub-disciplines that have been traditionally marginalized or in which there is a need for high-quality materials. To date, we have developed rich portfolios of resources in genetics, evolution, and ecology. 
  • Powerful media types that engage students—short films, biointeractives, and animations engage students in asking questions, making observations, and collecting and interpreting scientific data—all aspects of active learning. One important component of our approach is the use of authentic science stories to inspire curiosity and motivate learning. 
  • Accessible content – Most of our resources are accompanied by instructor guides that help educators modify and adapt our resources to address the needs of their particular student population. To further broaden access, we have translated many of our resources in Spanish. In addition, all new BioInteractive content is now produced in compliance with accessibility standards.

In this workshop, we will discuss how these resources have been implemented in an introductory biology course and then pass out electronic devices for participants to explore the resources for themselves and discuss with one another how and where they might fit into their courses and how they would need to modify them to make them the most useful for their students.