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A Science Education Outreach Project

What is Biology in a Box?

Biology in a Box is a fun and challenging way for entire schools to enhance their life sciences curriculum at all grade levels, and to encourage student interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. The program employs a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to teach the wonders of the living world, as well as introducing the scientific methods and math skills we use to understand that world.

How does it work?

Each thematic unit has exercises designed to enrich science curriculum content for students from the elementary grades through high school grades. The goal of each unit is to pique the interest of even low-ability students on a particular biological theme. The more advanced activities in a thematic unit, are designed as curriculum enrichment for very bright students who need a challenge.

Why is Biology in a Box beneficial for student engagement?

Above: UTK Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, Tennessee Higher Education Commision Executive Director Dr. Richard Rhoda, and UTK Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Teresa Lee "dig in" to Biology in a Box's unit on Fossils with Dr. Susan Riechert, Program Director (second from left).

Above: UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Dr. Richard Rhoda, and UT Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Teresa Lee “dig in” to Biology in a Box’s unit on Fossils with Dr. Susan Riechert, Program Director (second from left).

The Biology in a Box program is especially valuable to teachers in schools that have limited resources for extra materials. The materials needed for completion of the exercises, presented in each thematic unit, are totally reusable and are generally not commercially available. It is also an excellent program for schools with a limited science faculty, since no prior knowledge of the subject matter is needed for a teacher to explore a box theme with his or her students.

“It’s more fun than reading a textbook…You remember more because you have a better time with it.”

Who participates in the Biology in a Box?

Though the majority of the school systems currently provided with Biology in a Box units are in the state of Tennessee, our current partnership with NIMBioS has allowed us the opportunity to expand our material offerings and audience. The content of our exercises, materials lists, etc. can be found on this website, allowing the ideas and concepts covered by our units to also be accessed by a global audience.

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