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.
Each thematic unit has exercises that are designed to enrich science curriculum content for students from the elementary grades through high school. 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, furthermore, have been designed as curriculum enrichment for very bright students who need a challenge.
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 trunk, 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.
Our primary focus is to serve school districts in Tennessee, however, anyone can access the ideas, exercises, and concepts on our website.
The Biology in a Box exercises simulate the scientist’s method of discovery, thereby responding to the shortcomings that education leaders have identified in our science curriculum. Students learn through direct experience with materials, by consulting additional sources and experts, and through argument and debate among themselves.
The Biology in a Box materials employ inquiry methodology in teaching science. These methods emphasize higher-order thinking, concepts rather than facts, and collaborative problem-solving skills in which teachers act as facilitators and students as the collaborators.
More importantly, however, students respond eagerly to the experiential teaching methods and tend to learn quickly because of their enthusiasm. In fact, when compared with the previous year’s classes, which did not have access to Biology in a Box, participating classes in the Knox County school system showed between a 2 and 12 percent improvement in their TCAP science test scores.