Teaching Evolution Outreach

 

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” T. Dobzhansky

Today we are in an era of unprecedented gains in our understanding of the origin, evolution, and functional characteristics of life. To fully capitalize on the flood of information about how biology works requires an intellectual mind that is well verse in the principle of evolution because it is the theory of evolution that provides the guidepost for understanding why the world is the way it is. Despite the fact that evolutionary theory unifies and makes sense of biology, less than half of all Americans “believe” in evolution, and ever fewer understand it.


The acceptance of evolution depends on education. To fully embrace the change in the human condition and the health of the planet that will accompany advances in biology requires understanding evolution, and so it is imperative that we get the word out from the colleges and Universities into the community, and the best place to start is in the schools. Students need to learn about evolution when they start learning about biology, not as an after thought later in life when they get into college. We need to approach the teaching of biology within an evolutionary framework so that students can build a coherent tree of knowledge. Our teaching evolution outreach is meant to begin to advance understanding of evolution more broadly in America, starting with the communities in Colorado.

The number of attendees at the Teaching Evolution outreach workshop in 2010 and 2011
 

Gallup poll showing the dependence of the acceptance of evolution on the level of education in America(http://www.gallup.com/poll/114544/darwin-birthday-believe-evolution.aspx)

Our outreach activities thus far have been focused on teacher training and curriculum development for all levels (K-12). We have offered workshops for area educators in the summer of the last three years. Data from 2010 and 2011 are shown below