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Collaborative discipline-based education research leads to $1.2 million NSF Grant


Collaborative discipline-based education research in Biological Sciences at Purdue leads to $1,270,155 from the National Science Foundation.

Stephanie Gardner and Nancy Pelaez are collaborating with Ala Samarapungavan (Education) and Kari Clase (Purdue Polythechnic) on a project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF #1661124 Exploring Biological Evidence (EBE): Helping Students Understand the Richness and Complexity of Evidentiary Constructs in Biology, 2017-2020). This interdisciplinary team of researchers is focused on identifying aspects of evidentiary knowledge and reasoning that prevail in scientific practice but that are typically absent from classroom implementations of biological inquiry. The project will address sources of challenge for instructors and students as they engage with evidence in the science classroom and test ways in which educators can scaffold the development of more sophisticated reasoning with and about biological evidence. For spring 2018, they are recruiting undergraduate instructors to examine ways of enhancing undergraduate students’ biology learning. Through the EBE project, instructors will be able to use innovative instructional scaffolding techniques to help their students learn science better. The instructional activities will help students learn to work with and evaluate scientific evidence for core biological concepts generated from authentic research activities. 

Gardner and Pelaez are looking for Purdue University biology instructors who are interested in learning to implement cutting edge biological science instruction to help students understand and evaluate evidence for core biological concepts such as evolution and physiological mechanisms. With the EBE project team, participating instructors will develop and implement learning tasks with written scaffolds to support student’s reasoning with biological evidence. All teaching and assessment materials associated with this project will be funded by the EBE project and there is no cost to instructors.

Biology instructors who want to learn more about how to benefit from this project can look at the project award information at, contact a project team member or sign up at

 PI: Ala Samarapungavan, Professor, Educational Studies, Purdue University


Kari Clase, Professor, Purdue Polytechnic Institute, Purdue University

Stephanie Gardner, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, Purdue University

Nancy Pelaez, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Purdue University

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