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Teaching DIscovery Day 2017 banner image


Since 2016, the College of Natural Sciences has held an annual Teaching Discovery Day to showcase teaching excellence college-wide and encourage discussion amongst participants regarding best practices and new ideas in science education and learning. Award-winning and innovative CNS faculty open their classrooms for observations. All participants are invited to visit a showcase classroom, guided by a faculty docent, and/or attend one of the interactive teaching workshops held throughout the day. Afterwards, teams are invited to engage in discussions over coffee or lunch.

Registration for this special event is now closed.

A previous year's showcase classroom schedule is below as an example.




 Workshop / Tour


Preview showcase courses below. Click on each course name for more details.

Foundations of Biochemistry David Hoffman 9:00 AM 10:00 AM RLP 0.126 Ann Thijs


Research Methods Michael Marder 9:00 AM 10:00 AM PAI 4.14 Mark Daniels

This is a lab day and there will be a mixture ofor skill development and work time for student inquiries.

Introduction to Mathematics Tara Craig 9:00 AM 10:00 AM CPE 2.214 Becky Kester

M302: Introduction to Mathematics will actively involve students ”in authentic mathematical experiences that are both challenging and intellectually stimulating, provide meaningful cognitive and metacognitive gains, and, nurture healthy and informed perceptions of mathematics, mathematical ways of thinking, and the ongoing impact of mathematics not only on STEM fields but also on the liberal arts and humanities.” (http://www.artofmathematics.org/about) On Teaching Discovery Day 2019 I invite you to join my Math 302 community of learners as we explore infinity and countability through inquiry-based explorations, challenge our misconceptions and construct a robust understanding of the infinite and beyond. Note: This is a large class (125 students) in a stadium classroom, so this would be a great class to visit if you would like to see how inquiry-based and active learning can be facilitated in this challenging environment.

Experiential Learning at the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Lab Amy Bryan 9:30 AM 10:30 AM SEA 1.440  

Since 1927, the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory has offered UT students rich experiential learning opportunities in the field of Human Development and Family Sciences. Join us for a tour of our program and an overview of the varied experiences (e.g., observation, direct interaction, independent inquiry, research) through which we teach and inspire hundreds of undergraduates annually to understand, appreciate, and apply the science of child development.

Birth of Stars and Planets Keely Finkelstein 10:00 AM 11:00 AM PAI 3.02 Alisa Walch

This course is a second semester course in Astronomy for non-science majors. It is a large section course, 200 students, but employs active learning and group work. This course discusses and studies how stars and planets form. Stars form out of giant clouds of gas and dust, locked in a battle between gravity and pressure. Gravity eventually wins out and stars and planets form in the resulting disk of material. This course studies this process including results from state of the art extrasolar planet searches, discussing implications on the formation of our own solar system. On Sept. 25th we will be discussing the formation mechanisms of binary stars and how we observe a specific type of binary star system. Course goals include: - Discuss the nature, scope, and evolution of the Universe, and where the Earth and Solar System fit in. - Describe how physical systems change and evolve with time. - Use critical thinking and quantitative reasoning skills, and gain an understanding of the importance of them in the broader context of the scientific process and scientific theory. - Use models and observations to explain processes related to star formation, planet formation, and solar systems.

Intermediate Nutrition and Metabolism Chris Jolly 10:00 AM 11:00 AM BUR 208 Jaimie Davis

This course is the gateway course to the upper division classes in the nutritional sciences major. Students begin to learn about macronutrient metabolism including how different organs choose between fat, glucose and protein as an energy source. The students also, for the first time, integrate basic concepts in cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry to understand how metabolic control and dietary changes lead to adaptations in metabolism. All of information is then applied to the development and progression of key diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Neural Systems I Michael Mauk 10:00 AM 11:00 AM MEZ 1.306 Kristin Patterson

This is the required gateway course for all neuroscience majors. Our goal is to provide a strong foundation for the remainder of their neuroscience studies. This discussion is about "methods for recording neural activity"

Electricity and Magnetism Can Kilic 10:00 AM 11:00 AM PAI 4.42 Ngoc Tran

WThis is an intro-level course on electricity and magnetism for science concentrators, including physics majors. Maxwell's equations and applications will be covered, including electromagnetic waves. DC circuits with resistive elements, RC circuits, RL circuits, LC circuits and AC circuits with capacitive, resistive and inductive elements will also be covered.

Current Topics in Nutrition Laura Lashinger 10:00 AM 11:00 AM PAI 5.16 Lauren DePue

NTR 338W is a topics course that has both a writing and independent flag in which students are asked to develop a research topic and highlight this topic and their findings in both written and oral formats. The course has a workshop style and on 9/25, in particular, the students will be working on identifying proper voice, word selection, and order of information. There will be a combination of lecturing and student-driven exercises during class time.

Elements of Effective Thinking Michael Starbird 10:00 AM 11:00 AM RLP 0.128 David Taylor

The course encourages students to adopt effective practices of effective thinking such as understanding fundamental ideas deeply, learning from mistakes, raising questions, following the flow of ideas, and embracing change.

Introductory Laboratory Experiments in Biology Martha Maas 11:00 AM Noon PAI 1.18 Monica Milonovich

BIO 206L is an introductory biology lab that was designed to engage students and get them thinking like scientists. Students work in small groups to generate hypotheses, design experiments and collect and analyze data. The course introduces students to a variety of topics- cell and molecular biology, microscopy, plant and animal structure and physiology, and animal behavior. On September 25th, students will complete a plant scavenger hunt on campus and then design an experiment using algae to study the process of photosynthesis.

Elementary Statistical Methods Kristin Harvey 11:00 AM Noon UTC 4.132 Jennifer Austin

Elementary Statistical Methods is a brief introduction to statistics for students outside the College of Natural Sciences. The primary audience is College of Liberal Arts students who are taking the class to obtain their core math credit. The class has 100 students. On Teaching Discovery Day I will be introducing the concept of sampling distributions, which underlies our statistical inference tests. I will use active learning and a classroom response system to have the students create a sampling distribution in class and we will have a full class discussion about the properties we see emerging.

Advanced Introduction to Genetics: Honors Ruth Buskirk 11:00 AM Noon WEL 2.110 Monica Meadows

Course is first of two-semester honors sequence integrating major biology concepts with rigorous upper-division genetics. Payne/Buskirk section is lecture with interactivity format, taught in active learning classroom typically with small-group activities. September 25 will introduce unit on Mendelian genetics with evolution of genetic information flow in meiosis and sexual reproduction.

Introductory Food Science Drew Hays 11:00 AM Noon CPE 2.216 Jen Moon

Application of the principles of food chemistry to processing and preparations techniques.

Honors Data Structures and Algorithms Calvin Lin 11:00 AM Noon GDC 5.302 Jonathan Perry

One of the first two courses in the Turing Scholars honors sequence, this course focuses on data structures and programming methodology with an explicit goal of getting students to engage and to think critically.

Adult Development and Aging Karen Fingerman Noon 1:00 PM CPE 2.216 Sara Stevens

Throughout history and into the 1800s, people rarely lived into old age. In the 1900s, life expectancy increased dramatically in industrialized nations and is expected to increase worldwide throughout this century. Given these global trends, understanding adult development and aging is of central importance. This course provides an in-depth study of developmental processes from early adulthood through old age. The course covers all levels of aging and health, from cells to Social Security. We consider individual development and social policies (e.g., Medicare) associated with adult development and aging. New discoveries and insights continually advance knowledge, and we will highlight these issues. We will have discussion activity classes on most Wednesdays. Class attendance is expected at all classes.

Introduction to Chemical Practice Ruth Shear Noon 1:00 PM PAI 2.01 Debra Hansen

This is a lab class for first semester freshman who have joined the Urban Ecosystems FRI stream. Like all FRI research streams who offer freshman chemistry lab credit, we teach the required lab techniques applied to our group's research interests. In this scheduled class time, we will teach a freshman lab technique which the students will practice, and then in their additional lab time later in the week, they will apply what they've learned to a Waller creek sample, relevant to our research interests. My preliminary syllabus suggests we will be doing qualitative analysis, identifying inorganic chemicals without instrumentation, which will be applied to identify inorganic ions found at different sample sites along Waller Creek. Our lab is experimenting with an alternative way to teach FRI, starting with research from the very first semester, combined with aspects of the Scientific Inquiry class that is typically offered to students before they start research in their second semester.

Principles of Computer Systems Alison Norman Noon 1:00 PM UTC 3.124 Melissa Taylor

This course is an introduction to computer systems software---low-level software abstractions with an emphasis on the connection of these abstractions to underlying computer hardware. On Teaching Discovery Day, we will be continuing our discussion of how to ensure data integrity in an efficient manner when more than one entity may be accessing and modifying that data. We will be solving in-class problems and also learning about more advanced techniques than covered previously.

Object-Oriented Programming Glenn Downing 1:00 PM 2:00 PM RLP 0.128 Michael Starbird

This is a course on object-oriented programming.

Freshman Research Initiative Tour Kara Rogers 2:00 PM 3:00 PM PAI 3.04  

Take a tour of some of the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) labs and hear about the innovative experiential learning courses focused on faculty research.

Neurobiology Lab Nace Golding 2:00 PM 3:00 PM PAI 1.04 Tara Craig

This intensive laboratory course introduces the essential skills of modern electrophysiology as a means to understand key concepts in cellular neuroscience. The focus is on intracellular recording via patch clamp techniques, using state-of-the-art equipment. The most important part of this course is active participation through hands-on experiments. The agenda on September 25 will be to introduce a new module on electrical signaling through action potentials and voltage-gated ion channels. This will involve an interactive lecture and exercises using computer simulations.

Family Relationships Marci Gleason 3:00 PM 4:00 PM CMA 2.306 Amanda Hager

This is an introductory lecture course for the field of Human Development and Family Sciences. Although a lot of my class is lecture based, I incorporate polls, quiz questions, and demonstrations as well as engage students in class discussions. With an emphasis on the importance of historical and cultural context, this course covers how intimate and family relationships form, function and dissolve and the methodologies used to study family relationships.

Scientific Inquiry Across the Disciplines David Laude 3:00 PM 4:00 PM WEL 2.110 Jennifer Fritz

This course is a pilot effort to develop a strategy for assisting students with their academic and professional identity formation. The course is taught to 100 TIP students who are interested in the health professions. TIP students typically come from first generation and low socioeconomic backgrounds. This SIAD course includes a traditional research methods laboratory setting in which students engage in individual and group activities that promote creativity and independence in the scientific inquiry process. Another component of the course, taught Wednesday afternoons, takes students through activities that allow them to develop a greater understanding of their personal, academic and professional identities.

UTeach/Dana Center/TIDES Inclusive Teaching Workshop Kristin Patterson 3:30 PM 5:00 PM POB 2.402  

This workshop will focus on strategies for inclusive teaching and present an overview of the educational activities and support of the Dana Center, UTeach and TIDES. Each unit will share.

Applied Art in Visual Presentation Lab Sara Stevens 4:00 PM 5:00 PM GEA 227 Cynthia LaBrake

What will I learn: A study of the art of visual presentation techniques and the various media and methods for visual presentation and promotion of apparel. The examination, application and practice of these techniques for the development of all phases of visual merchandising. 1. Recall, rephrase, and identify the Principles and Elements of Design as applied to the creation of visual displays and exhibits. 2. Develop concepts for visual presentations. 3. Create props and signage for use in displays and exhibits. 4. Identify the types of Store Exteriors and all Interior Display Components. 5. Explain how these components relate to and promote Store and/or Product/Brand Image. 6. Define and relate Design Thinking merchandising and display practices. 7. Develop and apply problem solving techniques to display execution. 8. Practice apparel industry presentation practices and professionalism, including interfacing with industry professionals at their stores/sites. Student teams will be pitching back to an industry partner for whom they will create a holiday window display. The industry partner will offer feedback, and then student classmates will offer an additional layer of critique.




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