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CourseSource articles linked to the GSA Genetics Learning Framework cross-posted here with permission    


Sex-specific differences in Meiosis: Real-world applications




Benedict J. Kolber, Mary Konsolaki, Michael P. Verzi, Cynthia R. Wagner, Joseph R. McCormick, and Karen Schindler



In traditional classrooms, students are typically presented with facts that they are asked to memorize and recall during an exam.  The rapid explosion of available scientific facts in recent years has made this model of teaching impractical.  In the current informational landscape, students would be better equipped by being able to evaluate and critically analyze scientific data.  As an alternative education approach, we have developed a student-driven lesson plan that utilizes active-learning techniques.  Our lesson plan focuses on teaching the differences in meiosis between human sexes.  Students come to class having read background material.  During class time, they engage in activities that challenge both their basic understanding of concepts as well as how to apply these concepts to real-world situations.  The instructor facilitates and clarifies misunderstandings.  The Lesson was tested at three institutions in different levels of courses and class sizes, which provided learning assessment data that are presented here.  Our data show that the overall learning success of this specific content (meiosis) was similar in a traditionally taught classroom versus our active learning-based lesson.  However, based on our own experiences, we observed that student participation in this active-learning lesson was noticeably higher than in any of our traditionally taught classes.  Our active-learning lesson highlights the benefits of using active learning techniques in achieving not only learning of content but also increasing student ability to apply the learned material to real-life situations.  Although we have applied these principles in Genetics and General Biology courses, they are applicable to a wide range of topics and subjects.          


Genetics Concept(s) Addressed:

Evolution and Population Genetics: What are the processes that can affect the frequency of genotypes and phenotypes in a population over time?

Nature of Genetic Material: What are the molecular components and mechanisms necessary to preserve and duplicate an organism’s genome?

Core Competencies Addressed:

Students should be able to generate testable hypotheses.

Students should be able to communicate experimental results effectively, including writing research papers and giving presentations.

Students should be able to generate and interpret graphs displaying experimental results.

Students should be able to identify and critique scientific issues relating to society or ethics.



Introductory undergraduate; biology/genetics majors and non-majors

Activity Type:


Activity Length:

45 minutes




Kolber, B.J., Konsolaki, M., Verzi, M.P., Wagner, C.R., McCormick, J.R. and Schindler, K. 2014. Sex-specific Differences in Meiosis: Real-world applications. CourceSource. 00:xxx. doi:00.0000/journal.cs.000000


Article in CourseSource