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  • 1. Teaching Biology at the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman Ian Kendrich C. Fontanilla, M.Sc. (ianfontanilla@hotmail.com)
  • 2. Teaching Biology • Biology is a broad topic that can easily overwhelm the teacher as much as the student • Is biology purely memorization, or is there more? • The students must retain the key concepts long after they’ve forgotten many facts and terms • Students should relate biological concepts to everyday life
  • 3. Our Teaching Experience in IB • We rely heavily now on the LCD projector and our powerpoint presentations with clearer figures • ..but we never abandon the chalk and board to stress points!
  • 4. Our Teaching Experience in IB • Hands on experience through lab exercises is still indispensible
  • 5. Our Teaching Experience in IB • …as well as field work!
  • 6. Some Examples of Biological Concepts and How They are Taught 1. Bioinformatics 2. Biogeography
  • 7. What is bioinformatics? • Application of computers, databases, and computational methods to the management of biological information • Biological information can be in the form of: • Nucleotide sequences (DNA and RNA) • Amino acid sequences and protein structure • Gene expression
  • 8. What is bioinformatics? • Biological information are stored in biological databases in order to organise the data on a large scale • Biological database • A large, organized body of persistent data, usually associated with computerized software designed to update, query, and retrieve components of the data stored within the system • Must be easily accessible • E.g. GenBank (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  • 9. Molecular Phylogeny – an application of bioinformatics •Estimating and analyzing evolutionary relationships using molecular markers such as DNA and proteins •Molecular markers retain a record of an organism’s evolutionary history •The nucleotide or amino acid differences within a gene reflect the evolutionary distance between two organisms •Molecular markers are easily quantifiable compared to morphological data
  • 10. What is bioinformatics? • There has been a phenomenal increase of biological information (e.g. molecular biology) in the last few decades • e.g. GENBANK – definitive database in the US for gene sequences • (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) •Makes use of the freeware BioEdit (www.mbio.ncsu.edu/BioEdit/BioEdit.html)
  • 11. •Neighbor-joining phylogenetic tree of mammals based on the mbrca1 gene
  • 12. Biogeography •Deals with geographic patterns of species distribution and the processes that result in such patterns. •Species distribution brought about by several factors: •speciation •extinction •continental drift •glaciation
  • 13. SE Asia Reconstructions 50-0 Ma © Robert Hall 1995
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  • 19. Islands of the Philippines during the last ice age (~10,000 years ago)
  • 20. Some Examples of Problematic Biological Concepts and How We Teach Them in IB 1. The theory of evolution •“It’s just a theory.” 2. The issue on reproductive health •Should contraception be taught in the first place? •Should contraception be taught in grade school and high school?
  • 21. 1. Evolution •Change in gene frequencies in populations over time •Unifying concept in biology •“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” (Theodosius Dobzhansky: 1900-1975) •Explains: •Origin of species •Diversity of organisms and their relationships •Similarities and differences among species •Adaptations to the environment
  • 22. Evolution – how we teach it in IB •Evolution IS a theory that is testable •We lay out all the facts •Ask the students to critically analyse the facts •What are their conclusions about evolution?
  • 23. Different reactions to evolution 1. Young Earth Creationists • accept Genesis literally, including not just the special, separate creation of human beings and all other species, but the historicity of Noah’s Flood • do not interpret the flat-earth and geocentric passages of the Bible literally, but they reject modern physics, chemistry, and geology concerning the age of the earth
  • 24. Different reactions to evolution 2. Day-Age Theorists • each of the six days of creation is not a 24-h day but a long period of time, even thousands or millions of years • found comfort in what they regard as a rough parallel between organic evolution and Genesis, in which plants appear before animals and human beings appear last
  • 25. Different reactions to evolution 3. Progressive Creationists • God created kinds of animals that were of a higher taxonomic level than species • God created creatures containing at least as much genetic variation as a family (e.g. Felidae, Cercopithecidae) and considerable evolution within a kind then occurred
  • 26. Different reactions to evolution 4. Intelligent Design Proponents • certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection • argue that an archaeologist who finds a statue made of stone in a field may justifiably conclude that the statue was designed, and reasonably seek to identify its designer
  • 27. Different reactions to evolution 5. Theistic Evolutionists • God created but relied more upon the laws of nature to bring about His purpose • one species can give rise to another • see God as intervening at critical intervals during the history of life especially in the origin of human beings
  • 28. Different reactions to evolution 6. Material Evolutionists • go beyond science and propose that the laws of nature are not only sufficient to explain all of nature and evolution but that the supernatural does not exist • philosophical materialism (naturalism)  there is nothing in the universe beyond matter, energy, and their interactions
  • 29. 2. The Reproductive Health • A right that should be accorded every woman • “involves the right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of children and to have information, education and means to do so” • Panao, 2008 • When does life begin?
  • 30. Implantation • Stage after fertilization in humans where a blastocyst develops from a fertilized zygote •Egg moves along oviduct to uterus •6th day after fertilization, blastocyst attaches to uterine wall or ENDOMETRIUM
  • 31. Human Embryonic & Fetal Development •Human gestation time – from conception to birth – approximately 9 months •Embryonic development – months 1 – 2 •Fetal development – months 3 – 9
  • 32. Contraceptives Blocks any one of the following stages of early development: 1. Release & transport of gametes 2. Fertilization 3. Implantation
  • 33. Types of Contraceptives 1. Ovulation-suppressing methods 2. Barrier methods (physical and chemical) 3. Surgical methods 4. Implantation-suppressing methods 5. Others
  • 34. Reproductive Health – how we teach it in IB •Explain human development from gametes to adulthood •How is development stopped by each type of contraceptive •Ask the students when they think life should begin •Ask the students if they would use contraceptives