Int. J. Dev. Biol. 47: 85 - 91 (2003)
© UPV/EHU Press

Setting the stage: developmental biology in pre-college classrooms.

Sandra Borland, Karen Crawford and Victoria Brand

Indiana University Axolotl Colony, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA. sjborlan@indiana.edu

ABSTRACT Exercises that employ dynamic living material have proved highly successful at generating interest in science among young students. Developing embryos and larvae are especially well suited for such endeavors, for they can be handled without expensive or elaborate equipment, and their changing nature engages students. Using amphibian embryos, which are relatively large and exhibit profound, easily observed morphological changes, and amphibian larvae, which are easily kept and observed, captures the attention of children. By designing inquiry-based exercises and focused discussion sessions, a high intellectual content can be integrated into these endeavors. The long-term implications for generating an informed citizenry, improving the participation of women in science, and empowering elementary school teachers are profound. Professional developmental biology researchers should feel encouraged to participate in these types of activities.