Teaching Evolution

Evolution Challenges: Integrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution

edited by Karl S. Rosengren, Sarah K. Brem, E. Margaret Evans, and Gale M. Sinatra

New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 504 pages.

Reviewer Tania Lombrozo describes Evolution Challenges as “a broad-ranging volume that straddles basic research on evolutionary understanding and educational practice. As a result, it’s likely to have something new for both teachers and researchers, and may be of interest to general readers hoping to learn more about the psychological underpinnings of people’s understanding (or misunderstanding) and acceptance (or rejection) of evolution. The chapters are well written and fairly accessible, but this ...

Tree-Thinking: An Introduction to Phylogenetic Biology

by David Baum and Stacey Smith

Greenwood Village (CO): Roberts & Company, 2012. 496 pages.

“Until reviewing this text, I had yet to find a valuable text resource that explains tree thinking on a conceptual level appropriate for people new to the subject,” writes reviewer Kristy L. Halverson. “This text did not disappoint. … I was pleasantly surprised at how incredibly easy it was to read this text.

The Fact of Evolution

by Cameron M. Smith

Amherst (NY): Prometheus Books, 2011. 346 pages.

Reviewer Eric W. Dewar writes, “The Fact of Evolution presents itself as a means to end the argument over evolution by portraying evolution as the unavoidable logical consequence of replication, variation, and selection.” He appreciated the book’s extensive survey of the literature of evolution, but took issue with its choice of examples, its ahistorical treatment of evolution, its neglect of common misconceptions about evolution, and its idiosyncratic choices of terminology.

Controversy in the Classroom

by Diane E. Hess
New York: Routledge, 2009. 197 pages.

Reviewer Andrew J. Petto writes, “Most of the book deals with controversies that do not have a direct bearing on creation/evolution issues. Furthermore, Hess is clear that there is a different dynamic for engaging concepts that are considered settled by the relevant disciplines but whose closed status is being challenged in public discourse.

Evolution and Creationism: A Very Short Guide, second edition

by Warren D. Allmon
Ithaca (NY): Paleontological Research Institution, 2009. 128 pages.

“When the Paleontological Research Institution opened its Museum of the Earth in 2003, its director Warren Allmon realized that the floor educators and volunteer docents needed accessible, accurate, and current information on evolution. This volume updates the original, in terms of both new scientific advances and external legal and social events,” writes reviewer Robert “Mac” West.

Evolution and Religion in American Education

by David E. Long
New York: Springer, 2011. 203 pages.

Reviewer Steve Watkins explains, “Much of Long’s research delves, in effect, into a question recently posed by Karl Giberson: ‘Why do tens of millions of Americans prefer to get their science from Ken Ham, founder of the creationist Answers in Genesis, who has no scientific expertise, rather than from his fellow evangelical Francis Collins, current Director of the National Institutes of Health?’ Long’s book provides some important and troubling answers to such questions.” Watkins warns, “A challenge fo

Evolution, Creationism, and the Battle to Control America’s Classrooms

by Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 304 pages.

“Natural scientists … often react with disbelief and dismay when they read polls about how many Americans do not believe in human evolution and resist its teaching in public schools. They’re not sure what (if anything) can be done about it in our exceptionally religious-minded society,” writes reviewer George F. Bishop. “But it may take highly capable political scientists, such as Berkman and Plutzer, to pave the way to effective reform by telling us what goes on behind those classroom doors, and why.

No Dinosaurs in Heaven

written, produced, and directed by Greta Schiller
New York: Jezebel Productions, 2011. 53 minutes.

No Dinosaurs in Heaven addresses concerns about who is teaching students what in classrooms across America — a cultural conflict that has been flaring up off and on for decades,” writes reviewer Brandon Haught. While Haught appreciates the two storylines involving NCSE’s rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and Schiller’s own experiences with

The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution

by Carl Zimmer
Greenwood Village (CO): Roberts and Company, 2010. 394 pages.

Reviewer Steve Rissing describes the writing of The Tangled Bank as “clear, concise, and very user-friendly,” its science as “remarkably current and complete” and its art as “fantastic [and] surprisingly ample and effectively colorful.”

NSTA Toolkit for Teaching Evolution

by Judy Elgin Jensen
Arlington (VA): National Science Teachers Association, 2008. 73 pages.

From the publisher, the National Science Teachers Association: "Evolution is — or should be — a major unifying theory in every biology or life sciences classroom, but science teachers, principals, and school administrators all too often hear the question: 'Why teach evolution?' NSTA Tool Kit for Teaching Evolution, compiled by NSTA with input from the National Center for Science Education, helps you cogently answer that question." The reviewer for The Science Teacher writes, "This small book really packs a powerful punch!