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Engage and Explore

Stories are powerful ways to engage students with science, from having them develop explanations for phenomena to having them considering what it means to be a scientist. In this newsletter, we highlight our storylining resources and hear from high school and higher ed instructors about how they use compelling stories in their teaching.

What’s the Story?

As you’re planning for this school year, consider using storylines to structure your course. Storylines are coherent lesson sequences driven by student questions that work toward building explanations of phenomena. Explore examples of storylines built by BioInteractive or build your own with our Storyline Viewer.

CRISPR unwinds a DNA strand

Inside Story

Interested in how to incorporate storylines with your students? Check out our Educator Voices article from Oregon educator Kate Fisher on how she implemented a storyline about genetic medicine with her students, beginning with our Genes as Medicine short film and culminating in students’ explanations about the role of CRISPR in research and future genetic disease applications.

Brian Silliman addresses his class

Asked and Answered

When students first join Duke professor Brian Silliman’s class, they may feel that asking scientific questions is something only a select few are able to do. In this Educator Voices video, see how Silliman uses the "Asking Scientific Questions" activity with all his students to guide them in generating and refining their scientific questions.

Termite mounds in Mozambique

Every Picture Tells a Story

A picture can be worth more than a thousand words, especially when that picture is "phenomenal." Check out our series of Phenomenal Images, each aimed at sparking class discussion around making sense of the phenomenon presented in the image using students' biology knowledge.

Back to School

Fall doesn’t just mean back-to-school for students. Whether you’re a novice or expert user of BioInteractive resources, register for one of our upcoming professional learning workshops. All of our workshops are facilitated by experienced educators who provide time to explore our resources and reflect on how to use them with your students.

Educator Tip

Setting the Stage

I use BioInteractive resources to tell a story and set the stage before asking students to look at data to make conclusions about the science in the system. For example, the Scientists at Work video Tropic Cascades in Salt Marsh Ecosystems features the work of Brian Silliman and highlights how small snails can tell us about regulation in salt marsh ecosystems. I look for the literature behind the story to find a paper, figure, or piece of data at the appropriate level for my students. For this video, my students examined the figures from a Biology Letters paper published by Silliman’s research group. HHMI BioInteractive multimedia brings the story behind the data to life. – Kristine Grayson (University of Richmond, VA)


Do you have a favorite BioInteractive resource and want to tell us how you use it in your class? Email us the tip at If we feature yours, we'll send you a T-shirt!

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