Term

Summer 8-13-2015

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Barbara Swanson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Anne Neilitz

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

James Granger

Abstract

The research question addressed is, how do 10 public school teachers present the theory of evolution? The motivation of this capstone was my experience with teachers presenting evolution (all life having evolved from a simple single celled organism) to students as indisputable, and the seemingly lack of discussion about any problems with the theory or unanswered questions. A key influence was an older sibling, a mechanical engineer, who often provides scientific answers for me and provided many resources that challenge the so-called indisputability and possibilities of evolution. This study interviewed 10 public school teachers to identify how they present the theory of evolution. This study showed that all ten participants teach the theory of evolution according to the Minnesota state standards. Nine of the ten participants tell students, without hesitation, yes life has evolved. One participant frames it as most scientists believe life has evolved.

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