Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2016 Ariel Pearson. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Biology Department

First Advisor

Philip Kudish

Second Advisor

Joseph Derrick Nelson


Evolutionary theory is a significant concept in biology because of its implications in genetics, organismal development, and organismal changes over deep time. It is also an important part of understanding issues within modern medicine and agriculture. Although evolution is an important concept in biology education, its teaching in primary and secondary schools is still controversial in many parts of the United States. This controversy surrounding evolutionary theory, as well as understanding the concept itself may hinder students' engagement in the topic. This evolution curriculum draws on cognitive educational theory and argumentation as a strategy for teaching science, as well as addresses the sociocultural aspects of teaching and learning evolutionary theory in scientific and nonscientific contexts.