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Communicating science with non-experts (SciComm) is an important scientific practice. SciComm can inform decision making and public policies. Recently, seminal reports have indicated that SciComm is a practice in which students should engage. Unfortunately, students have few opportunities to engage in SciComm partially due to the absence of a framework that can help instructors facilitate such activities. We present a framework of the essential elements of effective SciComm that synthesizes previous work to describe the who, why, what, and how of effectively communicating science with non-experts. We applied the framework to a lesson for undergraduate biology students and assessed student outcomes. The lesson uses an introduction, assignment sheet, and worksheet to guide students through planning, producing, and describing their SciComm assignment. We assessed the outcomes of the lesson by quizzing students on their knowledge of SciComm and asking about their perceptions of SciComm and the lesson. Students performed well but focused some of their responses on what they were assigned in the lesson instead of what was best for effective SciComm. Moreover, students perceived the lesson positively. This work can be used by practitioners and researchers to understand how to engage students in the important scientific practice of SciComm.

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Published as Wack, J., Jaeger, C., Yuan, S., & Bergan-Roller, H. E. (2021). A Framework & Lesson to Engage Biology Students in Communicating Science with Nonexperts. The American Biology Teacher, 83(1), 17-25. ©2021 by the Regents of the University of California/National Association of Biology Teachers. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California/on behalf of the National Association of Biology Teachers for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.


Department of Biological Sciences




The American Biology Teacher



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