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Undergraduate introductory biology students worked cooperatively on a first day of class activity where they were given a small unknown drawing (which represented a portion of an animal cell image) and were asked to (1) work in pairs to translate the image by scaling it up (to letter paper) and then (2) work with their classmates to determine the placement and orientation of their scaled-up drawing to create a larger (now a 5x3 letter paper mosaic) recognizable image. Students were able to practice drawing and spatial reasoning, both important science process skills, in an engaging way and in the low-risk setting of introductory classroom activities, while also using cooperative communication skills to solve the visual “big picture.” Whole class discussion followed the activity, with an emphasis on the collaborative and problem-solving nature of science, as well as the fundamental “big picture” importance of the cell in biology.
Las Vegas (Nev.)
UNLV Office of Faculty Affairs
Art in the science classroom
Tietjen, Erica, "Seeing the ‘Big Picture’: Building Cooperative Visual Literacy in the Undergraduate Biology Classroom" (2020). UNLV Best Teaching Practices Expo. 116.