biology careers, they will more heavily utilize skills of interpreting
and displaying information visually. The FotD activities provide
an opportunity for instructors to facilitate and scaffold that learning
by leading students through discussions about different types of
displays of visual data.
For this pilot study, we developed additional assessments related to
students’ figure interpretation and analytical skills, growth and
fixed mindset, and Likert-type assessments of students’ perceptions
of the activities. However, due to reliability issues with the assessments and the lack of a true control (where a group of students
receives no figure activity), we did not report on these measures.
A future study could improve upon these measures to provide a
more complete picture of the types of gains students receive by
engaging in different variations of graphing activities.
We are very grateful to the teaching assistants and instructors who
helped us with this study, including S. Masani, C. Dresser-Briggs,
N. Wonderlin, J. Betts, K. Kesler, D. Hulbert, and L. Phillips. We
would also like to thank members of the Geocognition Research
Laboratory for their review of this paper. This research was supported in part by the Michigan State University Graduate School
and the MSU Lyman Briggs College Scholarship of Undergraduate
Teaching and Learning Fellowship Program. The Figure of the
Day activity was originally developed as part of the Biology Student
Math Attitudes and Anxiety Program (BIOMAAP) funded by the
National Science Foundation (IUSE grant 1612072 to J. M. Wojdak
and A. E. Fleming-Davies).
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CAITLIN K. KIRBY is a Ph.D. candidate in Earth and Environmental
Sciences at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824; e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org. ARIETTA FLEMING-DAVIES is an Assistant Professor
in Biology at the University of San Diego, San Diego CA 92110;
e-mail: email@example.com. PETER J. T. WHITE is an Assistant
Professor in Lyman Briggs College and Entomology at Michigan State
University; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.