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Evolution Education Re-considered

Understanding What Works

  • Book
  • © 2019


  • Focuses on the teaching of the central, key, unifying framework of biology
  • Reports on the findings of interventions designed to improve learning about evolution
  • Suggests future avenues for research depending on the characteristics of learners and the nature of the learning environment

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Table of contents (18 chapters)


About this book

This collection presents research-based interventions using existing knowledge to produce new pedagogies to teach evolution to learners more successfully, whether in schools or elsewhere. ‘Success’ here is measured as cognitive gains, as acceptance of evolution or an increased desire to continue to learn about it. Aside from introductory and concluding chapters by the editors, each chapter consists of a research-based intervention intended to enable evolution to be taught successfully; all these interventions have been researched and evaluated by the chapters’ authors and the findings are presented along with discussions of the implications. The result is an important compendium of studies from around the word conducted both inside and outside of school. The volume is unique and provides an essential reference point and platform for future work for the foreseeable future. 


​Unlike most other scientific subjects, an understanding of evolution requires teachers and students to confront both conceptual and personal concerns. This volume brings together contemporary research that directly tackles issues faced by teachers in the classroom. (Dr E. Margaret Evans, University of Michigan, USA)

Evolution is not a faith, or a belief system, or a political philosophy, but a science like any other and this book goes a long way to provide those who teach it with the tools to make that clear. (Professor Steve Jones, University College London, UK)

This book offers fresh perspectives and novel empirical insights into the teaching and learning of one of the most foundational biological phenomena: evolutionary change. The study of learning in elementary contexts and a focus on threshold concepts set this work apart from many other books in evolution education. This volume is essential reading for teachers andscholars in biology education. (Dr Ross H. Nehm, Stony Brook University, USA)

This volume systematically synthesizes the current state of the art through the voices of multiple leading evolution educators. It illuminates newly emerging evolutionary education interventions from around the world. It truly communicates an impressive single collection of diverse contemporary perspectives in evolution education. (Professor Lena Tibell, Linköping University, Sweden)

This is an ambitious and urgently needed collection of evidence-based resources for teaching biological evolution, across cultures and along a wide spectrum of both formal and informal education settings from primary schools to universities and more. The field of evolution education is growing, and there are many reasons for optimism about its future. This book is one of them. (Dr Jason R. Wiles, Syracuse University, USA)

Editors and Affiliations

  • IPN - Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at Kiel University, Kiel, Germany

    Ute Harms

  • Institute of Education, University College London, London, UK

    Michael J. Reiss

About the editors

UTE HARMS is Director at the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), Full Professor for Biology Education at the University of Kiel (Germany) since 2007, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (Great Britain). She owns a PhD in Cell Biology and has worked as a high school teacher for several years. In 2000 she got her first Professorship for Biology Education at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich (Germany). From 2006 to 2007 she held a chair in Biology Education at the University of Bremen. Her main research interests are conceptual learning in biology and in science focusing on evolution and energy, biology teacher education, biology related competitions and transfer of contemporary topics in the Life Sciences to the public.


Michael Reiss is Professor of Science Education at UCL Institute of Education, University College London, Visiting Professor at the Universities of York and Kiel and the Royal Veterinary College, Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association, Docent at the University of Helsinki and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. After undertaking a PhD and post-doctoral research in evolutionary biology and population genetics, he trained to be a science teacher and taught in schools for five years before returning to higher education. The former Director of Education at the Royal Society, his academic interests are in science education, bioethics and sex education and he has published widely on issues to do with creationism in schools.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Evolution Education Re-considered

  • Book Subtitle: Understanding What Works

  • Editors: Ute Harms, Michael J. Reiss

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Education, Education (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-14697-9Published: 24 July 2019

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-14700-6Published: 15 August 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-14698-6Published: 16 July 2019

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIV, 347

  • Number of Illustrations: 91 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Science Education, Learning & Instruction, Teaching and Teacher Education, Evolutionary Biology

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