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ERIC Number: EJ889703
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-1539-2422
Thermoregulatory Behavior in Diurnal Lizards as a Vehicle for Teaching Scientific Process
Platz, James E.
Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching, v35 n2 p29-35 Dec 2009
Field experiments offer the opportunity for hands on experience with the scientific process. While this is true of a wide variety of activities, many have pitfalls both experimental and logistical that reduce the overall rate of success, in turn, influencing student learning outcomes. Relying on small, territorial, diurnal lizards and an array of inexpensive data loggers and lizard models provides a reliable method of testing a hypothesis in the field. This approach virtually guarantees that every student obtains a useable data set within a short period of time. Behavioral responses in lizards are dependent on becoming active only after external, sun driven, heat sources are adequate to permit daily activity on the one hand and avoiding excessive heat uptake above a critical maximum. Activity is dependent upon three primary modes of heat transfer (gain or loss): solar radiation, conductive exchange and convection, concepts that all students seem to understand. Over 11 of the past 15 years all students (more than 80) who undertook this project obtained useable data sets (data log records matched to focal observations). We relied on two different subspecies of "Holbrookia maculata." Numerous other lizards are amenable to this approach. (Contains 4 figures and 1 table.)
Association of College and Biology Educators. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A