From Earth’s History to Biodiversity

Tools for teaching with open Science

Workshop 2019

Encyclopedia of Life, GBIF, iNaturalist, OneZoom, OpenTree, PBDB and Phylotastic resources are made freely available to access by their creators with the intention they be shared and used as part of an open science movement. Their use in the workshop does not necessarily indicate endorsement by their creators.

Teachers: Did you know that researchers, inspired by an 'open science' movement, are putting the latest scientific findings on the internet for everyone to use? Would you like to incorporate this cutting-edge science into your lesson plans but you are not sure how or where to start?

Education Researchers: Are you interested in assessing the effect of using 'open science' in the classroom? Would you like to collaborate with instructors, biology researchers, and computational programmers to develop curriculum resources that incorporate cutting-edge teaching practices?

A vast amount of cutting-edge, scientific information on organisms' distributions, traits, and history is freely available from online resources such as Encyclopedia of Life, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, iNaturalist, OneZoom, Open Tree of Life, and the PaleoBiology DataBase. Tools to easily harvest data from these 'open science' resources have been developed, allowing a continuous integration of the latest scientific knowledge into databases. However, most of these tools are only available to those with expertise in informatics and the latest scientific data remain generally inaccesible. We intend to change that.

If you are a middle, high school or college instructor interested in incorporating open science into your lesson plans in the areas of History of Earth, Biological Evolution, Ecosystems and Heredity; or, a researcher in biology education interested in bringing cutting edge teaching practices into lesson plans that will be used in the classroom:

Join us this summer at the

for a three day workshop (July 22-24, 2019)

that will focus on:

  1. Exposing and using open science resources to incorporate up-to-date, cutting-edge scientific data that can be used to develop electronic resources for teaching and lesson plans (find a list of resources in the about section).
  2. Developing electronic resources for teaching that incorporate the above resources in middle, high school, and college lesson plans in the areas of History of Earth, Biological Evolution, Ecosystems, and Heredity (find relevant NGSS and AAAS standards here).
  3. Collaborating and networking with instructors, education and biology researchers, computational programmers, and technology providers involved in open science and electronic resource development, interested in bringing cutting-edge scientific data and teaching practices into the classroom.
  4. Building a community of support that extends beyond the workshop and that is interested in bringing open science into the classroom using online interactive resources.

Specialists in Attendance

Louise Mead

Education Director, BEACON Center for Evolution in Action

Yan Wong

Big Data Institute, University of Oxford

OneZoom Chief Technology Officer

Brian O'Meara

Associate Head Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology UTK

Jen Hammock

Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Encyclopedia of Life Project Manager


The ultimate goal of this workshop is to develop interactive electronic resources and lesson plans that will use open science in the classroom. If you want to see a real example of what could be accomplished with the workshop, please visit, an educational resource developed by the Phylotastic team in collaboration with teachers to help middle schoolers learn about geologic eras, continental drift, and phylogenies.


We want to highlight the importance of participants being able to commit to the full workshop experience (July 22-24).

We expect participants to gather in small working groups and share resources, ideas and advice based on their own experiences, and provide each other with feedback on materials and lesson plans, to establish a community of people sharing similar goals and challenges.

Your contributions will be critical to the success of this experience and participants are encouraged to continue to work with their group virtually during the fall.

If you are unsure of your availability to make this kind of commitment at this time, please feel free to contact us or follow us on twitter to keep up to date about resources that will be made available for those who will not be able to attend the workshop.

Selected attendees will only need to bring their own personal computers or tablets.

In case attendees don't have access to a personal device, participants will be organized in teams making sure everyone has access to a device.

This is an NSF funded workshop and funds are fully available to support travel and lodging for selected attendees.

Applications are now closed!

Invited participants have been notified by email.

Please contact us if you have any questions, suggestions, or comments:

Jodie Wiggins:

Arlin Stoltzfus:

Luna L. Sanchez-Reyes:

*submitter's local time

This workshop is hosted by the Phylotastic project. Funds to support this work come from the US National Science Foundation (NSF) grants 1458572, 1453424, and 1458603