This is an exciting time in biology education. Important reports such as Bio2010 and Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education, which are based on science education research, are moving biology education practice toward concepts and competencies in undergraduate education. The Next Generation Science Standards have established a framework for science education on which to build curricula in the K–12 arena. Current teaching promotes inquiry, problem solving, and other forms of active learning. This special issue of The American Biology Teacher highlights the power of microbiology as a tool for teaching these core concepts and competencies.

Microbiology is rising within the public consciousness, opening learning opportunities not only for students who want careers in biology but also for the general public. Microbiology touches every aspect of our lives and influences important decisions that affect our health and environment, making it an ideal way to engage students in biology. This...

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