The processes of mitosis and meiosis are oft-cited and long-standing examples of concepts that are difficult for students to learn and understand. While there are many examples in the literature of “how-to-do-it,” innovative instructional approaches for teaching mitosis and meiosis, publications that include measurement of learning gains are fewer. Moreover, when measurement of learning gains are reported, the outcomes of innovative approaches are most often compared to outcomes from traditional lecture-format instruction. In contrast, this research compares two active-learning approaches to teaching meiosis through modeling in an introductory undergraduate biology course for health sciences majors. Items from the published, validated Meiosis Concept Inventory were used for pre- and post-instruction assessment. In addition, we collected data regarding student perceptions of the learning experience in each modeling scenario through two Likert-scale items and two free-response items. Overall, students demonstrated significant learning gains from pre- to post-assessment. We found no significant differences in performance on the posttest between the two modeling approaches, indicating that the selection of the modeling activity used to support student learning can be made on the basis of other criteria, such as instructor preference, physical classroom layout, or available supplies.

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