Behaviour 2019
Teaching key scaffolding ideas and threshold concepts in Animal Behavior
Thomas J Valone1, Shawn E Nordell2. 1Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, United States; 2Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States

Animal Behavior is a highly interdisciplinary field that intersects many disciplines (e.g., ecology, evolution, psychology, physiology, development, neuroscience, genetics) as eloquently laid out in Tinbergen’s Four Questions.  It can be challenging for students to organize their knowledge in a framework that is contextualized and makes links across key ideas, leaving students with a fragmented and disconnected understanding of the field.  Additionally, a student’s learning is often impeded by a lack of understanding of threshold concepts, concepts that act as a portal of understanding to the field.  Here, we propose a set of key scaffolding ideas and threshold concepts for animal behavior and discuss how they can anchor an approach for the construction of a connected and contextualized framework of learning.  The identification and assessment of these key scaffolding ideas is in alignment with pedagogical research in other STEM fields and we are eager to begin this dialogue.