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ISU Panorama. Photo by Chuck Peterson.


Anna Grinath

Anna S. Grinath, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Biology Education Research

Office: Life Sciences 411

(208) 282-4082


Curriculum Vitae

Research Gate

Google Scholar


Lab: Life Sciences 410

My research centers on the idea that biologists engage in a broad range of practices to generate scientific knowledge. As such, biology learners should also make sense of biological phenomena through participation in the practices and discourses of science. I find the Framework for Ambitious Science Teaching (Windschitl, Thompson, & Braaten, 2018) helpful for guiding the design of such learning experiences in postsecondary education contexts. Ambitious practices emphasize student ideas as a basis of instruction and the use of scientific investigations as a way to shape those ideas through discourse-rich practices, placing a premium on classroom talk as an essential mechanism of science learning. I am particularly interested in the conversations that take place as learners investigate and develop explanatory models of biological phenomena. These conversations are opportunities for students to negotiate meaning through scientific argumentation: posing possible explanations for an observation, collaborating on the design of an investigation, considering different ways to analyze and represent data, discussing multiple interpretations of evidence, and justifying the selection of evidence to support claims. To investigate biology learning by scientific argumentation, my lab has research projects focused on curriculum design, assessment development, student learning, and teaching professional development.


BIOL 4413/5513 Biology Teaching Methods
BIOL 4499/5514 Teaching Assistant Seminar
BIOL 6693 Seminar in College Teaching
BIOL 6694 Advanced Studies in College Teaching
BIOL 7700 Supervised Teaching Internship 


2017, Ph.D. Science Education, Florida State University, Tallahasee, FL
2012, M.S. Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
2007, B.A. Biological Science, Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT

Biographical Sketch

I joined the Department of Biological Sciences at ISU in 2019. I am a biology education researcher, investigating the learning and teaching of biology in postsecondary contexts. Prior to joining ISU, I was an Assistant Professor at Middle Tennessee State University. I hold a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction in Science Education from FSU's College of Education. Throughout my doctorate, I worked for FSU's Biology Department, developing a general biology laboratory curriculum and teaching assistant professional development. My biological research background is in marine biology, focusing on the filter-feeding ecology of coral reef sponges. This research involved studies in Panama, Belize, Curacao, the Florida Keys, and Australia. Prior to my graduate work at FSU, I grew up in Massachusetts and went to college in Vermont. I enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, pottery and traveling.


Grinath, A.S., and Southerland, S.A. (2019). Applying the Ambitious Science Teaching Framework in undergraduate biology: Responsive talk moves that support explanatory rigor. Science Education, 103(1): 92-122.

Grinath, A.S. (2018). Book reviews: Making sense of genes. Science Education, 102(6): 1396-1398.

Strimaitis, A.M., Southerland, S.A., Sampson, V.D., Enderle, P.J., Grooms, J., (2017). Promoting equitable biology lab instruction by engaging all students in a broad range of science practices: An exploratory study. School Science and Mathematics, 117: 92–103. doi:10.1111/ssm.12212.

Swain, T. D., Strimaitis, A. M., Reuter, K. E., & Boudreau, W. (2016). Towards integrative systematics of Anthozoa (Cnidaria): evolution of form in the order Zoanthidea. Zoologica Scripta, 46(2): 227-244. doi:10.1111/zsc.12195.

Swain, T.D., Schellinger, J.L., Strimaitis, A.M., Reuter, K.E. 2015. Evolution of anthozoan polyp retraction mechanisms: convergent functional morphology and evolutionary allometry of the marginal musculature in order Zoanthidea (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 15 (123). DOI 10.1186/s12862-015-0406-1

Strimaitis, A.M., Schellinger, J., Jones, A., Grooms, J. and Sampson, V. 2014. Development of an instrument to assess student knowledge necessary to critically evaluate scientific claims in the popular media. Journal of College Science Teaching, 43 (5), 55-68.