Abstract

Providing students with opportunities for higher-order thinking is crucial. However, delivering this experience can be difficult. This is especially true in animal breeding classes where breeding animals during the semester, even mice, is not feasible. Therefore, many educators use worksheets and math problems to demonstrate genetic change. Often, the students learn to complete the questions, but they struggle to contextualize or conceptualize the difference they observe in the numbers. The use of computer simulations is a potential answer to this challenge. Using simulations students can manipulate modeled systems and see results in a timely and controlled environment. Motivated by this information, we developed a beef cattle breeding simulation, SeeBeefGeneticsĀ®. This simulation allows students to make breeding decisions in a simulated cow herd and see genetic change over time. The simulation was developed according to learning objectives determined through educator interviews. Through iterative testing with students in the United States and Canada, we have designed a simulation that shows increased learning gains, motivation, and engagement in undergraduate animal breeding and genetics courses.