Educational research often emphasizes the prevalent gender gap between males and females in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. While many studies have found a gender bias when it comes to specific areas of science, little has been done to analyze the effects of how we teach within each of these subjects. In our study, we took a new angle on gender research by specifically considering whether there is a gender gap in how the models (the specific lesson examples/content used to teach a broader biology topic) used to teach biology affect student interest, attitude, and learning. We first created and distributed a survey to kindergarten through sixth grade students to see whether a gender bias concerning lesson models exists, when that gap is most prevalent, and which models exhibit the bias. Based on the findings of that survey, we then created four sets of parallel lesson plans teaching broad topics using juxtaposing lesson models, one of male interest and one of female interest. We designed instruments to measure whether lesson model or presenter gender impacted student interest, attitude, and learning. Our findings show that students do indeed indicate a preference to learn using certain lesson models, but that the lesson model and presenter gender do not impact student interest, attitude, or learning during an active learning biology presentation.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Biology



Date Submitted


Document Type





gender bias, lesson models, biology education, elementary school

Included in

Biology Commons