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Bringing Mammoths Back from Extinction

Developing Scientific and Information Literacies

By Andrea M.-K. Bierema, Sara D. Miller, Claudia E. Vergara

Bringing Mammoths Back from Extinction



The focus of this case study is on the development of scientific and information literacies. Working on activities that address audience, purpose, language, authority, and use of evidence, students examine how the ways in which information sources are constructed can impact readers’ perceptions of scientific content. The case study was created for a flipped classroom in which students learn basic information literacy concepts before class and then work in teams during class or online to apply those concepts. Students analyze two articles related to “bringing back” mammoths by cloning ancient mammoth DNA: one article is an original research paper and the other is a news article discussing the research. The case is the first of a two-case study sequence (the second case study is “The Stakeholders of Gorongosa National Park: Intersecting Scientific and Information Literacies”), and can be taught either as a stand-alone activity or as the first in this two-case sequence. Both case studies focus on information literacy rather than scientific content and can be used in a wide variety of science courses.


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  • Describe different sources of information, considering the information needs of different users and the appropriate uses for different types of sources.
  • Describe the ways in which content (e.g., claims and supporting evidence) is used in different types of sources.
  • Explain that the ways in which information sources are constructed and the formats in which they are presented can impact readers’ perceptions of scientific content.
  • Explain the factors that guide their choice when matching information products (e.g., popular media, scientific sources) with information needs.
  • Explain the ways in which scientific information clarifies claims from popular media.


Article analysis; de-extinction; information literacy; mammoth; popular media; primary literature; scientific article; scientific literacy; secondary literature;


Subject Headings

Biology (General)
Communication Science
Environmental Science
Science (General)
Science Education
Wildlife Management


High school, Undergraduate lower division



PDF, Word



Science and the media






Analysis (Issues), Flipped, Journal Article



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