Andrew Petto
ajpettoLapham Hall N203

Andrew Petto

Distinguished Lecturer


  • PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1986
  • MA, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1979
  • AB, Middlebury College, 1972


Research and Teaching Interests

Over the past 20 years, my professional interests have evolved to the question of scientific literacy and science education. The main goal is to promote the understanding of the nature and process of scientific inquiry as a context for all the factual information that scientific research generates. My research in science education has focused on understanding how science teachers are motivated to continue their own education and to introduce new ideas, activities, and interests to the students in their classrooms. I have also worked to understand how students learn science, and in particular how they come to understand the evolutionary theory that is at the foundation of modern biology.

My research interests are in the area of the use of animal models for understanding general biological structure and function, particularly as applied to human gross anatomy and movement. I am also interested in mathematical modeling of population ecology, particularly applying demographic models to the study of primate life history evolution.

Selected Publications

Petto A.J., Mead L.S. Overcoming obstacles to evolution education: misconceptions about the evolution of complexity. Evolution Education and Outreach [in press].

Petto S.G., Petto A.J. The potential DaVinci in all of us: Integrated learning in the arts and the sciences. The Science Teacher [in press].

Petto A.J. Media Review of Complexity: The Cassiopeia Project. Reports of the National Center for Science Education Reports of the National Center for Science Education [in press].

Petto A.J. Continuity and change: The bioanthropological perspective. Teaching Anthropology: SACC Notes 2008; 22–30, 34.

Petto A.J. In: Schroeder C.M., Ciccone A., eds. Making an Impact on Student Learning: Teaching and Assessing with a Purpose. Milwaukee (WI): Center for Instructional and Professional Development, 2007, 37–47.

Petto A.J., Godfrey L.R., eds. Scientists Confront Creationism, revised edition. New York: WW Norton, 2007.