In this study, a modified CREATE methodology (www.teachcreate.org) was used to incorporate the reading, analysis and discussion of four primary research papers from the recent biological literature into BIO182. Individual and group activities were used to integrate the papers into the course; some activities were graded, some were not. Activities included concept mapping, cartooning of experimental design, paragraph summarizing, data transformation, and figure annotation. A pre-post survey instrument was used to measure the impact of the CREATE process on four areas of student learning: Understanding, Skills, Attitudes, and Integration of Learning. The surveys showed that students in classes exposed to the CREATE process made significant gains in all four areas compared to their peers in a similar but unmodified BIO182 course. This study demonstrates that integrating a modified CREATE approach into an early majors-level course can positively impact student learning in many areas. The positive gains in attitudes and confidence are important in view of the high levels of attrition seen in the early years of STEM curriculum.