THE MOLECULES OF LIFE Orienting grade 11/12 students to molecular biology research                                     A.E...
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The molecules of life

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The molecules of life

  1. 1. THE MOLECULES OF LIFE Orienting grade 11/12 students to molecular biology research A.E. van der Valk & M.H.W. van Mil, FIsme and JCU, Utrecht University, the Netherlands Research issue Research design How to orient students to academic science research? Developmental research • Focus on the typical ways of thinking and investigating - combining qualitative and quantitative methods • Molecular Biology (MB) as an example - first draft test second draft test final edition Data analysis: - identify elements of the typical ways of thinking and The context investigating Junior College Utrecht (JCU) Data from 6 JCU classes (150 students): • Linked to Utrecht University - lesson observations and student interviews • motivated and talented science students (grade 11/12) - student logbooks and posters • a 2 days/week science programme - student questionnaires • compacted curriculum • enriching modules taught by university teachers Results The new Dutch Nature, Life and Technology curriculum • Students enjoyed the module and learnt much about MB • introduced since 2007 • Showed aspects of MB questioning, reasoning and • advanced integrated science investigating • aim: orient to future science studies “I liked the profound understanding, the connection between chemistry and biology and the ways we investigated what is going wrong with CF” • Some 1st round optional topics did not invite to investigate the molecular level Design of The Molecules of Life “This topic was rather boring as it was not about the Analysis of the ways of thinking and mechanisms in the cell” investigating in MB research (Alberts, 1998; van Mil, 2011) Conclusion • type of questions: How does The general design of the module works: students get a it work inside the cells? thorough orientation to academic science research. • type of answer sought for: Main point of attention: - identify underlying mechanisms • choose topics that guide students towards core questions of in the cell the field, i.c. molecular mechanisms in the cellworking instead - relate to other levels of biological of reproducing facts organization • type of reasoning and investigating: - combine biology and chemistry References: reasoning Alberts, B. (1998). The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines: - laboratory experiments to test Preparing the Next Generation of Molecular Biologists. Cell, 92, 291 hypotheses – 294. Elaboration in an example that Van Mil, M.H.W., Boerwinkel, D.J., & Waarlo, A.J. (2011) Modelling fits grade 11/12 level Molecular Mechanisms. Science & Education, in press. • genetic disease: Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Level of Symptoms of CF organization organism little energy; difficult breathing; infections organs lungs, intestines, pancreas affected tissues mucous glands producing thick mucous cells mucous cells defect in excreting chloride ions proteins chloride ion pumps defect or absent genes mutation in CFTR gene Learning activities • Guided learning on CF - theory assignments, search for information, lab work • Identify general processes and mechanisms - e.g. DNA transcription • Optional investigations on other MB topics - in groups of three - some basic information supplied - students formulate questions and search for answers - poster presentations and peer feedback ‘Chapter questions’ about CF‘Chapter questions’ about CF What is wrong inside a CF patient? Download the international edition What is wrong inside a CF patient? The student textbook: www.uu.nl/jcu > english 1. What causes thick mucus?1. What causes thick mucus? The teacher guide: ask for access to teacher website: jcu@uu.nl 2. What causes the faulty chloride pumps?2. What causes the faulty chloride pumps? 3. How are faulty blueprints passed on? on?3. How are faulty blueprints passed 4. How mutation cause faulty ion pumps?4. How mutation cause faulty ion pumps? Contact 5. Mutation not expressed in every cell? cell?5. Mutation not expressed in every P.O.box 80 000 6. How does a chloride pump work?6. How does a chloride pump work? 3508TA Utrecht, NL7. Why are the chloride pumps missing? 7. Why are the chloride pumps missing? www.JCU.nl > English About JCU: A.E.vanderValk@uu.nl About the module: M.H.W.vanMil@uu.nl

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