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The Sci-Fi Microbe: Reinforcing Understanding of Microbial Structures and their Significance Through a Creative Writing Exercise

    Author: Adrienne A. Dolberry1
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    Affiliations: 1: Salem State University, Salem, MA 01970
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 20 December 2010
    • Supplemental material available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Biology Department, Salem State University, 352 Lafayette Street, Salem, MA, 01970. Phone: (978)542-8047. Fax: (978) 542-6146. E-mail: adolberry@salemstate.edu.
    • Copyright © 2010 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2010 vol. 11 no. 2 175-176. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11i2.213
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    Abstract:

    By blending storytelling with topics in biology, a fun activity can be created for students to strengthen their scientific knowledge. The “Sci-Fi Microbe” writing assignment lets students create an altered version of a known microorganism, and write a story describing an unusual observation that leads the characters discovery of their new microorganism.

    The Sci-Fi Microbe exercise is appropriate for any microbiology course where the instructor has previously reviewed structures, metabolism, and growth conditions of microorgan-isms. Since students are responsible for developing and writing their own stories, the activity allows for the instructor to assess students’ understanding in an exercise where they are required to articulate the connection of the microbe to its environment – thereby discouraging simple memorization of facts

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References & Citations

1. Killingbeck K 2006 Field botany and creative writing: Where the science of writing meets the writing of science J Coll Sci Teaching 35 26 28
2. Kirkland WL 1997 Teaching biology through creative writing J Coll Sci Teaching 26 277 279
3. Osbourn A 2006 The poetry of science Nat Rev Microbio 4 77 80 10.1038/nrmicro1321 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro1321
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2010-12-20
2017-09-23

Abstract:

By blending storytelling with topics in biology, a fun activity can be created for students to strengthen their scientific knowledge. The “Sci-Fi Microbe” writing assignment lets students create an altered version of a known microorganism, and write a story describing an unusual observation that leads the characters discovery of their new microorganism.

The Sci-Fi Microbe exercise is appropriate for any microbiology course where the instructor has previously reviewed structures, metabolism, and growth conditions of microorgan-isms. Since students are responsible for developing and writing their own stories, the activity allows for the instructor to assess students’ understanding in an exercise where they are required to articulate the connection of the microbe to its environment – thereby discouraging simple memorization of facts

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