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Using Magnets and Classroom Flipping to Promote Student Engagement and Learning about Protein Translation in a Large Microbiology Class

    Authors: Jennifer L. McLean1,*, Erica L. Suchman1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 04 May 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Campus Delivery 1682, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1682. Phone: 970-491-6119. E-mail: Jennifer.McLean@Colostate.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 288-289. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1048
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    Abstract:

    It is generally accepted within the education community that active learning is superior to traditional lecturing alone. Many science educators, however, are reluctant to give up classroom time for activities because they fear that they will not have time to cover as much content. Classroom flipping has been gaining momentum in higher education as one way to engage students in the classroom while still exposing students to the same volume of course content. The activity presented here demonstrates how flipping one lecture period can be used in conjunction with an engaging in-class activity to teach a concept that is often difficult for students to learn through lecture alone. Specifically, we asked students to view a lecture video on bacterial protein translation before coming to class. We then used the classroom period to conduct a hands-on activity that allowed students to interact with magnetic pieces representing the components of protein translation to generate a protein from a given piece of DNA. Survey data showed that students liked the flipped classroom format associated with this activity, but they would not want every class flipped, and they perceived that the hands-on protein translation activity helped them to learn the material. Preliminary summative assessment data showed that this activity may have been useful in helping students to achieve the fundamental learning outcome that students will be able to translate a protein from a given piece of bacterial DNA.

Key Concept Ranking

Bacterial Proteins
0.7408068
Genetic Code
0.6625652
Amino Acids
0.5307668
Bacterial DNA
0.4704866
Translation
0.4566488
0.7408068

References & Citations

1. Deslauriers L, Schelew E, Wieman C2011Improved learning in a large enrollment physics classScience332603186286410.1126/science.120178321566198 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1201783
2. Lom B2012Classroom activities: simple strategies to incorporate student-centered activities within undergraduate science lecturesJ Undergrad Neurosci Educ111A64A71
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1048
2016-05-04
2017-07-26

Abstract:

It is generally accepted within the education community that active learning is superior to traditional lecturing alone. Many science educators, however, are reluctant to give up classroom time for activities because they fear that they will not have time to cover as much content. Classroom flipping has been gaining momentum in higher education as one way to engage students in the classroom while still exposing students to the same volume of course content. The activity presented here demonstrates how flipping one lecture period can be used in conjunction with an engaging in-class activity to teach a concept that is often difficult for students to learn through lecture alone. Specifically, we asked students to view a lecture video on bacterial protein translation before coming to class. We then used the classroom period to conduct a hands-on activity that allowed students to interact with magnetic pieces representing the components of protein translation to generate a protein from a given piece of DNA. Survey data showed that students liked the flipped classroom format associated with this activity, but they would not want every class flipped, and they perceived that the hands-on protein translation activity helped them to learn the material. Preliminary summative assessment data showed that this activity may have been useful in helping students to achieve the fundamental learning outcome that students will be able to translate a protein from a given piece of bacterial DNA.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Magnets representing components of bacterial protein translation on a metal board. Each tRNA has a Velcro strip for amino acid attachment. Likewise, each amino acid has Velcro underneath so it can be attached to the correct tRNA. Each amino acid also has two strips of Velcro on its front side edges allowing for the formation of “peptide bonds” to create a growing peptide chain. (See Appendix 5 for templates.)

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 288-289. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1048
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Students were asked to respond to the statement “The in-class protein translation activity helped me learn the material.” Most students perceived that the activity helped them learn the process of translation ( = 113 students).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 288-289. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1048
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