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