Classroom Activities to Engage Students and Promote Critical Thinking about Genetic Regulation of Bacterial Quorum Sensing †
We developed an interactive activity to mimic bacterial quorum sensing, and a classroom worksheet to promote critical thinking about genetic regulation of the lux operon. The interactive quorum sensing activity engages students and provides a direct visualization of how population density functions to influence light production in bacteria. The worksheet activity consists of practice problems that require students to apply basic knowledge of the lux operon in order to make predictions about genetic complementation experiments, and students must evaluate how genetic mutations in the lux operon affect gene expression and overall phenotype. The worksheet promotes critical thinking and problem solving skills, and emphasizes the roles of diffusible signaling molecules, regulatory proteins, and structural proteins in quorum sensing.
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