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Quantitative Modeling of Membrane Transport and Anisogamy by Small Groups Within a Large-Enrollment Organismal Biology Course

    Authors: Eric S. Haag1, Gili Marbach-Ad2,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 2: College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 02 December 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/ and 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: Teaching and Learning Center, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland, 1328 Symons Hall, College Park, MD 20742. Phone: 301-405-2075. Email: gilim@umd.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 485-486. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1192
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    Abstract:

    Quantitative modeling is not a standard part of undergraduate biology education, yet is routine in the physical sciences. Because of the obvious biophysical aspects, classes in anatomy and physiology offer an opportunity to introduce modeling approaches to the introductory curriculum. Here, we describe two in-class exercises for small groups working within a large-enrollment introductory course in organismal biology. Both build and derive biological insights from quantitative models, implemented using spreadsheets. One exercise models the evolution of anisogamy (i.e., small sperm and large eggs) from an initial state of isogamy. Groups of four students work on Excel spreadsheets (from one to four laptops per group). The other exercise uses an online simulator to generate data related to membrane transport of a solute, and a cloud-based spreadsheet to analyze them. We provide tips for implementing these exercises gleaned from two years of experience.

Key Concept Ranking

Membrane Transport
0.838474
Plasma Membrane
0.5833333
0.838474

References & Citations

1. Carleton KL, Rietschel CH, Marbach-Ad G2016Group active engagements using quantitative modeling of physiology concepts in large-enrollment biology classesJ Microbiol Biol Educ173487489
2. Marbach-Ad G, Rietschel CH, Saluja N, Carleton KL, Haag ES2016The use of group activities in introductory biology supports learning gains and uniquely benefits high-achieving studentsJ Microbiol Biol Educ173360369
3. Steen LA2010Math & Bio 2010: linking undergraduate disciplinesThe Mathematical Association of AmericaWashington, DC
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1192
2016-12-02
2017-09-23

Abstract:

Quantitative modeling is not a standard part of undergraduate biology education, yet is routine in the physical sciences. Because of the obvious biophysical aspects, classes in anatomy and physiology offer an opportunity to introduce modeling approaches to the introductory curriculum. Here, we describe two in-class exercises for small groups working within a large-enrollment introductory course in organismal biology. Both build and derive biological insights from quantitative models, implemented using spreadsheets. One exercise models the evolution of anisogamy (i.e., small sperm and large eggs) from an initial state of isogamy. Groups of four students work on Excel spreadsheets (from one to four laptops per group). The other exercise uses an online simulator to generate data related to membrane transport of a solute, and a cloud-based spreadsheet to analyze them. We provide tips for implementing these exercises gleaned from two years of experience.

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