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Group Active Engagements Using Quantitative Modeling of Physiology Concepts in Large-Enrollment Biology Classes

    Authors: Karen L. Carleton1, Carly H. Rietschel2, Gili Marbach-Ad3,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 2: Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; 3: 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: Director, 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. E-mail: gilim@umd.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 487-489. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1193
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    Abstract:

    Organismal Biology is the third introductory biology course taught at the University of Maryland. Students learn about the geometric, physical, chemical, and thermodynamic constraints that are common to all life, and their implications for the evolution of multicellular organisms based on a common genetic “toolbox.” An additional goal is helping students to improve their scientific logic and comfort with quantitative modeling. We recently developed group active engagement exercises (GAEs) for this Organismal Biology class. Currently, our class is built around twelve GAE activities implemented in an auditorium lecture hall in a large enrollment class. The GAEs examine scientific concepts using a variety of models including physical models, qualitative models, and Excel-based quantitative models. Three quantitative GAEs give students an opportunity to build their understanding of key physiological ideas. 1) The Escape from Planet Ranvier exercise reinforces student understanding that membrane permeability means that ions move through open channels in the membrane. 2) The Stressing and Straining exercise requires students to quantify the elastic modulus from data gathered either in class or from scientific literature. 3) In Leveraging Your Options exercise, students learn about lever systems and apply this knowledge to biological systems.

Key Concept Ranking

Ion Channels
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References & Citations

1. Boyce SL2011Escape from Planet SomaMastering the physiological principles of neuronal signaling[Online.] http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/results.asp?search=Escape+from+Planet+soma&Submit.x=0&Submit.y=0Accessed 2 July 2014
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. Haag ES, Marbach-Ad GQuantitative modeling of membrane transport and anisogamy by small groups within a large-enrollment organismal biology courseJ Microbiol Biol Educ173485486
4. PhET2015Balancing Act[Online.] http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/balancing-actAccessed 21 September 2015
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1193
2016-12-02
2017-12-15

Abstract:

Organismal Biology is the third introductory biology course taught at the University of Maryland. Students learn about the geometric, physical, chemical, and thermodynamic constraints that are common to all life, and their implications for the evolution of multicellular organisms based on a common genetic “toolbox.” An additional goal is helping students to improve their scientific logic and comfort with quantitative modeling. We recently developed group active engagement exercises (GAEs) for this Organismal Biology class. Currently, our class is built around twelve GAE activities implemented in an auditorium lecture hall in a large enrollment class. The GAEs examine scientific concepts using a variety of models including physical models, qualitative models, and Excel-based quantitative models. Three quantitative GAEs give students an opportunity to build their understanding of key physiological ideas. 1) The Escape from Planet Ranvier exercise reinforces student understanding that membrane permeability means that ions move through open channels in the membrane. 2) The Stressing and Straining exercise requires students to quantify the elastic modulus from data gathered either in class or from scientific literature. 3) In Leveraging Your Options exercise, students learn about lever systems and apply this knowledge to biological systems.

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