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Building and Breaking the Cell Wall in Four Acts: A Kinesthetic and Tactile Role-Playing Exercise for Teaching Beta-Lactam Antibiotic Mechanism of Action and Resistance

    Authors: John Popovich1, Michelle Stephens1,2,‡, Holly Celaya1,2,‡, Serena Suwarno1,2,‡, Shizuka Barclay1,2,‡, Emily Yee1,2,‡, David A. Dean2,3,‡, Megan Farris1,2,‡, Shelley E. Haydel1,2,4,*
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    Affiliations: 1: School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287; 2: Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287; 3: School of Molecular Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287; 4: Biodesign Institute Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. January 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1462
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    Abstract:

    “Building and breaking the cell wall” is designed to review the bacterial cell envelope, previously learned in lower-division biology classes, while introducing new topics such as antibiotics and bacterial antibiotic resistance mechanisms. We developed a kinesthetic and tactile modeling activity where students act as cellular components and construct the cell wall. In the first two acts, students model a portion of the gram-positive bacterial cell envelope and then demonstrate in detail how the peptidoglycan is formed. Act III involves student demonstration of the addition of β-lactam antibiotics to the environment and how they inhibit the formation of peptidoglycan, thereby preventing bacterial replication. Using as a model for gram-positive bacteria, students finish the activity (Act IV) by acting out how often becomes resistant to β-lactam antibiotics. A high level of student engagement was observed, and the activity received positive feedback. In an assessment administered prior to and two months after the activity, significant improvements in scores were observed ( < 0.0001), demonstrating increased understanding and retention. This activity allows students to (i) visualize, role play, and kinesthetically “build” the cell envelope and form the peptidoglycan layer, (ii) understand the mechanism of action for β-lactam antibiotics, as well as how gene acquisition and protein changes result in resistance, and (iii) work cooperatively and actively to promote long-term retention of the subject material.

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1462
2018-01-26
2018-07-16

Abstract:

“Building and breaking the cell wall” is designed to review the bacterial cell envelope, previously learned in lower-division biology classes, while introducing new topics such as antibiotics and bacterial antibiotic resistance mechanisms. We developed a kinesthetic and tactile modeling activity where students act as cellular components and construct the cell wall. In the first two acts, students model a portion of the gram-positive bacterial cell envelope and then demonstrate in detail how the peptidoglycan is formed. Act III involves student demonstration of the addition of β-lactam antibiotics to the environment and how they inhibit the formation of peptidoglycan, thereby preventing bacterial replication. Using as a model for gram-positive bacteria, students finish the activity (Act IV) by acting out how often becomes resistant to β-lactam antibiotics. A high level of student engagement was observed, and the activity received positive feedback. In an assessment administered prior to and two months after the activity, significant improvements in scores were observed ( < 0.0001), demonstrating increased understanding and retention. This activity allows students to (i) visualize, role play, and kinesthetically “build” the cell envelope and form the peptidoglycan layer, (ii) understand the mechanism of action for β-lactam antibiotics, as well as how gene acquisition and protein changes result in resistance, and (iii) work cooperatively and actively to promote long-term retention of the subject material.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Student satisfaction survey responses. Twenty-seven participating students rated their satisfaction of the activity and their self-reflected learning gains. Chi-squared analysis of grouped positive (strongly agree and agree) and grouped negative (neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree) responses revealed significant ( = 0.0091) satisfaction and perceived learning gains associated with the activity. For the complete survey questions, see Appendix 8 .

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. January 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1462
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FIGURE 2

Comparison of the pre-assessment (PRE) and post-assessment (POST) quiz scores, (A) separated by semester and (B) combined. Students were administered a quiz in a pre-/post-activity manner, with the average (±SEM) scores for each semester displayed. POST indicates that the post-assessment quiz scores from the student co-authors were eliminated from the data analysis. **** < 0.0001; two-way ANOVA, Fisher’s LSD test.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. January 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1462
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FIGURE 3

Comparisons of individual questions in the pre- and post-assessments in (A) fall 2015, (B) fall 2016, (C) fall 2017, and (D) combined fall 2015, 2016, and 2017 semesters. Students were administered a quiz in a pre-/post-activity manner, with the average (±SEM) percentage for each question displayed. POST indicates that the post-assessments from the student co-authors were eliminated from the data analysis. * < 0.05, ** < 0.01, *** < 0.001 **** < 0.0001; two-way ANOVA, Fisher’s LSD test.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. January 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1462
Download as Powerpoint

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