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Bacterial Survivor: An Interactive Game that Combats Misconceptions about Antibiotic Resistance

    Author: Brinda Govindan1
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 01 August 2018 Accepted 05 September 2018 Published 31 October 2018
    • ©2018 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: Department of Biology, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. Phone: 415-405-3279. Fax: 415-338-2295. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2018 vol. 19 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i3.1675
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    Abstract:

    The growing threat of antibiotic resistant infections remains a huge public health concern. While many people are aware of “superbugs”, the vast majority of the general public does not understand how antibiotic resistance arises in a population of bacteria, and how exactly over use or misuse of antibiotics contributes to this problem. We developed an active learning exercise called “Bacterial Survivor” in order to combat misconceptions about antibiotic resistance in a large undergraduate non-majors microbiology course. The game models the random nature of genetic change, the impact of environment on survival, and illustrates the basic principles of evolution. This hands-on approach has been effective in counteracting student misconceptions about this important topic.

References & Citations

1. 2016 In brief. News at a glance: UN declares war on superbugs Science 353 6307 10.1126/science.353.6307.1474 http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.353.6307.1474
2. Brookes-Howell L, Elwyn G, Hood K, Wood F, Cooper L, Goossens H, Leven M, Butler CC 2012 “The body gets used to them”: Patients’ interpretations of antibiotic resistance and the implications for containment strategies J Gen Intern Med 27 766 772 10.1007/s11606-011-1916-1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11606-011-1916-1
3. Nehm RH, Reilly L 2007 Biology majors’ knowledge and misconceptions of natural selection Bioscience 57 263 272 10.1641/B570311 http://dx.doi.org/10.1641/B570311
4. Stevens A, Smith A, Marbach-Ad G, Balcom S, Buchner J, Daniel S, DeStefano J, El-Sayed N, Frauwirth K, Lee V, McIver K, Melville S, Mosser D, Popham D, Scharf B, Schubot F, Seyler R, Shields P, Song W, Stein D, Stewart R, Thompson K, Yang Z, Yarwood S 2017 Using a concept inventory to reveal student thinking associated with common misconceptions about antibiotic resistance J Microbiol Biol Educ 18 1 10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1281 28512513 5524436 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1281
5. Richard M, Coley JD, Tanner KD 2017 Investigating undergraduate students’ use of intuitive reasoning and evolutionary knowledge in explanations of antibiotic resistance CBE Life Sci Educ 16 3 pii:ar55 10.1187/cbe.16-11-0317 28821540 5589435 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-11-0317
6. Tanner K, Allen D 2005 Approaches to biology teaching and learning: understanding the wrong answers—teaching towards conceptual change CBE Life Sci Educ 4 112 117 10.1187/cbe.05-02-0068 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.05-02-0068
7. Kalinowski ST, Leonard MJ, Andrews TM, Litt AR 2013 Six classroom exercises to teach natural selection to undergraduate biology students CBE Life Sci Educ 12 3 483 493 10.1187/cbe-12-06-0070 24006396 3763015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe-12-06-0070
8. Hale AR, Young VL, Grand A, McNulty CA 2017 Can gaming increase antibiotic awareness in children? A mixed-methods approach JMIR Serious Games 5 1 e5 10.2196/games.6420 28341618 5384992 http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/games.6420
9. Farrell D, Kostkova P, Weinberg J, Lazareck L, Weerasinghe D, Lecky DM, McNulty CA 2011 Computer games to teach hygiene: an evaluation of the e-bug junior game J Antimicrob Chemother 66 Suppl 5 39 44 10.1093/jac/dkr122 http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkr122
10. Lee TW, Grogan KE, Liepkalns JS 2017 Making evolution stick: using sticky notes to teach the mechanisms of evolutionary change Evol Educ Outreach 10 11 1 13 10.1186/s12052-017-0074-2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12052-017-0074-2
11. Ogens EM, Langheim R 2016 Spreading disease—it’s contagious! Using a model and simulation to understand how antibiotics work Am Biol Teach 78 7 568 574 10.1525/abt.2016.78.7.568 http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/abt.2016.78.7.568
12. Valente P, Lora PS, Landell MF, Schiefelbein CS, Girardi FM, Souza LDR, Zanonato A, Scroferneker ML 2009 A game for teaching antimicrobial mechanisms of action Med Teach 31 9 e383 e392. 10.1080/01421590802637958 19811173 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01421590802637958

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2018-10-31
2019-02-20

Abstract:

The growing threat of antibiotic resistant infections remains a huge public health concern. While many people are aware of “superbugs”, the vast majority of the general public does not understand how antibiotic resistance arises in a population of bacteria, and how exactly over use or misuse of antibiotics contributes to this problem. We developed an active learning exercise called “Bacterial Survivor” in order to combat misconceptions about antibiotic resistance in a large undergraduate non-majors microbiology course. The game models the random nature of genetic change, the impact of environment on survival, and illustrates the basic principles of evolution. This hands-on approach has been effective in counteracting student misconceptions about this important topic.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

Pre- and post-activity test question about antibiotic resistance. Students (=101) responded to the following multiple-choice question: “How does the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed influence the emergence of drug-resistant strains of bacteria?” (ASM Sample Questions in Microbiology 2016, ASM Education Board). The percentage of students selecting each answer choice (A–D) was recorded. Answer choices were as follows, with the correct answer being “B” (13): A) Antibiotics cause mutations in bacterial DNA that create new drug-resistant strains; B) Antibiotics exert selective pressure on bacterial populations, allowing existing drug-resistant strains to reproduce; C) Overuse of antibiotics has no effect on the emergence of drug-resistant strains; D) Antibiotics provide nutrition to drug-resistant strains that consume them.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2018 vol. 19 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i3.1675
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Pre/post assessment of student ideas about antibiotic resistance. Coding of anonymous student responses to the open-ended prompt, “How would you explain antibiotic resistance to a fellow student?” resulted in eight main categories. The prompt was given to students during the class period prior to conducting the “Bacterial Survivor” activity and after the activity. The percentage of student responses in each category was recorded.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2018 vol. 19 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i3.1675
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