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Using an Activity Based on Constructivism To Help Students Develop a More Integrated Understanding of Cell Signaling Pathways

    Authors: Laura MacDonald1,#, Verónica A. Segarra2,#, Amanda Solem3,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Hendrix College, Conway, AR 72032; 2: Department of Biology, High Point University, High Point, NC 27268; 3: Department of Biology, Hastings College, Hastings, NE 68901
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 15 June 2018 Accepted 25 June 2019 Published 31 October 2019
    • ©2019 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, Hastings College, 710 N. Turner Ave., Hastings, NE 68901. Phone: 402-461-7382. E-mail: [email protected].
    • # These authors contributed equally to this work.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. October 2019 vol. 20 no. 3 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v20i3.1639
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    Abstract:

    In subjects like cell biology, genetics, and immunology, a solid understanding of signal transduction is key to mastering new content.  Often times students’ approach to learning signal transduction pathways relies heavily on memorization.  In this paper, we describe a modular method to introduce students to signal transduction.  In this method, students are first presented with the discreet building blocks or molecules that comprise signaling pathways (such as the vocabulary terms signal molecule, receptor, effector and target) and asked to integrate the knowledge by building (“do it yourself” or DIY) their own signaling pathway.  Students are then given the opportunity to learn about each other’s pathways to identify ways in which they overlap and diverge.  Ultimately, students are given the task to search the literature to identify a real-world example that mimics or is very similar to the pathway they came up with and note similarities and differences.  We find this is a way to foster students integrating signal transduction knowledge.

References & Citations

1. Kramer I, Thomas G 2006 Meeting report: teaching signal transduction CBE Life Sci Educ 5 19 26 10.1187/cbe.05-11-0127 17012185 1635140 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.05-11-0127
2. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2011 Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: a call to action: a summary of recommendations made at a national conference organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science July 15–17, 2009 Washington DC, USA
3. Hopkins J, Smith R 2011 An inquiry-based field and laboratory investigation of leaf decay: a critical aquatic ecosystem function Am Biol Teach 73 542 546 10.1525/abt.2011.73.9.7 http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/abt.2011.73.9.7
4. Hartle RT, Baviskar S, Smith R 2012 A field guide to constructivism in the college science classroom: four essential criteria and a guide to their usage Bioscene 38 31 35
5. Pascoe M, Monroe F, Macfarlane H 2018 Taking constructivism one step further: post-hoc analysis of a student-centered wiki J Med Educ 4 e16.9
6. Bednar AK, Cunningham D, Duffy TM, Perry JD 1991 Theory into practice: how do we link? Anglin GJ Instructional technology: past, present, future Libraries Unlimited Englewood, CO
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8. Jonassen DH 1991 Objectivism vs. constructivism: do we need a new philosophical paradigm Educ Technol Res Dev 39 5 14 10.1007/BF02296434 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02296434
9. O’Day DH 2006 Animated cell biology: a quick and easy method for making effective, high-quality teaching animations CBE Life Sci Educ 5 255 263 10.1187/cbe.05-11-0122 http://dx.doi.org/10.1187/cbe.05-11-0122
10. Reindl KM, White AR, Johnson C, Vender B, Slator BM, McClean P 2015 The virtual cell animation collection: tools for teaching molecular and cellular biology PLOS Biol 13 e1002118 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002118 25856580 4391844 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002118
11. Anderson LW, Krathwohl DR 2001 A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: a revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives Pearson Education New York, NY

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2019-10-31
2019-12-12

Abstract:

In subjects like cell biology, genetics, and immunology, a solid understanding of signal transduction is key to mastering new content.  Often times students’ approach to learning signal transduction pathways relies heavily on memorization.  In this paper, we describe a modular method to introduce students to signal transduction.  In this method, students are first presented with the discreet building blocks or molecules that comprise signaling pathways (such as the vocabulary terms signal molecule, receptor, effector and target) and asked to integrate the knowledge by building (“do it yourself” or DIY) their own signaling pathway.  Students are then given the opportunity to learn about each other’s pathways to identify ways in which they overlap and diverge.  Ultimately, students are given the task to search the literature to identify a real-world example that mimics or is very similar to the pathway they came up with and note similarities and differences.  We find this is a way to foster students integrating signal transduction knowledge.

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