James Hageman - The Use of Molecular Models in Active Learning in Biochemisty

Version 1

      Publication Details (including relevant citation   information):

      Journal of Chemical Education 87, 291-293 (2010)


      The pedagogical value of having students of biochemistry and   organic chemistry build and manipulate physical models of   chemical species of interest is well established in the   literature. Nevertheless, for the most part the use of molecular   models is generally limited to several laboratory exercises or to   demonstrations in the classroom setting. A simple methodology   using Maruzen or Darling molecular models and transparent,   zip-lock plastic bags and a carefully designed questioning   strategy has been developed and used over many years.   Student-constructed models were turned in on a daily or weekly   basis in the lecture portion of introductory biochemistry and   graded. The models ranged from simple amino acids to silk fibroin   to one turn of a DNA double helix; construction of complex   structures were small-group efforts. These activities were   observed to actively engage students in understanding biochemical   structures. The use of models in the ways described resulted in   students providing more sophisticated answers on exams than in   years when such model building exercises were not part of the   instructional methods.

      Keywords:  Upper-Division Undergraduates, Biochemistry, Hands-on   Learning/Manipulation, Collaborative/Cooperative Learning,   Analogies/Transfer, Molecular Recognition, Hydrogen Bonding,   Professional Development

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