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Integrating Biology and Chemistry Into the Biochemistry Class Through Student-Centered Instruction. Christina Miller Adams State College Alamosa, CO. Outline. My class and school demographics Student-centered instruction In-class activities Material for the Activities

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integrating biology and chemistry into the biochemistry class through student centered instruction

Integrating Biology and Chemistry Into the Biochemistry Class Through Student-Centered Instruction

Christina Miller

Adams State College

Alamosa, CO

outline
Outline
  • My class and school demographics
  • Student-centered instruction
  • In-class activities
  • Material for the Activities
  • Student evaluations of the activities
  • Student learning outcomes and course satisfaction
  • Conclusions
school and course demographics
School and Course Demographics
  • Adams State College is a four-year liberal arts institution of about 2500 students in rural southern Colorado.
  • Biochemistry I and II (CHEM 401 and 402) are required for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry degrees. They can be used for other Chemistry and Biology degrees.
  • In the past five years at Adams State I have educated 71 students; 11 biochemistry, 9 chemistry, and 51 biology majors. This year I had 17 students; 6 biochemistry, 1 chemistry, 10 biology majors.
student centered instruction
Student-Centered Instruction
  • This is the third year that I have used active learning in my course.
  • Give individual/group blue-book quizzes at start of class.
  • Stop during lecture to ask questions of individuals, sometimes after small group discussion.
  • Use graded in-class activities.
in class activities
In-class Activities
  • Students may be assigned to read material outside of class.
  • They are assigned different groups each time.
  • They answer graded questions in their groups. They may use their notes and their textbooks.
  • This material appears on their lecture exams.
material for the activities
Material for the Activities
  • Articles from Chemical and Engineering News (for the chemists)

- “Supersize Enzymes Come into Focus” March 13, 2006

- “How is this low-resolution structure different/like the structure shown in our textbook? What are we still waiting to find out?”

- “Vesicle Talk” October 28, 2002

-“What do the red parts of this molecule look like?”

slide7

Medical Case Studies from a Clinical Companion to our text (For the biologists)

  • - “Citric Acid Cycle: Danger of 2- carbon fragments”
  • -“Explain why any time this alcoholic eats, his lactate levels soar.”
  • - “Carbohydrates: Nothing to Sneeze at”
  • -“Mucus is a heavily glycosylated family of proteins lining your airways. How might this help avert infection?”
  • Saltsman, Berg, Tomaselli (2002) A Clinical Companion to Accompany Biochemistry, Fifth Edition. W.H Freeman and Co, NY.
slide8

Difficult Questions Posed (For the biochemists)- “Why are some Sugars Reducing?” -“You saw the demo. Why are all

  • monosaccharides reducing? Why are
  • some disaccharides not reducing?”
  • “A Hemoglobin Dilemma” Kendrew and Priestly, 1935
  • -“Why does CO poisoning at 50%
  • saturation kill you while anemia does not?”
slide9

Question

Strongly Agree

(4)

Agree

(3)

Disagree

(2)

Strongly Disagree

(1)

1. I feel that the in-class activities are more fun than just listening to lecture

2. I feel that I learn a great deal from the in-class activities

3. I feel that I understand biochemistry better because of the in-class activities

4. I do better on the exams because of information learned in the in-class activities

5. I enjoy working in groups to answer questions concerning activities

6. I would rather be given these activities as homework to do individually

7. I would prefer not to do in-class activities and spend more time in lecture

evaluation of the activities comments on what students like best
Evaluation of the Activities; comments on what students like best
  • “The activities offer valuable information that the text book does not.”
  • “Makes material relevant.”
  • “I like it that we are able to talk in groups and work through difficult concepts.”
  • “Seeing how biochemistry is intertwined with clinical problems.”
  • “A nice break from lecture.”
what they like least
What they like least
  • “Not everyone in the group contributes their fair share.”
  • “I always have to write.”
  • “Dominant person will steer the group down a bad path to the wrong answer.”
  • “Questions are tough.”
  • “The activities take too long.”
  • “Can’t pick my own group.”
how they would use the activities if they were the teacher
How they would use the activities if they were the teacher
  • “I would do things just as you have done.”
  • “Get into groups for discussion and then answer the questions as homework.”
  • “Add an end-of-class-discussion to the activity.”
statistics from exams
Statistics from Exams

“Explain why consumption of alcohol inhibits the citric acid cycle and leads to fatty liver.” (From Exam 2)

-Correct- 4, incorrect-2, Did not choose- 11

“What does the fatty acid synthase look like in the low-resolution structure now available?” (From Exam 3)

-Correct- 10, incorrect- 1, Did not choose- 6

did they help students from the three disciplines enjoy the class
Did they help students from the three disciplines enjoy the class?
  • My course evaluations have risen steadily since I began using active-learning in my courses.
  • Before using, my course average for Biochemistry was 3.95/5.00 (n=5). After using, my average was 4.50/5.00 (n=4).
  • The number of biochemistry majors has risen from 4 to 12.
conclusions
Conclusions
  • The students like the activities, as evidenced by student evaluations.
  • They had to learn the hard way to study the material we did as activities for exams.
  • The use of activities has increased student satisfaction with the course and with biochemistry.
  • Based on student evaluations I will make some changes to the activities.