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Air Quality Data Mining: Mining the US EPA AirData website for student-led evaluation of air quality issuesLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to:
- Describe various parameters of air quality that can negatively impact human health, list priority air pollutants, and interpret the EPA Air Quality Index as it relates to human health.
- Identify an air quality problem that varies on spatial and/or temporal scales that can be addressed using publicly available U.S. EPA air data.
- Collect appropriate U.S. EPA Airdata information needed to answer that/those questions, using the U.S. EPA Airdata website data mining tools.
- Analyze the data as needed to address or answer their question(s).
- Interpret data and draw conclusions regarding air quality levels and/or impacts on human and public health.
- Communicate results in the form of a scientific paper.
Cutthroat trout in Colorado: A case study connecting evolution and conservationLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to:
- interpret figures such as maps, phylogenies, STRUCTURE plots, and networks for species delimitation
- identify sources of uncertainty and disagreement in real data sets
- propose research to address or remedy uncertainty
- construct an evidence-based argument for the management of a rare taxon
Teaching the Biological Relevance of Chemical Kinetics Using Cold-Blooded Animal BiologyLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to:
- Predict the effect of reaction temperature on the rate of a chemical reaction
- Interpret a graph plotted between rate of a chemical reaction and temperature
- Discuss chemical kinetics utilizing case studies of cold-blooded animals
Why do Some People Inherit a Predisposition to Cancer? A small group activity on cancer geneticsLearning ObjectivesAt the end of this activity, we expect students will be able to:
- Use family pedigrees and additional genetic information to determine inheritance patterns for hereditary forms of cancer
- Explain why a person with or without cancer can pass on a mutant allele to the next generation and how that impacts probability calculations
- Distinguish between proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes
Casting a Wide Net via Case Studies: Educating across the undergraduate to medical school continuum in the biological...Learning ObjectivesAt the end of this lesson, the student should be able to:
- Consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of widespread use of whole genome sequencing and direct-to-consumer genetic testing.
- Explore the critical need to maintain privacy of individual genetic test results to protect patient interests.
- Dissect the nuances of reporting whole genome sequencing results.
- Recognize the economic ramifications of precision medicine strategies.
- Formulate a deeper understanding of the ethical dimensions of emerging genetic testing technologies.
A clicker-based case study that untangles student thinking about the processes in the central dogmaLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to:
- explain the differences between silent (no change in the resulting amino acid sequence), missense (a change in the amino acid sequence), and nonsense (a change resulting in a premature stop codon) mutations.
- differentiate between how information is encoded during DNA replication, transcription, and translation.
- evaluate how different types of mutations (silent, missense, and nonsense) and the location of those mutations (intron, exon, and promoter) differentially affect the processes in the central dogma.
- predict the molecular (DNA size, mRNA length, mRNA abundance, and protein length) and/or phenotypic consequences of mutations.
Predicting and classifying effects of insertion and deletion mutations on protein coding regionsLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to:
- accurately predict effects of frameshift mutations in protein coding regions
- conduct statistical analysis to compare expected and observed values
- become familiar with accessing and using DNA sequence databases and analysis tools
In-class peer grading of daily quizzes increases feedback opportunitiesLearning ObjectivesEach of these objectives are illustrated with a succinct slide presentation or other supplemental material available ahead of class time through the course administration system. Learners found it particularly helpful to have video clips that remind them of mathematical manipulations available (in the above example objective c). Students understand that foundational objectives tend to be the focus of the quiz (objectives a-d) and that others will be given more time to work on together in class (objectives e-g), but I don't specify this exactly to reduce temptation that 'gamers' take a shortcut that would impact their group work negatively later on. However, the assignment for a focused graded group activity is posted as well, so it is clear what we are working towards; if desired individuals could prepare ahead of the class.
Using Synthetic Biology and pClone Red for Authentic Research on Promoter Function: Genetics (analyzing mutant...Learning Objectives
- Describe how cells can produce proteins at the right time and correct amount.
- Diagram a bacterial promoter with −35 and −10 elements and the transcription start site.
- Describe how mutational analysis can be used to study promoter sequence requirements.
- Develop a promoter mutation hypothesis and design an experiment to test it.
- Successfully and safely manipulate DNA and Escherichia coli for ligation and transformation experiments.
- Design an experiment to verify a mutated promoter has been cloned into a destination vector.
- Design an experiment to measure the strength of a promoter.
- Analyze data showing reporter protein produced and use the data to assess promoter strength.
- Define type IIs restriction enzymes.
- Distinguish between type II and type IIs restriction enzymes.
- Explain how Golden Gate Assembly (GGA) works.
- Measure the relative strength of a promoter compared to a standard promoter.
Coevolution or not? Crossbills, squirrels and pineconesLearning Objectives
- Define coevolution.
- Identify types of evidence that would help determine whether two species are currently in a coevolutionary relationship.
- Interpret graphs.
- Evaluate evidence about whether two species are coevolving and use evidence to make a scientific argument.
- Describe what evidence of a coevolutionary relationship might look like.
- Distinguish between coadaptation and coevolution.
CURE-all: Large Scale Implementation of Authentic DNA Barcoding Research into First-Year Biology CurriculumLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to: Week 1-4: Fundamentals of Science and Biology
- List the major processes involved in scientific discovery
- List the different types of scientific studies and which types can establish causation
- Design experiments with appropriate controls
- Create and evaluate phylogenetic trees
- Define taxonomy and phylogeny and explain their relationship to each other
- Explain DNA sequence divergence and how it applies to evolutionary relationships and DNA barcoding
- Define and measure biodiversity and explain its importance
- Catalog organisms using the morphospecies concept
- Geographically map organisms using smartphones and an online mapping program
- Calculate metrics of species diversity using spreadsheet software
- Use spreadsheet software to quantify and graph biodiversity at forest edges vs. interiors
- Write a formal lab report
- Extract, amplify, visualize and sequence DNA using standard molecular techniques (PCR, gel electrophoresis, Sanger sequencing)
- Explain how DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and Sanger sequencing work at the molecular level
- Trim and assemble raw DNA sequence data
- Taxonomically identify DNA sequences isolated from unknown organisms using BLAST
- Visualize sequence data relationships using sequence alignments and gene-based phylogenetic trees
- Map and report data in a publicly available online database
- Share data in a formal scientific poster
Investigating the Function of a Transport Protein: Where is ABCB6 Located in Human Cells?Learning ObjectivesAt the end of this activity students will be able to:
- describe the use of two common research techniques for studying proteins: SDS-PAGE and immunoblot analysis.
- determine a protein’s subcellular location based on results from: 1) immunoblotting after differential centrifugation, and 2) immunofluorescence microscopy.
- analyze protein localization data based on the limitations of differential centrifugation and immunofluorescence microscopy.
Using the Cell Engineer/Detective Approach to Explore Cell Structure and FunctionLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to:
- Identify the major cell organelles
- List the major functions of the organelles
- Predict how changes in organelle/cell structure could alter cellular function
- Explain how overall cellular function is dependent upon organelles/cell structure
- Relate cell structure to everyday contexts
A virtual laboratory on cell division using a publicly-available image databaseLearning Objectives
- Students will name and describe the salient features and cellular tasks for each stage of cell division.
- Students will predict the relative durations of the stages of cell division using prior knowledge and facts from assigned readings.
- Students will describe the relationship between duration of each stage of cell division and the frequency of cells present in each stage of cell division counted in a random sample of images of pluripotent stem cells.
- Students will identify the stages of cell division present in research-quality images of human pluripotent stem cells in various stages of cell division.
- Students will quantify, analyze and summarize data on the prevalence of cells at different stages of cell division in randomly sampled cell populations.
- Students will use data to reflect on and revise predictions.
Teaching epidemiology and principles of infectious disease using popular media and the case of Typhoid MaryLearning ObjectivesStudents will be able to:
- Describe the reservoirs of infection in humans.
- Distinguish portals of entry and exit.
- Describe how each of the following contributes to bacterial virulence: adhesins, extracellular enzymes, toxins, and antiphagocytic factors.
- Define and distinguish etiology and epidemiology.
- Describe the five typical stages of infectious disease and depict the stages in graphical form.
- Contrast contact, vehicle and vector transmission, biological and mechanical vectors and identify the mode of transmission in a given scenario.
- Differentiate endemic, sporadic, epidemic, and pandemic disease.
- Distinguish descriptive, analytical, and experimental epidemiology.
- Compare and contrast social, economic, and cultural factors impacting health care in the early 1900s and today.
Sex-specific differences in Meiosis: Real-world applicationsLearning ObjectivesAfter completion of the lesson students will be able to:
- Describe the differences between female and male meiosis.
- Interpret graphical data to make decisions relevant to medical practices.
- Develop a hypothesis that explains the difference in incidence of aneuploidy in gametes between males and females.
A first lesson in mathematical modeling for biologists: RocsLearning Objectives
- Systematically develop a functioning, discrete, single-species model of an exponentially-growing or -declining population.
- Use the model to recommend appropriate action for population management.
- Communicate model output and recommendations to non-expert audiences.
- Generate a collaborative work product that most individuals could not generate on their own, given time and resource constraints.
The Leaky Neuron: Understanding synaptic integration using an analogy involving leaky cupsLearning ObjectivesStudents will able to:
- compare and contrast spatial and temporal summation in terms of the number of presynaptic events and the timing of these events
- predict the relative contribution to reaching threshold and firing an action potential as a function of distance from the axon hillock
- predict how the frequency of incoming presynaptic action potentials effects the success of temporal summation of resultant postsynaptic potentials