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Vision and Change Teacher-Recommended Collection: Mitochondria

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Description Collection Description
This collection has a number of resources that investigate the structure and function of the mitochondria. Within the collections there are basic reviews on mitochondria that are more teacher centered learning as well as student centered learning activities including case studies and modeling simulations.

How were the items in this collection used?
This collection was used in a core biology course to help students elucidate the evolution, structure and function of the mitochondria. Reviews were used for background information for students to then apply in the student activities determining the structure and function of the mitochondria and modeling the function of the mitochondria. In addition, case studies allowed students to determine how dysfunction of the mitochondria affects the overall fitness of the organism.

Who used this collection?
This collection was used by undergraduate students in a core biology course at the 300 level.

Which of the V&C Core Concepts does this collection address?
Evolution ('The diversity of life evolved over time by processes of mutation, selection, and genetic change.')
This collection addresses the endosymbiotic theory and the evolution of energy organelles, specifically mitochondria, from prokaryotic cells. This is addressed in reviews within the collection.

Structure & Function ('Basic units of structure define the function of all living things.')
Activities explaining structure, function and reproduction of mitochondria are included in this collection.

Information Flow, Exchange, and Storage ('The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic information in context.')
The link to the mitochondrial disease database will allow students to investigate the role of mitochondrial DNA mutations in disease pathology. In addition, students can trace the heredity of such mutations through maternal pedigrees and review links that are available from this website.

Pathways and Transformations of Energy and Matter ('Biological systems grow and change by processes based upon chemical transformation pathways and are governed by the laws of thermodynamics.')
Mitochondria play a major role in cellular respiration and the production of ATP in the cell with the help of oxygen. This collection has student activities that will help them to understand the role of the mitochondria in energy production and the consequences of dysfunction in the processes.

Systems ('Living systems are interconnected and interacting.')
This collection addresses systems through the understanding of the interaction of the mitochondria with other organelles within a eukaryotic cell.

Which of the V&C Core Competencies and Disciplinary Practices does this collection address?
Ability to Apply the Process of Science ('Biology is evidence based and grounded in the formal practices of observation, experimentation, and hypothesis testing.')
This collection includes an interactive ‘game’ involving ultracentrifugation and organelle structure. Although in game format, it reproduces historically relevant Nobel Prize winning research leading to the overall understanding of organelle structure. This collection also includes an activity for students involving the effects of carbon dioxide or cyanide poisoning on mitochondria function. This allows students to make observations and test hypotheses

Ability to Use Quantitative Reasoning ('Biology relies on applications of quantitative analysis and mathematical reasoning.')
The Physiome modeling resource allows students to generate models using different sets of quantitative parameters and analyze the effects of these parameters on organismic function and efficiency.

Ability to Use Modeling and Simulation ('Biology focuses on the study of complex systems.')
The Physiome resource provides a model for the mitochondrial respiratory chain that appropriately balances mass, charge, and free energy transduction and analyzed based on a previously published set of data measured on isolated cardiac mitochondria.

Ability to Tap into the Interdisciplinary Nature of Science ('Biology is an interdisciplinary science.')
The Physiome modeling activity can show students how the function of the mitochondria is not only a biologically significant process but how it relates to kinetics in energy production and chemistry in the movement of electrons and hydrogen ions to create ATP.

Ability to Understand the Relationship between Science and Society ('Biology is conducted in a societal context.')
The case study addressing carbon dioxide exposure can lead to discussions about the legislation of carbon dioxide detectors in homes in addition to smoke detectors. This will allow students to understand how safe guards in their environment help to prevent organelle dysfunction.

Please enter suggestions for colleagues.
This collection can be used in whole or in parts. Some of the reviews contain information beyond the scope of my core class. However, I was able to use just portions of the reviews to illustrate a point or to formulate critical thinking questions for the students to work in groups to solve. I found the modeling website the most challenging because of my inability to easily navigate the website and would suggest that the instructor take some time to play with the site before hand.

Type of Resource Annotated Collection
Format Web Page - HTML
Kelly Wentz-Hunter, Roosevelt University
Grade/Age Levels Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16)
Learning Time <=1 hour
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed by Partner Organization

Resources in Collection
Click on any teaching resource's title for detailed information.
Web Site Links
Little Mito
This is a short student activity that can be used to help students understand the origin of the cellular organelles of eukaryotic cells and their structure and functions.
Mitochondrial Diseases
I will be using this website for students to research mitochondrial diseases. Students can use the information and links to explore the effects of mitochondrial DNA mutations on the overall function of the organism and disease pathology.


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