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Community Forums - Graduate/Professional Educators - October Topic - Bringing Science Together in Your Class

A forum for graduate and professional educators to share classroom resources and teaching ideas. If you would like to contribute to the forums or to change your subscription, please log in to the left.

How do you tie science concepts together for your students? Share below:

This thread was posted on October 16, 2014 at 2:48 PM ET by Miranda Byse.
  |   3 Replies   |   Last on 12/14/2018 at 10:57 PM ET
Re: October Topic - Bringing Science Together in Your Class

I taught biology and chemistry for a few years and am now teaching physics. My comment here does not address the question posed by the initial post under this forum, I don't think I have a clear answer to the underlying question. But I do have a question of my own that I think would fit well in this forum. 

Finding connections between biology and chemistry seemed easier than connecting physics to the life sciences. In teaching physics, it is challenging either finding the time or finding clear examples of how physiology connects with physics. I would like to incorporate in my lessons how physiological &/or anatomical systems connect with physics.

For instance, in my friction lesson students learned that the coefficient of friction times the normal force is equal to friction (mu x Fn = Ff). I used synovial joints and arthritis to help students see an example where the effects of a larger or smaller coefficient value can cause a big difference. A smaller coefficient means the surface is smoother, such as when a bone is padded with cartilage in a synovil joint. Without that cartilage, there is a rougher surface which makes moving the bones in the joint less fluid and more painful. My students enjoyed this example.

If anyone can share examples of how physics and physiology connect, that would be great! 

This was posted on April 30, 2018 at 7:27 PM ET by Erika Otero.
Re: October Topic - Bringing Science Together in Your Class

This topic is the focus of my professional development. I am a professor of genetics and embryology at a West Virginian medical school. I’ve developed an extensive set of animated lessons designed to be used for student self-study and as visual aids during lectures. Molecular and cellular processes are often difficult for students to conceptualize using static images, and I've found dynamic, moving images to be extraordinarily powerful. A specific experience I had illustrates this. I was giving a lecture on the primitive streak. I came to the point where I was about to focus on Hensen's node when a student asked "but what exactly is the node?”  I just smiled and clicked to the next animation, which showed epiblast cells flowing into the node and streak, arching up and folding in. Without any other explanation I saw a light over the student's head. He smiled, sat back, and nodded his head to indicate his understanding. This is a topic where if half the students understood it using static images I was doing well. Now with an animation I almost don't know what to say because it's so obvious.

Now let me throw out a point for discussion. In my opinion animations are underused. The prime goal of my career is to foster the use of animations as educational tools and I have published a number of them on peer reviewed websites like LifeSciTRC. Many other animations are available on the web but linking to them often disrupts lecture flow and there are often technical problems. In my opinion one reason for their underuse is there's no facile method for incorporating them directly into slide shows. I have developed a method for incorporating excerpts into PowerPoints, however I used Flash to compose all my animations and Flash is becoming unpopular. So my question is what strategies can be employed for developing and easily incorporating animations into slide shows? Any suggestions?

This was posted on October 20, 2014 at 10:41 AM ET by Jack Thatcher.