biology

Diffusion and Cell Size and Shape

This analysis and discussion activity helps students understand that cell size is limited by the very slow rate of diffusion over any substantial distance and the insufficient surface-area-to-volume ratio for larger cells.  In addition, students calculate why these problems do not apply to long slender cells or parts of cells (e.g. the axons of neurons that extend from your spinal cord to your foot).

 The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes.

Diversity of Cell Structure and Function

The questions in this discussion/worksheet activity enhance student understanding of the similarities and differences between eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, the relationship between structure and function in different types of eukaryotic cells, the functions of the various organelles, and the relationships between molecules, organelles and cells.

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes.

Cells As Molecular Factories

This discussion/worksheet activity reviews how eukaryotic cells are molecular factories in two senses: cells produce molecules and cells are made up of molecules.  The questions guide students to think about how the different parts of a eukaryotic cell cooperate to function as a protein-producing factory and as a recycling plant.  Additional questions require students to identify the locations and functions of different types of molecules in eukaryotic cells.

 The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes

Cell Vocabulary Review Game

This game helps students to enjoy reviewing vocabulary related to cells, organelles, and the plasma membrane.  Each card in the deck has a target vocabulary word and two related taboo words that the student may not use as he/she gives clues so the other students in his/her small group can guess the target word.  Many students have trouble learning the substantial new vocabulary required for biology, and this game lets students have fun while reinforcing their understanding of key terms. 

The first file below provides the master copy for creating the card decks for this game, and the second file below provides the teacher notes, including instructions for playing the game.

How do biological organisms use energy?

This analysis and discussion activity is designed to help students understand the basic principles of how biological organisms use energy, with a focus on the roles of ATP and cellular respiration. This activity provides a useful basic understanding of cellular respiration and provides an important conceptual framework for students who will be learning the complex specifics of cellular respiration. This activity concludes with a brief introduction to two important principles: conservation of energy and the inefficiency of energy transformations. 

The first attached file has the Student Handout and the second attached file has the Teacher Notes.

Gavia's picture

Transects Evolit Final Paper

Final Project: Comparison


      I noticed partway through this course that the concept of storytelling has actually been use in a number of the courses I have taken so for, though it has been presented in different ways and for different purposes.  I have had the experience of three separate professors in three different disciplines give me a very similar assignment.  I found that, when I looked at these pieces in conjunction with this course that they seemed much more connected than I thought they were, I was able to trace some of my own academic development through them, and the styles I used to present them clearly showed how each class biased my presentation.

AnnaP's picture

AnnaP's Final Presentation Write-up

My final project was a collaborative one with cr88, in which we created word clouds of the full texts of The Plague and The Origin of Species to look at 1) the differences and commonalities between scientific and literary texts, as embodied by this bizarre representational form, and 2) different forms of literary analysis outside of the ones we are used to and how they can be useful. These were the images we produced:

The Origin of Species

AnnaP's picture

The Role of Humor in Adaptation

In Anne Dalke’s discussion section, we discussed the role of humor in Adaptation and in evolution as a whole. We started off with the idea that maybe Adaptation is telling us that humor is key in evolution because it makes us more resilient. Charlie Kaufman is depicted as anxiety-ridden, miserable, constantly suffering from an existential crisis, and unsuccessful. He is obsessed with creating the perfect movie and drives himself nuts with it. Donald Kaufman is depicted as a much more carefree, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants guy, and (ironically?) it is his ridiculous screenplay that is successful. Perhaps it is Donald’s humor that helps him be so much happier and more resilient than his brother.

Apocalipsis's picture

Chorost & a Continuation of Teknolust

Our in class conversation on Monday with author Michael Chorost's skype was certainly dynamic. Although I enjoyed the topics discussed, I found that at one point I asked the wrong question and didn't get the more appropriate one across. If I could get the chance to speak with Chorost again, I'd ask him the following:

dfishervan's picture

Overlooking the Foundation of your Foundation: Darwinian Medicine's Role in the Medical Community

            In “Darwin’s Dangerous Ideas,” Daniel Dennett equates the theory of evolution with a universal acid that cannot be contained and “eats through virtually every traditional concept” (Dennett 1995). As a premedical student aspiring to become a future physician, I was eager to discover the erosive effects of this universal acid on the medical field.

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