If you have been following my recent posts, merging the physical and life sciences is a passion of mine. Currently we are studying optics in my introductory physics class. Using preserved cow eyes left over from a biology dissection last semester, I challenged students to remove the lens from the eye, and using, determine the focal length of the lens experimentally. Below is are videos of initial student exploration once the lenses have been removed.
The more I teach students in my Biochemistry class about the intricacies of Protein Folding, the more certain I become that it is a perfect learning medium for uniting various disciplines. From protein translation in biology, to intermolecular forces in chemistry, to applications of AI in computer science, developing an appreciation for the structure-function relationship in biology via investigating the elegant nature of how proteins fold is a powerful way to unite STEM disciplines. Below are a few activities I am currently using with my students in chemistry, biology, and engineering courses.
This week I tried a new Boyle's Law activity where my students made a DIY lung system out of balloons, straws, and a plastic bottle. Upon conclusion of this activity, I leverage unused fetal pigs from biology class dissections earlier in the year to demonstrate how their DIY systems are similar to structures found in real organisms. Additionally, I discussed topics such as intubation, pulmonary surfactant, and complexities associated with the use of ventilators in treating advanced COVID. There are so many applications of the Ideal Gas Law and I am somewhat embarrassed that it has taken me 22 years of teaching chemistry to finally dive into relating gas behavior to the process we all do everyday, all day: breathing. See media taken from the past two days of class below.
As my first complete semester of 100% distance leaning comes to a close (last spring was triage at best), I wanted to share all of my resources for fellow STEM teachers. I am by no means proud or this work as my curriculum was cut significantly short as I negotiated the myriad of distance learning roadblocks I'm sure we all faced. Regardless, there are nuggets that I am proud of, and some you might (specifically, chem, bio, and robotics teachers) find useful if you dig around enough. I simply feel an obligation to share. Reach out here with ANY questions.
Chemistry Resources Robotics. Resources