9
summer
2013
arches
News, trends, history, and phenomena from the campus
teaching
A little creative extra credit
An online journal we enjoy a great deal
is Associate Professor of Biology Mark
Martin’s “All Creatures Great
and
Small:
Preaching Microbial Supremacy!” (http://
microbesrule.blogspot.com. Check it out;
microbes are
cool!
)
In a recent post, Pro-
fessor Martin was thinking about learn-
ing styles and teaching. He wrote: “A wise
friend of mine from graduate school, Dr.
Daniel Klionsky, a superb cell biologist and
educator, makes a very powerful point: We
don’t do many things in science the way we
did them a century ago. Why should we teach
the same way?”
Martin noted that he has found that stu-
dents who make a “creative investment” in
course material tend to more deeply under-
stand that material. So he gave freshmen in his
BIO
111 “
The Unity of Life” course an extra-
credit assignment with these guidelines:
1)
Come up with a creative way to engage
material we have covered in lecture.
2)
Obtain verbal approval of a topic.
3)
Write a one-page summary of the project.
4)
Go to it!
We were curious about the results, so
we headed over to Professor Martin’s lab in
Thompson Hall to see what the students came
up with. Here are a few examples.
t
CONSTRUCTOR
Faith Copenhaver ’16
WHAT IS IT?
Artistic interpretation
(
acrylic on canvas) of a
DNA gel similar to one that
the students processed in
class
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
Agarose gels separate DNA
fragments on the basis of size
(
larger fragments higher up);
dyes can make the DNA frag-
ments fluoresce under ultra-
violet light. Students saw
both of these lessons in DNA
gels that they ran in class.