Reflecting on modeling January 22, 2015 22:05

This week I used the Dynamic Cell Models with my college Cell Biology students, and then I went back and reviewed some videos of 5th graders using the same models.  I was reinvigorated by the breadth of lessons these models can address.  With the 5th graders, they had to determine whether to put red, green, or purple pieces of plastic into their models of cells with red spots in them.  They concluded that the red pieces were correct, but then had to figure out the purpose of the red pieces (chromoplasts for color).  With my college students, they were trying to determine whether the methylene blue-stained cheek cells really had a blue membrane; this depended on their knowledge of the chemical makeup of the membrane (primarily lipid) and the types of molecules typically stained by methylene blue (DNA and protein).  The college students concluded that the membrane was most likely unstained, and determined that the edge of the blue cytoplasm was misleading them into thinking the edge (membrane) was blue.

The Dynamic Cell Models are truly versatile.  Now I just have to stick them back into the dishwasher to get them ready for the next group of students!