classroom activities

There's no question that the ability to work with information is one that will be required and valued for a long time to come. I think it's imperative for teachers to have students practice this skill whenever an opportunity comes about. The problem for many teachers is finding the time to identify good data sets. MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a serious problem for hospital patients. Six of out seven people who become infected with MRSA, get it from some kind of health-care facility. In 2007, the CDC issued a report claiming that 18,000 people die ... Read more
If you're going to create a new life form (even if it's only digital), Sunday Saturday seems like the best day to give it a try.

i-a8939b7c0982ccf1291f42fb7e878e17-fluA.0.jpg

Reposted from an earlier year. Build-A-Virus is a quick, fun, and simple game that was created and put on-line by Bioreliance, now owned by Invitrogen. ... Read more
It was a wet and rainy day yesterday, and we have a dissecting microscope, so I decided to see if I could find some tardigrades.

Tardigrade photo by i-f47a475e7e1c7332c4016e7534ce9fcd-tardigrade.jpgnebarnix

Reposted from Nov. 2006 I went outside and scraped a bit of moss and some lichens off of our deck. Then I put the lichens ... Read more
This quarter, I'm using a wiki with my bioinformatics class and posting sometimes about the things that I learn. Two things I've been experimenting with are:
  1. Setting up pages for individual students so they can take notes while they're working.
  2. Embedding a Google form into one of my wiki pages for student assessment.
Here's a diagram showing some of the pages in my bioinformatics class wiki site.
Want to learn more about Parkinson's disease? See why a single nucleotide mutation messes up the function of a protein? I have a short activity that uses Cn3D (a molecular viewing program from the NCBI) to look at a protein that seems to be involved in a rare form of Parkinson's disease and I could sure use beta testers. If you'd like to do this, I need you to follow the directions below and afterwards, go to a web form and answer a few questions. Don't worry about getting the wrong answers. I won't know who ... Read more
Experimenting with on-line worksheets I know some people who always teach their classes the same way, semester after semester, year after year.. Not me. I always want to experiment and try new things. This fall, I'm experimenting with using a wiki in the classroom, in addition to my blog. This wont be my first wiki experience. We've long used wikis where I work, and I've used them to collaborate with people in different locations, but this is the first time that I'll try one in a teaching situation. The wikis in my past My earlier ... Read more
ScienceBlogs and science bloggers, in general, have enthusiastically supported fund-raising efforts by DonorsChoose for the past two years, and we're doing it once again for 2008. DonorsChoose works like this: teachers write descriptions of what they want and how they'll use it for teaching, and submit their proposals to DonorsChoose. We pick the projects we like and if you like them, too, you can help get these projects funded.
Donate to schools! Win a prize!
... Read more
HealthMap is a great site that could be an excellent resource when teaching a biology, microbiology, or health class. Not to mention, I can picture people using it before they travel somewhere or even just for fun. I learned about HealthMap awhile ago from Mike the Mad Biologist, but I didn't get time to play with the site until today. Here's an example to see how it works. How do I use HealthMap? ... Read more
Let's play anomaly! Most of this week, I've written about the fun time I had playing around with NCBI's Blink database and finding evidence that at least one mosquito, Aedes aegypti, seems to have been infected at some point with a plant paramyxovirus and that the paramyxovirus left one of its genes behind, stuck in the mosquito genome. During this process, I realized that the method I used works with other viruses, too. I tried it with a few random viruses and sure enough, I found some interesting things. You've got a week to give it a try. Let's see ... Read more
Do mosquitoes get the mumps? Part V. A general method for finding interesting things in GenBank This is the last in a five part series on an unexpected discovery of a paramyxovirus in mosquitoes and a general method for finding other interesting things. In this last part, I discuss a general method for finding novel things in GenBank and how this kind of project could be a good sort of discovery, inquiry-based project for biology, microbiology, or bioinformatics students. I. The back story ... Read more

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