ERIC Number: EJ1094469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Accelerating the Use of Molecular Modeling in the High School Classroom with VMD Lite
Lundquist, Karl; Herndon, Conner; Harty, Tyson H.; Gumbart, James C.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v44 n2 p124-129 Mar-Apr 2016
It is often difficult for students to develop an intuition about molecular processes, which occur in a realm far different from day-to-day life. For example, thermal fluctuations take on hurricane-like proportions at the molecular scale. Students need a way to visualize realistic depictions of molecular processes to appreciate them. To this end, we have developed a simplified graphical interface to the widely used molecular visualization and analysis tool Visual Molecular Dynamics (VMD) called VMD lite. We demonstrate the use of VMD lite through a module on diffusion and the hydrophobic effect as they relate to membrane formation. Trajectories from molecular dynamics simulations, which students can interact with freely, illustrate the dynamical behavior of lipid molecules and water. VMD lite was tested by ~70 students with overall positive reception. Remaining deficiencies in conceptual understanding were noted, however, and the module has been revised in response.
Descriptors: High School Students, Classroom Techniques, Molecular Structure, Computer Simulation, Learning Modules, Visualization, Computer Graphics, Teaching Methods, Educational Practices, Scientific Concepts, Scientific Methodology, Scientific Principles
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia
Grant or Contract Numbers: MCB1452464