NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1166213
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1470-8175
The Polygonal Model: A Simple Representation of Biomolecules as a Tool for Teaching Metabolism
Bonafe, Carlos Francisco Sampaio; Bispo, Jose Ailton Conceição; de Jesus, Marcelo Bispo
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v46 n1 p66-75 Jan-Feb 2018
Metabolism involves numerous reactions and organic compounds that the student must master to understand adequately the processes involved. Part of biochemical learning should include some knowledge of the structure of biomolecules, although the acquisition of such knowledge can be time-consuming and may require significant effort from the student. In this report, we describe the "polygonal model" as a new means of graphically representing biomolecules. This model is based on the use of geometric figures such as open triangles, squares, and circles to represent hydroxyl, carbonyl, and carboxyl groups, respectively. The usefulness of the polygonal model was assessed by undergraduate students in a classroom activity that consisted of "transforming" molecules from Fischer models to polygonal models and vice and versa. The survey was applied to 135 undergraduate Biology and Nursing students. Students found the model easy to use and we noted that it allowed identification of students' misconceptions in basic concepts of organic chemistry, such as in stereochemistry and organic groups that could then be corrected. The students considered the polygonal model easier and faster for representing molecules than Fischer representations, without loss of information. These findings indicate that the polygonal model can facilitate the teaching of metabolism when the structures of biomolecules are discussed. Overall, the polygonal model promoted contact with chemical structures, e.g. through drawing activities, and encouraged student-student dialog, thereby facilitating biochemical learning.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A