ERIC Number: EJ877822
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Commentary: Biochemistry Re-Natured
White, Harold B.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v38 n1 p35-36 Jan-Feb 2010
In his last commentary on "Biochemistry Denatured," this author dealt with his perception that college students today have spent too little of their childhood years playing outside in nature and as a consequence have not learned basic things about the world from personal experience. This "nature-deficit disorder" removes many opportunities for teachers to connect the abstractions of biochemistry to what was once assumed to be common knowledge. The author does not advocate remedial nature play courses for entering biochemistry majors. Rather, he thinks that biochemistry can be "re-natured" in a mindful way that addresses these deficiencies. In this commentary, the author discusses ways that biochemistry can be re-natured. One simple way to help students relate biochemistry to everyday experience is to bring relevant objects into class--be it a leaf, flower, tissues, or something else. Another approach involves using familiar objects to illustrate difficult ideas. He adds that lecture demonstrations with familiar objects are yet another way to bring the visible natural world into the biochemistry classroom. Although biochemistry education lacks the rich tradition of lecture demonstrations identified with chemistry education, a single well-chosen demonstration in a semester can be sufficient to leave a lasting impression. The author cites lecture demonstrations he developed together with a colleague many years ago. He stresses that connections to the natural world abound and it should not be difficult to step back from one's abstractions and make the connections for students.
Descriptors: Biochemistry, Prior Learning, Lecture Method, Relevance (Education), Theory Practice Relationship, Sensory Experience, Audiovisual Aids, Experiential Learning
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A