INTRODUCING YOUNG STUDENTS TO BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This article presents an educational approach for starting compulsory secondary students (ESO) in their last year of study, 15 years old, with biochemistry and molecular biology. The aim is that students could understand some biochemistry principles working with few experiments in the university laboratories and, all explanations must be taught by a scientist, this is a very important support for their science teachers.
In order to bridge the gap between compulsory secondary education and the university, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Barcelona, in collaboration with the SEBBM (The Spanish Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), organized a workshop with practical lessons for students in their last year of compulsory secondary school. This workshop was related with our previous course “I love Biochemistry” directed to students in their last year of secondary school (17-18 years old).
It was designed to familiarize compulsory secondary school students with the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; we want to introduce students into the world of research and also that to appreciate the importance of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in many aspects of our lives. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a science that is increasing dramatically and spectacularly in the last decades and has a large impact both economic and social. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is undoubtedly the greatest impact of science in this century, its applications are many, from Medicine to human genome or from basic biology research to agriculture and nutrition and its new techniques are ranging from recombinant DNA to the PRC methods.
Each session contained four experiments for this, students were divided in four groups, and each one completed the four proposed experiments. Before to start, the instructions on the use of the instruments needed and a complete guide on security and emergency procedures in the laboratory were explained to all students. Then, a protocol was gave to students, this protocol included a full description of the practice and its scientific fundaments. Furthermore, the experiments were explained to each group and a constant discussion on the experimental procedures and results were stimulated by the four PhD students or university researchers who were responsible for laboratory work.
After the practical session, students’ opinions were assessed. Almost all the students qualified the workshop as a valuable experience. Meanwhile, teachers’s opinions were also assessed. Science secondary school teachers, who have helped to promote this initiative, have received this workshop with great interest. This support from teachers has been basic for getting this significant success. Finally, this strategy aims to bring the knowledge of this field of science towards compulsory secondary school students and show them that Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is in every thing that we do every day.
Keywords: Biochemistry, teenagers, education.