BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY WORKS ABOUT NOBEL PRIZES AT CATALAN HIGH SCHOOLS
Biochemistry and molecular biology are focused on the study and understanding of chemical processes which occur inside living cells. Most of the secondary school students aged between 15 and 17 are not interest in writing about the lives of biochemists and their discoveries. But some of them are interested in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as seen in TV series such as Forensic Medicine, CSI (Crime Scientific Investigation), Bones, NAVY investigation, etc.
Teachers are trying to find different methods and new forms of work organization to improve the teaching-learning process and they also play an important role when it comes to build positive learning habits.
In this context, in Catalan Secondary School classes, we use the students’ curiosity for TV series to organize new classroom works about the evolution of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the first half of the XXth Century. These classroom activities are focused on Medicine or Physiology and Chemistry Nobel Prizes granted during the first half of the XXth Century.
In class students are divided in groups and assigned a job to do research about different biochemistry and molecular biology scientists who were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work in this area. Some of the scientists included are Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Severo Ochoa, Frederick Sanger, Alexander Fleming, Dorothy Crowfoot or James Watson and more. Also, teachers aim for the participation of all the class. Good results are guaranteed if this work is introduced as a teamwork activity in which all students must play a part.
Students perform their research in a way to answer the following questions: Why has this scientist been selected and which are the most significant discoveries made by him/her that have contributed to the progress of biochemistry and society?
To provide some structure and supervision for the work done by the students, they were given clear guidelines showing the points that are important to focus on in their research and presentation.
At the end a poster is made with the Nobel prizes in physiology, medicine and chemistry during the first half of the XXth century, extended until the sixties just when Dr. Severo Ochoa obtained his Nobel Prize and, finally, the entire work is presented to classmates and part of the history of biochemistry is introduced into the course curriculum to increase students' interest.