Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Combinatorial Chemistry - Designing Novel Drug Therapies to Combat Antibiotic Resistance - Section 1: Introduction


When beginning a unit as conceptually complex and multifaceted as the Combinatorial Chemistry Unit, I look for multiple entry points which often employ less than traditional means to make the content accessible to all students. The use of children's picture books may be a bit unconventional however sharing science based selections has become one of my favorite ways of introducing complex ideas. I think this strategy connects with students because the approach tends to lower their anxiety and engages their imagination. The following directions were provided to students via a student poll posted to our online learning management system (LMS) a few days prior the start of our unit. 

READ the Germ Stories chapter excerpt entitled, “Penicillium Notatum” and discover the secret behind a property possessed by the most effective antibiotics called "selective toxicity"!

INQUIRY: How do antibiotics kill bacterial cells but NOT the cells of humans who take these medications?

Sample Student Response 1 and Response 2 demonstrate how students approach the inquiry. The task enabled students to apply, predict and infer which is a great way to activate student learning.

  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Use of Children's Literature in Biotechnology - It's Elementary
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Combinatorial Chemistry - Designing Novel Drug Therapies to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

Unit 7: Advanced Techniques in Biotechnology
Lesson 1 of 4

Objective: Students will analyze the data collected from Kirby-Bauer assay in order to develop multiple hypotheses, based on the results of these tests, and diagnose antibiotic resistance in a mock patient.

Big Idea: Pose reasonable, testable hypotheses in order to make logical predictions and draw conclusions about the global impact of antibiotic resistance.

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