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Science Education.

GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS AS TOOLS TO DIFFERENTIATE SCIENCE INSTRUCTION IN THE SECONDARY CLASSROOM. Marla Johnson, Marian Parker, Jessica Anderson, and Janet Gaston, Dept. Biol. & Env. Sci, Dept. Curriculum & Teaching, Troy University, Troy, AL

A requirement of RED 4484, Reading in the Content Areas, is to tutor a struggling student in grades 6-12. Students enrolled in the SCI 4481, Methods & Materials for Secondary Science Teacher, are required to incorporate graphic organizers into the lesson plans developed for a teaching unit. In the BIO/ CHM/ SCI 4474, Internship in Science Education, pre-service science teachers are encouraged to develop and use graphic organizers as part of their daily lesson plan activities. The appropriate graphic organizers from the Makes Sense Strategies are being used to assist the candidates in helping their students organize notes and study information. In Fall Semester, 2005, one of our General Science Education candidates tutored a local high school young man, who had been diagnosed with a learning disability. With the use of graphic organizers as a study tool, the young man prepared for and successfully completed the Alabama High School Graduation Exams.

DEVELOPING THERMODYNAMICS USING A COMPOSITE HEAT ENGINE. Christopher King, Dept. of Chemistry, Troy University, Troy, AL 36082

The Carnot cycle is often used to derive a mathematical expression for the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This method does not make clear what thermodynamic temperature is, and provides little insight, since a specific substance (an ideal gas) is used, rather than a general substance. The composite heat engine approach avoids these problems. The composite engine is 2 simple engines with a heat reservoir at an intermediate temperature between them. The talk will show how a composite engine can be used to increase student understanding of the 2nd law.

CELLULAR RESPIRATION: CONCEPTS AND LABORATORY EXERCISES. M. Sue Thomson, Rosine W. Hall and Janice B. Lynn, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Cellular respiration is the foundation of any organism's energy metabolism but is one of the most difficult concepts to teach because it is an abstract topic largely unfamiliar to students, occurring at a scale that they cannot directly observe. We have developed and will present a hands-on laboratory exercise illustrating the concepts and processes of cellular respiration appropriate for use in college-level introductory biology classes. We experimented with the idea of using different substrates to be able to investigate variations in enzymatic activity. We also tested a tube-in-tube design after an Internet search yielded a computer-based simulation similar to what we envisioned. Our protocol uses a tube-in-tube design with six sugar substrates at the same molar concentration, bromothymol blue as the indicator and yeast as the subject organism. It is a safe, consistent exercise that students themselves can do with readily available laboratory equipment. By the end of the exercise, the students should be able to demonstrate their understanding of cellular respiration, enzymatic activity, and the scientific method through observation, experimentation, and application.


As science instructors, we would like to generate student excitement about the sciences as well as stimulate us to be better teachers. I am a microbiologist by training and, in another life, completed a MS degree working with halophilic (ocean) bacteria. After joining the faculty of the University of West Alabama 11 years ago, I was again introduced to halophilic microbes after a 25 year lapse due to military obligations, completion of a Ph.D., post-docs, and research positions with other research interests. Biologists at UWA and other institutions have performed research at an inland saline site in Alabama located near Jackson, AL in the Fred T. Stimpson Wildlife Sanctuary. The salinity ranges from 0 to over 50 ppt and, in some cases, to over 100 ppt. I have collected water/mud from this area as well as water/mud/sand from brackish and ocean waters around the Mobile-Pensacola area, water/mud from freshwater streams as "controls", and water/mud from old Winogradsky columns made from these materials. These materials were used in the laboratory part of my Microbiology course to teach the following concepts and techniques: media making (solutions, dilutions, mathematics for biologists, and metric system), types of media (emphasizing complex, synthetic, enrichment [high salt], and selective [high salt] types), aseptic techniques, inoculation, streaking of plates for colony isolation and characterization, microscopy, simple and differential staining, cell and cell arrangement morphology, size determination (metric system and calibration of the microscope), salinity determination with dilutions, salt requirements for growth, and physiological tests. Details on the results from my Fall 2005 semester course will be presented.

ETHNOBOTANY IN SCIENCE EDUCATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM. Loretta A. Cormier, Dept. of Anthropology, Univ. of Ala. at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294.

The Anthropology Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has developed a Spring mini-term course in ethnobotany. The course contains four components: theory, ethnography, plants, and hands-on learning. Lecture material includes the first two components: basics in ecological anthropological theory and study of indigenous Native American groups of Alabama. Students were then assigned 10 native plants to study in depth, including both plant ecology and their uses by Native American cultures. The course culminated in students designing a small Native American ethnobotanical garden on the UAB campus grounds.

EXAMPLES AND STRATEGIES FOR TEACHING ARCHAEOLOGY AND FIELD-BASED SCIENCES. Sharyn R. Jones, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Ala. Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294

The ever increasing technological savvy of students and their apparently diminishing attention span provokes a consideration of teaching methods and the evaluation of possibilities for improving teaching settings, lecture formats, and presentation style in an effort to appeal to students enmeshed in a high-speed high-tech culture. I evaluate my own experiences as a student and reflect upon positive educational situations that had long lasting effects on my intellectual development. I also draw from my experiences as an instructor to describe useful teaching strategies and to illustrate potentially effective ways to bring field-based sciences to life. Archaeology, like many field-based sciences generates copious amounts of material data. Artifacts, bones, shell, botanical remains, and other items are helpful for teaching laboratory methods and can act as illustrative objects in a variety of courses within the discipline. Other forms of data such as maps and photographs form an additional source from which to expose students to visually stimulating media for teaching purposes. Providing students with hands-on experience with material culture in the laboratory and/or classroom is a memorable event that often leaves participants with a positive impression of science.

LAUNCING A SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOCUSED UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM: CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES. Diane Tucker, Science and Technology Honors Program, Univ. of Ala. at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294.

UAB launched the Science and Technology Honors Program in Fall 2006. This interdisciplinary program prepares engineering and science students to be leaders and generators of new knowledge in their field. Students participate in interdisciplinary seminars, a scientific communication course, and an intensive mentored research experience wit ha faculty member. Challenges have included: establishing the Science and Technology Program as unique and distinct from the existing UAB Honors Program, working within the core curriculum to provide an enhanced honors experience in both science and related non-science courses, coordinating an effective learning experience for students within interdisciplinary courses involving many faculty, maintaining the interdisciplinary theme of the program while providing opportunity for in depth problem analysis, transferring leadership for outreach and social activities to the students. Successes have included: large pool of qualified applicants for 2006-2007 class, Enthusiastic support from UAB administration and academic community, cohesion among students, involvement of students in science related and non-science related community outreach activities, broad interdisciplinary exposure of students to science and technology research through seminars and hands on experience. The vision of the program and implementation of the freshman curriculum will be described.
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Publication:Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science
Geographic Code:1U6AL
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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