Physical Models Support Active Learning as Effective Thinking Tools

Cassidy R. Terrell, Margaret A. Franzen, Timothy Herman, Sunil Malapati, Dina L. Newman, L. Kate Wright

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Scopus citations


    From the perspective of a novice student, the molecular biosciences are inherently invisible. A challenge facing bioscience educators is to help students create detailed mental models of the biomolecules that make up a living cell and how they all work together to support life. With the advancement of rapid-prototyping, also known as 3D (three dimensional)-printing, physical models of biomolecules are entering undergraduate classrooms as tools to aid in constructing mental models of biological phenomena at the molecular-level. This relatively new pedagogical tool requires evidence-based practices for optimal use in aiding student conceptual and visual development. This chapter presents current evidence for the use of physical models as learning tools, while also introducing case studies on how physical models of biomolecules are designed and assessed in undergraduate molecular bioscience settings.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)43-62
    Number of pages20
    JournalACS Symposium Series
    StatePublished - 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The CREST Project is supported by the National Science Foundation under award numbers DUE-1022793, DUE-1323414 and DUE-1725940. The serine proteases kit, data collection and analysis is supported by the National Science Foundation under the ModEL-C project with award numbers: IUSE 1711402 and 1711425. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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