Modeling the Molecular World

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Gastropod Fossils

ERN Item Type: 

  • Teacher Professional Development


Milwaukee School of Engineering (SOE)


Modeling the Molecular World focuses on connecting the macroscopic world in which students live with the invisible world of molecules. The workshop begins with an exploration of the basic principles of chemistry that result in structure/function relationships and result in a complex array of "molecular machines" that work together to maintain the living state. We will focus on proteins – and how they "know" to spontaneously fold up into compact shapes that perform specific functions. Modeling is both an authentic practice of science and an essential tool in the classroom. We will use models of all sorts in this workshop – from magnetic water molecules and mini-toober models of proteins to schematic models of membranes and the components of the flow of genetic information. Course participants will learn to use Jmol to design protein models that can be built using 3D printing technology. We will also model a variety of different teaching strategies as “pedagogical moments” interspersed throughout the course. This workshop also prepares teachers to either coach an Science Olympiad Protein Modeling team or to organize a SMART Team (Students Modeling A Research Topic) in their school. Type of Organization: Private Non-Profit University; Event Date Notes: July 6-10, 2015; Audience: Grade 9-12 Educator