Sunday, May 07, 2006

On the Scientific Method in Biology

I have turned the first part of my last week's lecture into a blog post over on The Magic School Bus.

The course I am teaching is Introduction to Life Science (this is a science requirement for non-science majors at an accelerated adult education program at a community college).

I started out the lecture by describing the six-second student evaluation experiment, which takes more than six seconds to explain, and voiced my hope that they will keep that in mind and evaluate me on the whole experience, not just the initial impressions. After going over the syllabus and rules, I gave a four-part lecture. As we meet only eight times, four hours each, I have to break up each meeting into chewable blocks of time. This time, all foru blocks were filled with me lecturing, but I told them that as the course progresses, there will be more and more participation by them, and less and less talking by me.

The blogpost/summary linked above is not a transcript of the lecture. It is also more than just a series of bulleted points to be memorized. It also does not contain all the examples, details, anecdotes, jokes, veering off on tangents, answering students’ questions etc., nor does it contain all the graphics, including those drawn on the whiteboard over the course of the lecture.

It also is a somewhat unusual presentation of the scientific method, particularly at such a low level of science education. Please go read it and let me know what you think.

I will post the next three parts of the lecture (on cell organelles, on transcription and translation, and on cell-cell communication) soon.

Next lecture is tomorrow (Monday night), so, some time during the next week, I will post the notes from that lecture as well.

Update: I have now posted the summary of the second part of the first lecture: Cell Structure

Update 2: I have now posted the summary of the third part of the first lecture: Protein Synthesis: Transcription and Translation

Update 3: I have now posted the summary of the fourth part of the first lecture:Cell-Cell Interactions

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