Modeling the Molecular World: Tactile Teaching with Physical Models
July 9-12, 2012 — The Rockefeller University
Course Directors: Tim Herman and Ted Scovell
This course targets high school teachers in the New York City metropolitan area and will be conducted at Rockefeller University.
During the Modeling the Molecular World course, we will focus on connecting the macroscopic world in which students live with the invisible world of molecules. We will begin by exploring general principles of chemistry underlying molecular structure and function and how these give rise to a complex array of 'molecular machines' that work coordinately to maintain the living state. We will focus on proteins and how they 'know' what shape they should fold up into following their synthesis as linear polymers of amino acids.
We will use a variety of physical models in an effort to make this molecular world 'real'. We will also introduce the use of Jmol -- a computer visualization tool that can be used to expand on the concepts of protein structure that are initially created by the use of the physical models. A variety of teaching strategies and 'pedagogical moments' will be presented in the workshop, and we will prepare teachers to either coach a Science Olympiad Protein Modeling team or to organize a SMART (Students Modeling A Research Topic) Team at your school.
Stipend and Materials
Participants will be provided with a $100 stipend to cover lunch and travel expenses, as well as models and teaching aids valued at $500.
This project is supported in part by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences.