Using ESStudios Microbial Growth Modeling Program to Improve Student Comprehension of Microbial Growth and Its Underlying Mathematics
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Soil Water & Environm Sci, Coll Agr & Life Sci
Univ Arizona, Commun & Cyber Technol, Coll Agr & Life Sci
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY
CitationJ. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2018 vol. 19 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i2.1489
Rights©2018 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractThe concept of bacterial growth and substrate utilization is foundational in the field of microbiology, yet the teaching of this concept is often limited to a graph displaying a single ideal growth curve. As a result, the underlying mathematics are often ignored, and when they are introduced, the equations are generally splashed across the screen with little expectation for student retention or comprehension. We have designed a web-based, interactive learning program called Environmental Science Studios (ESStudios: http://esstudios.arizona.edu/) to model microbial growth to promote active, hands-on, problem-solving that fosters a deep understanding of the mathematics of growth phenomena. The ESStudios Microbial Growth and Dynamics Modeling Program was used as a supplement to traditional lecture in an environmental microbiology course. Using the program, students were able to easily conduct a large number of virtual experiments, make direct on-screen comparisons across experiments, and develop a strong understanding of the effect of growth parameters on microbial growth curves. Student feedback on the activity was positive, and during the activity, we noted they asked questions indicative of higher level understanding. This activity demonstrates ESStudio’s potential to shift the pedagogy from teaching microbial growth using generalizations and dry oration to teaching the concept with visuals, case-studies, and interactions that allow direct relation of the underlying mathematics with the physical manifestations of microbial growth.
NoteOpen access journal.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsUniversity of Arizona Water, Environmental and Energy Solutions initiative - Arizona Technology and Research Initiative Fund
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