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2017 Texas CAST

11-09-2017  - 11-11-2017Houston

Science Teachers Association of Texas 2017 CAST

George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston

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Get In The Groove! Explore DNA Structure and Replication Using 3D Models
Explore parts of a nucleotide, the sugar-phosphate backbone, hydrogen bonding and the anti-parallel nature of DNA using accurate, 3-dimensional models. These interactive models allow students to assemble the nucleotide building blocks of DNA, analyze DNA's complex structure and see the major and minor grooves as they build the double helix. Simulate and evaluate the process of replication with foam manipulatives that demonstrate the roles of DNA helicase and DNA polymerase, model the semi-conservative and semi-discontinuous nature of replication and differentiate between leading and lagging strands. These hands-on, minds-on models allow students to first explore then ask questions and discover the concepts prior to introducing terminology.

Enzymes in 3D – Modeling the Enzyme Structure and Function Relationship
Enzyme structure-function relationships are revealed through hands-on, minds-on modeling activities. Begin with a model that demonstrates how the sequence of amino acids and principles of chemistry influence a protein’s final 3D structure. Examine how secondary structure helps stabilize proteins and how mutations can impact protein shape. A manipulative model of enzyme metabolism will be demonstrated, showing enzyme specificity, regulation and inhibition. Conclude by exploring a model of modern natural selection in action: a case study of enzyme-inhibiting insecticides and their unintended consequences. Explore a 3D physical model of the active site of the enzyme to discover how insecticides inhibit enzyme action and how a mutation allowed mosquitos to become resistant. Handouts provided!

Building Proteins: How Do Cells Read the Blueprint?
How is the genetic information stored in DNA in the nucleus used to build proteins in the cytoplasm of a cell? This question can be answered at many levels and there are many great online resources to teach this topic. But what do your students really understand about these molecular processes? Do they know the differences between DNA and RNA? Do they really understand how the genetic code is read and deciphered to build proteins? We’ll use hands-on, minds-on manipulatives to demonstrate how you can uncover your students’ understanding of these complex topics. We’ll discuss common student misconceptions that are exposed when using the models. We’ll also discuss ways of incorporating evaluation of models into the activity while expanding your students’ knowledge base.

Where in the Cell Are We? Exploring Cellular Watercolor Landscapes
Connect microscopic and molecular views of the cell using a unique teaching tool: the vibrant, accurate and engaging cellular landscapes of David Goodsell, PhD. These watercolor paintings have been converted into posters that illustrate the crowded environment of a cell – packed full of proteins, jostling around, trying to do their job. Landscapes help students connect concepts such as DNA replication, protein synthesis, energy production, signal transduction across a synapse and antibody secretion. We’ll demonstrate how these landscapes and ancillary grayscale images can be used to teach such diverse concepts as molecular transport, protein synthesis, compartmentalization of cellular processes and prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structures. This workshop will also model best practices in teaching that engage students in hands-on, minds-on learning through a series of questions that uncover their current conceptions of biological processes.