Innovated Teaching Methods, Demonstrations, etc.
I have used a lot of original laboratory demonstrations and activities over the years due to budgetary deficits or other issues. Below is a method for discussing journal articles that I developed and later published. Additionally, I provide the publication of a simple demonstration used to explain the effects of environmental variables on transpiration. The latter doesn't really use transpiration directly, but it addresses the concept in a simple way that students really latch on too. I have also had students boil red cabbage in water to remove carotenoids, then alcohol to remove chlorophyll, leaving the cabbage bright white at the end. This really hammered home that chlorophyll is soluble in fat, hence why it appears in the membranes and other pigments are water soluble, which is why they do not appear in the membranes, but occur in matrix or cytoplasm. I have also had students compare heat loss by hatchling button quail and chicks to demonstrate surface to volume ratio effects in heat conservation. The students used behavioral cues to track and of course the smaller button quail chicks moved through this progression faster than the chicks. This was a very popular laboratory activity! Early in my career, we were discussing nutrition and nutritional supplements. The night before, the television show South Park aired the Episode in which Cartman is taking massive amounts of beefcake body building supplement. I jokingly told the class we should go buy some weight gainer 5000 and feed it to mealworms and see if we can make them scream beefcake! I turned around and looked at the students and some of their eyes were the size of pie plates. I then asked, would you guys like to do that? It was a unanimous yes. So, I tossed a poorly performing lab activity from the schedule, then had the students design their own experiments with various body building supplements. It was not only one of the most fun and inspiring labs for the students, it was also a heck of a lot of fun. Best of all, they really learned a lot about nutritional supplements.
Discussing Journal Articles
Original outreach programs