We may think of movement in terms of muscle and whole animal movement. However, at the microscopic level, there are movements that are equally dramatic, and arguably more important for life. These cellular and intracellular movements serve a variety of function in all organisms. In this short 3 day module, I will try to include a range of organisms from bacteria, fungi, vertebrate cells, and a sampling of the diversity of functions of cellular and intracellular movement.
My goals in this module are to:
The organisms. The organisms I will show are: bacteria, slime mold, algae, protozoa, and cells from fish scales. The criteria for the organisms I use are: be inexpensive, easy to grow and maintain, relatively easy to manipulate so that students quickly feel confident in using them, and avoid the need to kill of vertebrates.
Relate the processes to human biology. The fact that we deal with organisms that are very distantly related to humans does NOT mean that the experiments need to be abstract or unconnected to human biology. In fact, I make a special point of emphasizing that very similar processes are important to human health and biology but it is a lot easier to study it in these cells than killing a rat and grinding up its liver or pithing a frog.
Fun experiments to show movement. The cellular processes we'll study are microscopic but nonetheless can be quite dramatic when they work, so I will point out key features to make the experiments work.
Student initiated inquiry. Once the basic experiments work, the students can design their own experiments within the framework of the basic experiment. Often, the students can then take "ownership" of the work, and do very good work.