Making models to represent biological systems is a great tool to learn more about that system. In order to understand the cell, students made models of a eukaryotic cell - not just any model, but an edible model that is also digital. First students created a model of the cell out of edible items. They had to pay attention to where organelles and parts were placed so they could see how one organelle affects another organelle. For example, the placement of rough ER is very important in the cell because of what it does. Once the students made their cell they had to take a picture of it so that they could then label and annotate that picture with functions of each part. This incorporates working with both 3D and 2D models. Students apply what they are learning in class to extended work at home. Who knew how yummy something digital could be?
Part of science is learning about technology. This means learning all about the Technological Design Process. This process is commonly found in the engineering fields, but applies in biology as well. For example, the invention of the microscope led to the discovery of many things we now know about the cell. The microscope is a tool that was engineered to extend the human eye. Scientists worked tirelessly through trial-and-error to produce this tool and make it available to other scientists. We mimicked this process by building a bridge (out of noodles) across a sink (a dangerous river) so that our marshmallow family could cross safely. This proved to be tricker than the students originally thought. It also lead to collaboration and creativity among the students. Each group had a different approach to solving this problem, which is the beauty of the technological design process.
In order to understand living things we must first understand what makes something living. All living things share certain characteristics. One of the first things we do in Honors Biology is study those characteristics and mimic as many of them as we can. In this lab students went around the room reading about and practicing working with the characteristics of life.