This five-year partnership project among scientists and science educators at the University of Georgia,science teachers in high schools,and the BSCS organization is creating and rigorously evaluating curricular materials that utilize highly interactive 3-D models and animations of physiological processes.
These materials will allow students to conduct inquiries into the life-threatening effects of diseases such as diabetes. The inquiry-based learning activities created in this project will cover 7 key biological processes:diffusion,osmosis,filtration,active transport,passive transport,blood pressure,and glucose homeostasis.
We currently have created and are examining the impact of interactive inquiry animations on the processes of osmosis and filtration. We will soon have an inquiry animation for the diffusion of oxygen into the lung which is created within a case study of the effects of poison gas inhalation.
In our initial tryouts of these animations in schools we have learned that:(1) students are immediately attracted to playing an animation based game that has a “scoring” or “accomplishment” component at its heart;(2) students use multiple paths to reach the end result in the case study animations,thus it is important to make sure these paths are available;and (3) students appreciate the biologically realistic animations that have been created for these curricular materials.