A friend recently challenged me saying "you know about mitochondria, what can you tell me about mitochondrial disease and atrial fibrillation?"
"What?" "I really don't know anything about it!"
A quick search to answer my friend's question revealed numerous papers and discussions available online. The question had me thinking, "Isn't this a great idea for a STEM project?" I quickly dug out a sheet of paper and started mind mapping where I thought such a topic might go.
As illustrated, without much effort, it is possible to link the study of many concepts including human physiology, cellular biology, biochemistry and genetics. Each educator probably uses their own timing and unique style when introducing a topic to inspire project-based learning. Would you use such a project when students have some basic knowledge of biology? They could guide the developing mind-map based on their prior knowledge. Or, perhaps you would introduce this question to the students at the beginning of the course and revisit the question as relevant topics roll out.
If you use this idea in your classroom, please let me know. If you have other ideas for project-based learning and are willing to share, send me a short description. Let's keep our students involved and exploring.
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