Ms. Emily: Cell Cities!

Friday was my last day this semester.  Since Ms. Scali was gone the day we finished our scaffold lesson, we first showed her all of the scaffolds the students designed.  The rest of the time the students worked on their cell cities.  This was a really cool project because it helped explain how cells work by making a cell analogous to a city.  In other words, the cell nucleus was the “city hall” of the cell, the ribosomes were the “construction workers,” the golgi apparatus was the “mail truck,” etc.  It seemed like this analogy worked pretty well to help the students understand cells better, although I could also tell it created some confusion.  I noticed several groups put houses all over their city and when I asked what the houses were supposed to represent, none of the groups could tell me, but they all replied pretty much the same thing:

“we put the houses there because the mail truck has to have something to deliver to”

My analogy comparing building scaffolds to tissue engineering scaffolds also created some confusion in the last couple weeks as some of the students first started trying to build their scaffolds like a building scaffold.    Overall, analogies can be powerful learning tools, but I’m also learning I need to be careful with them too.

About Emily Beck

I am a PhD student in Bioengineering at the University of Kansas and I am studying Tissue Engineering. I am interested in using nanoparticles and natural materials to create scaffolds that can assist in tissue regeneration/repair.
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