AbstractThe ability to conceptualize 3D shapes is central to understanding biological processes. The concept that the structure of a biological molecule leads to function is a core principle of the biochemical field. Visualisation of biological molecules often involves vocal explanations or the use of two dimensional slides and video presentations. A deeper understanding of these molecules can however be obtained by the handling of objects. 3D printed biological molecules can be used as active learning tools to stimulate engagement in large group lectures. These models can be used to build upon initial core knowledge which can be delivered in either a flipped form or a more didactic manner. Within the teaching session the students are able to learn by handling, rotating and viewing the objects to gain an appreciation, for example, of an enzyme’s active site or the difference between the major and minor groove of DNA. Models and other artefacts can be handled in small groups within a lecture theatre and act as a focal point to generate conversation. Through the approach presented here core knowledge is first established and then supplemented with high level problem solving through a "Think-Pair-Share" cooperative learning strategy. The teaching delivery was adjusted based around experiential learning activities by moving the object from mental cognition and into the physical environment. This approach led to students being able to better visualise biological molecules and a positive engagement in the lecture. The use of objects in teaching allows the lecturer to create interactive sessions that both challenge and enable the student.
SMITH, David P. <http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5177-8574> (2016). Active learning in the lecture theatre using 3D printed objects. F1000Research, 5 (61), 1-18.