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Biochemistry Unit
Arwel Jones
NGfL Cymru
Downloadable software
Cooperative learning, Modelling, Experiential learning
Fundamental Chemistry, Life Chemistry, Food Science
Lower Secondary School
The prerequisites
The online resource is suitable for teaching activities in a class which has a specific knowledge of the particle structure of matter, atoms and molecule and thus of the difference between elements and compounds. It’s also important the knowledge of the meaning of chemical bond, with particular reference to the covalent bond.Through this network resource, it’s possible to develop interactive simulations, supported by simple but captivating graphics, particularly enjoyable in a class with LIM.

The contents
The resource deals with biochemistry, in particular food molecules, such as carbohydrates, fat and protein; there are also references to digestive processes and to the most important carbohydrates (glucose, starch, glycogen, cellulose) The activities proposed in this sw develop the knowledge gradually, from basic to high level.There are different sections dealing with different topics; every section is represented by a color; it’s possible to distinguish different kinds of colored sections; furthermore every section is also divided in some steps:
- Red section (1 step): food and food molecules - Orange section (7 steps): food molecules: carbohydrate, fat and proteins
- Yellow section (3 steps): building polymers from monomers
- Green section (2 steps): adding monomers: from monosaccharide to polysaccharide
- Blue section (14 steps): from a yellow hexagon to represent glucose molecule to molecular composition (atoms in the space); covalent bond and the processes of building a polysaccharide: a condensation reaction; stereochemistry: isomerism; alpha-glucose and beta-glucose; starch and cellulose
- Indigo section (7 steps): the 1-4 glycosidic bond and the 1-6 glycosidic bond; starch and glycogen
Violet section (5 steps): synthetic sugar and natural sugar

The aims
Using this resource the students improve their knowledge on biochemistry; in particular molecular structure of food molecules, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins; gradually, students are going to recognize different types of polysaccharide: starch, cellulose, glycogen; at the end they discover also the differences between synthetic and natural sugar.

Task Description
There are different types of activities:
1)Interactive games, with function of investigation on natural students’ concepts and final test too; in these cases the test provides a feed-back to underline mistakes. The students could work alone or into a small group
2)Some sections of the resource contain a virtual sheet, in which students, using virtual pens, could write their hypothesis to solve some problems, written just on the interactive page
3) Interactive simulations supporting concepts’ explanation, with a good graphic aspect

How to use it in class
This resource could be used consolidating knowledge about food molecules and their chemical structure, for 13-14 aged students; it’s possible to use it on a whiteboard, for a single student but also for a group activities.The sections from red to green could be a good teaching support in lower secondary school, while the blue, indigo and violet ones are for a higher level of school (14-15)We would like to use this one in some Italian classes to develop chemical skills using CLIL methodology. In this case is it possible to improve also English language competences.
Points of strength
Attractive graphics; simple and effective simulations; good adaptability to the LIM. The download allows you to use separately the different section, according to tha teacher’s planning.

Points of weakness
Many activities can be used ‘one way’ that is parameters can’t be modified, so their reuse allows only a form of review

Scientific reliability
Valid from a scientific point of view, the subject content are characterized by a progressive level of investigation

Pedagogic value
It’s a re source to be included in a properly planned and structured learning path, it’s a useful tool to consolidate and verify knowledge.In lower secondary school it can’t be used in the whole: the contents on the molecular structure and therefore on microscopic aspects, are difficult to approach; interesting the value of simulation as a tool fro sarin concepts.
University of Genova

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2012.10.10

Posted by Funda BALCI (Turkey)

Message: This site seems to apply methodological assumptions for teaching , it is very useful for teachers and individuals who wants to work in their homes. For the teachers, the sections are well organized. While searching for a material or an activity a teacher can choose from teaching resources or resource collections. At the top of the main page sections are divided by early years, Key Stage 2… and so on, which means that even a young student can understand and use this website. Activities are varying according to the level, for example; in the first stages mostly colorful and more active subjects are chosen according to levels. The more interesting thing is that you can find even vocational parts like alternators or capacitors for engineering profession. It also has a blog section. As blogs are currently very popular and people who like blogs can benefit from this section. The language used on this website is clear and understandable for different levels. Also it can be used as a facilitator for learning and it allows students to return back and study again for the parts on which students feel that they have weakness and revise concepts, topics that are taught at an earlier stage.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Hüseyin Miraç PEKTAŞ (Turkey)

Message: This teaching resource can be useful for a review of biochemistry lesson because students need background knowledge about the topic. Student can explore the molecular structure of food molecules. Some parts of the activity (such as indigo) are advance for lower secondary school. It is easy to follow up the activities. However there are not enough exercise to get feedback. Attractive graphics help students to visualize and understand the concept easily.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.