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Making “sense” out of surface area to volume relationships

Author(s): Jenise Marie Snyder

Ursuline College

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Summary:
Using a multimodal approach, the non-linear aspect of the surface area to volume relationship is explored. Students use their their senses of taste and sight to determine how smaller cells and larger cells differ. Quantitative examples are…

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Using a multimodal approach, the non-linear aspect of the surface area to volume relationship is explored. Students use their their senses of taste and sight to determine how smaller cells and larger cells differ. Quantitative examples are explored. Concepts of structure and function Examples along the biological hierarchy are provided.

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Version 1.0 - published on 28 Mar 2023 doi:10.25334/QW67-ZS42 - cite this

Description

Using a multimodal approach, students will explore the non-linear aspect of the surface area to volume relationship in a general biology course.  Using their senses of taste and/or sight with different size candies that are coated (i.e. Reese’s Peanut Butter cups), student will determine how smaller cells and larger cells differ in these relationships.  Students will identify the major ingredients as representing either surface area or volume, and identify their preference for small or large candies based on their size.   In small groups, small and large circular cell areas and volumes will be calculated and relationships will be established.  Cellular structures related to surface area (membrane) and the cell volumes (organelles) will be reviewed as well as the importance of being small.  Concepts of multicellularity will be discussed. Examples along the biological hierarchy are provided and the relationship between structure and function will be discussed.

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