At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Biology

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP


  • General Biology II

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Solving problems
  • Reading
  • Taking a quiz & test

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Clicker System
  • Interactive Whiteboard


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building
  • Assessment & knowledge refinement


In this case study students will explore the components of cell signalling and gain a better understanding of receptors and how researchers build a model using acquired data. The study explores the cnidarian andregenic receptor (AR); a class of G-protein coupled receptors which bind adrenaline and cause a cell signal transduction cascade in the cell.

Instructors can use the flipped classroom strategy and provide the students with videos, assigned readings and a quiz before they enter the classroom. The instructor can also use just in time teaching (JITT) by using the quiz results to alter the in-class material. Within the classroom the students are split into groups and complete an assignment on andregenic receptors. The assignment will be followed by some multiple choice clicker questions. The instructor can allow the students to re-take the clicker quiz as a group, allowing for peer instruction. This case study also has an optional activity which utilizes a smart board. The optional assignment has the cellular components out of order allowing the students to place the components were they belong on the cell membrane.

Instructional Objectives

  • Outline how cells communicate by describing the 5 main sequences of events essential for cell-cell
  • Compare the 3 types of cell signaling that exist in multicellular organisms
  • Name the type of molecules involved in recognizing and binding chemical signals and outline the mechanism that makes this reception a highly specific process
  • Compare the 2 types of receptors that are classified based on location in the cell
  • Compare the 3 types of transmembrane receptors in terms of mode of action
  • Define signal transduction, signal amplification, and second messenger
  • Using diagrams, outline the sequence of events in signal transduction pathways involving a phosphorylation cascade and the production of second messengers
  • Outline the 3 general types of changes that cells generate as responses to chemical signals
  • Describe 3 mechanisms by which cells regulate and/or terminate responses to chemical signals
  • Describe the 2 types of direct intercellular communication that occur in animal and plant cells

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Edward Awad

Edward Awad

Vanier College, Montreal

  • This case study helps in re-inforcing what the students have learned about a G-protein coupled receptor;
  • They will also gain an understanding on how researchers learn about a system based on data and are able to build a model.
  • Students get overwhelmed when faced with the multiple choice clicker questions;
  • The students struggle with translating numbers/data into different components of a system.
  • The instructor should provide a lot of feedback and guidance during this activity since students have issue with translating the data into a model.

Applied Strategies


Leave a comment! Activities get better when we receive feedback and understand how they might be adapted and reused. Please let us know what you think after using this Activity, or if you have questions about how it might be used differently.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *