Overview

In this peer instruction case study, students will learn how to clone the human insulin gene into bacteria using the tools of recombinant DNA technology.

Students take on the role of molecular biologist within a pharmaceutical company. They are tasked with a gene cloning project that will allow for the creation of a transgenic E.coli strain that can produce mass amounts of the human insulin hormone.

This case study uses the flipped classroom strategy in which students will prepare for the task by watching videos, reading and performing a quiz before entering the classroom.

Within the classroom ...

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In this peer instruction case study, students will learn how to clone the human insulin gene into bacteria using the tools of recombinant DNA technology.

Students take on the role of molecular biologist within a pharmaceutical company. They are tasked with a gene cloning project that will allow for the creation of a transgenic E.coli strain that can produce mass amounts of the human insulin hormone.

This case study uses the flipped classroom strategy in which students will prepare for the task by watching videos, reading and performing a quiz before entering the classroom.

Within the classroom the students are split into groups and are posed with a series of questions that will lead them to the final production of a transgenic E.coli strain. The questions are presented as multiple choice clicker questions and short answer style. Students will be building on the fundamental steps of cloning and will learn key concepts in molecular biology.

Students will then take the concepts outside of the classroom to build a final work flow describing the entire cloning process.

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Objectives

  • To understand the entire process involved in cloning of a human gene into bacteria;
  • To familiarize students with experiments in molecular biology. This provides students with an understanding of the tools used in recombinant DNA technology (e.g., restriction endonuclease activity, plasmids, cDNA library screening/creation).

Context and requirements

Level College
Discipline Biology
Course General Biology 2
Activity Content Cloning the human insulin gene; recombinant DNA technology.
Technological Requirements Clickers/clicker pads
Best Use Case study for one class session, highlights entire cloning process.

Author’s Notes

Benefits

  • This case study illustrates the entire cloning process which is a key concept used in molecular biology;
  • By using the flipped classroom strategy, the students come to class prepared and engaged.

Challenges

  • Students get overwhelmed when faced with the multiple choice clicker questions.

Tips

  • The case study does not have to be presented in a linear fashion, instructors can go back and forth throughout the study;
  • Instructors can also have the students check each other’s work throughout this case study (e.g, drawing the plasmid map, the students can check each other’s drawings).

Activity Pedagogical Components

CASE STUDY

For a description of this strategy, please see here

FLIPPED CLASSROOM

For a description of this strategy, please see here.

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