SCIENCE SIMULATIONS

Simulations are a great way to learn scientific concepts. Here are some simulations that look at various biological processes. They have been developed by scientists with deep knowledge of those processes (http://phet.colorado.edu/). You do not need any prior knowledge of those processes to use the animations. Indeed, it is better to learn about the concepts by playing the simulations (just like learning to play a new video game). Once you have an idea of the underlying principles, you can explore the topic in greater depth yourself through reading books, science websites or by talking to people who are familiar with these concepts. After that, you should return to the simulations and see if your understanding has increased.

Note: when you click on the figure, it will download the application to your computer (a Java file). You'll need to install the file on your desktop. Alternatively, you can tey the simulation online here.



Membrane transport

The following activity allows you to examine the essential features of molecular transport across biological membranes.


Main Topics

  • Membrane Channels
  • Cell Membrane
  • Diffusion

Sample Learning Goals

  • Predict when particles will move through the membrane and when they will not.
  • Identify which particle type will diffuse depending on which type of channels are present.
  • Predict the rate of diffusion based on the number and type of channels present.

Click to Run



The lac operon


The following activity examines the basic principles of an inducible operon. An operon is anarrangementof genes and their regulatory elements in bacterial genomes, so that the genes that function in a metabolic pathway are regulated coordinately (that is, turned on or off together).


Main Topics

  • Gene Regulation
  • Genes
  • Cellular Metabolism
  • Cells

Sample Learning Goals

  • Predict the effects on lactose metabolism when the various genes and DNA control elements are mutated (added or removed).
  • Predict the effects on lactose metabolism when the concentration of lactose is changed.
  • Explain the roles of LacI, LacZ, and LacY in lactose regulation.

Click to Run



Natural selection


This activity explores the basic principles of natural selection, which is the major driving forcebehindbiological evolution.


Main Topics

  • Natural Selection
  • Evolution
  • Genetics

Click to Run



Neurons


This activity looks at the role of ionic flux and the generation of an action potential (a nerve impulse) in neurons.
Main Topics

  • Biology
  • Cells

Sample Learning Goals

  • Describe why ions can or cannot move across neuron membranes.
  • Identify leakage and gated channels, and describe the function of each.
  • Describe how membrane permeability changes in terms of different types of channels in a neuron.
  • Describe the sequence of events that generates an action potential.

Click to Run

sham.nair@mq.edu.au
shamnair@gmail.com

Sham Nair 2014