Module 2 Assignment: Chemistry in Biology

Open Pedagogy Assignments are assignments in which students use their agency and creativity to create knowledge artifacts that can support their own learning, their classmates’ learning, and the learning of students around the world. (See this peer-reviewed article for more details.) The assignment on this page is aligned to a learning outcome of Biology for Non-Majors I and we’ve identified the module where the reading appears. The assignment can be created with basic web and computing tools, a cell phone camera or any video recording device, Google or Word documents, and your learning management system. 

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the principles of chemistry that are integral to biology.

In the module on Chemistry, we provide a general overview of how the principles of chemistry form the basis of biology. For this assignment, you are going to reflect upon which concept(s) in this module were most difficult for you to learn.

The product of your work will help future students to learn about some of the most difficult concepts in the course. Thus, think of your audience as friends who are taking Biology for Nonmajors in the next term. You want to help them understand a concept in the course that was particularly difficult for you.

First, identify a concept from this module that you struggled to learn regarding the basic principles of chemistry in biology. Review the content in the module and anything further you learned in class. Then, think of how you would explain the concept in your own words to a friend who is also taking the course. Keep these questions in mind:

  • What was missing when you first tried to grasp the concept? In other words, did you have to read something twice?
  • How could things have been phrased or framed differently? In other words, did you look up a word or concept to understand it?
  • How would you rewrite an example or how the concept was presented?

Second, using your cell phone or any other recording device, create a short video explaining the topic in your own words. You don’t have to edit or create a professional-grade film. You’ve most likely have done this type of recording already on social media, so feel free to use the same informal conversational tone. Use additional images or tips that would have been helpful for you.

Lastly, share the video with your instructor. After grading and with your permission, your video may appear in future sections of the course to improve other students’ learning.

A Note To Teachers: The first time your students complete this assignment, choose the best ones and ask students for permission to include them in future sections. Just post the videos in the appropriate module in the LMS. The idea is to have students generate content that other students can learn from in this assignment.