AP Biology students enjoy cell organelle speed dating
Dating comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day. Wayne County High School Advanced Placement Biology/College Dual Credit students in Kelly Brown’s class have already experienced the dating scene in their lab with tables set up for two, complete with centerpieces, earlier this school year.
What looked like a romantic date turned out to be a clever speed dating activity to learn the organelles of a cell. An organelle is a subcellular structure that has one or more specific jobs to perform in the cell, much like an organ does in the body. Students described it as a fun and interactive way to learn them. “It was a fun and silly project, but we can learn a lot more when we are happy and interested,” said Wayne County High School Junior Stephanie Massengale.
Part of the assignment had been to create a dating profile for their assigned organelle. Once students created their profile, they had the opportunity to “date” other organelles and share a little bit of information about themselves. The conversations between the two organelles included information like where they were from, their job, and other thing that they liked to do…inside the cell. This assignment provided students with a fun and creative way to learn about the many different organelles. As students rotated around the room switching partners every few minutes they got to switch dates frequently. They started their dates by presenting their pick-up lines like, “I can divide cells but I can’t divide my attention to you.” Or “You must be the one for me, since my selectively permeable membrane lets you through.”
Students referred to their dating profiles to guide them through their dating conversations in the classroom. Their online outlines were skillfully written referencing the scientific jargon they had mastered in a comedic fashion. They also used graphics and photos pulled in to make the assignment more appealing.
When asked what they bring to the relationship, one student who was playing the role of the selectively permeable membrane, or the “nurse” of the cell said, “I act as a barrier and protect the cell from toxic substances both on the inside and the outside. I keep the cell stable by controlling the substance movement across the cell membrane. I also have receptors and channels to help manage the substances entering and leaving the cell.”
Another student, playing the role of cytoskeleton or a “physical therapist” of the cell responded, “In a relationship, I can offer great motivation to get up and move. I’ll even help you move your cell or divide!”
One of the students talked about their personality which was made of three filaments: action filaments, microtubules, and intermediate filaments. “They’re all made of proteins from the ribosome.”
The high school students brought the unique lesson to life, learned to ‘talk the talk’, and nailed the concepts their teacher was trying to get across to them. It was a memorable day at school.
Cell Organelle Speed Dating in Action-
Students in Kelly Brown's class go speed dating to learn about cell organelles
(l-r) Jacob Haynes and Jenna Morrow having a conversation
Alexandria Chruma and Christopher Atkins on their speed date
(l-r)Stephania Massengale and Kamryn Hancock learning about each other
Students had fun learning about cell organelles while speed dating