EDUCATION: Biology Class Gets Wired

Science  13 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5660, pp. 935
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5660.935d

A noxious Escherichia coli bacterium nestles onto a patch of intestinal lining carpeted with microvilli. The image comes from an animation portraying how the bug coerces an intestinal cell into building it a comfy resting place. Watch the flick at BioInteractive, an online teaching trove packed with activities, videos, and other goodies from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Aimed at high school level and up, BioInteractive is organized around lectures by HHMI investigators that explore genetics, molecular biology, immunology, and other biomedical fields. More than 20 animations illustrate topics such as the mechanics of hearing, shown by the response of different portions of a membrane in the inner ear to notes in a Bach piece. In the virtual lab, students can measure the electrical activity of a leech's neurons and run a diagnostic test for bacterial infection; a set of interactive primers includes a lesson on gender testing of athletes. The site's online museum offers exhibits on everything from biological clocks to the discovery of pathogens. Teachers can download lesson plans or order free DVDs.

http://www.biointeractive.org/

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