3D Printing and Education

3D Models help students better understand DNA behavior

    A group of researchers from the university of Nebraska discussed the importance of using three-dimensional models to help students. The researchers point out that teachers often rely on two-dimensional images to teach complex three-dimensional concepts, such as the structure of molecules. But students cannot fully grasp concepts from using two-dimensional images. Kits with 3D models are used for educational purposes, but they “cannot handle the size and detail of large molecules”. However, 3D printing allows teachers to create detailed custom models of molecules of any size.

    “For example, protein models can be designed to link the structure of enzyme activity sites to kinetic activity.” The researchers said. “In addition, teachers can use a variety of printed materials and accessories to demonstrate molecular properties, dynamics and interactions.” In this paper, the researchers describe creating a 3D model-based DNA hyperhelix course for undergraduate biology classes. They chose this particular model so that students could “feel the relaxation of DNA and witness the properties caused by its distortion.” They designed 3d-printed flexible plastic models with magnetic ends that mimic DNA superspirals. “We developed an interactive qualtrics-based activity to help students use these models to classify superhelix DNA, predict the effect of DNA entangling nucleosomes, and distinguish topoisomerase activity.” The researchers explained.

    An advanced undergraduate biochemistry course is divided into groups of two or three to promote peer learning, with each group providing a model set. These models are also available at the library resource center. Interactive questions require students to measure and explore the physical aspects of the model. It took the students about 50 minutes to complete the activity, with presentations and presentations interspersed with Numbers. In interviews after the event, students reported that the models helped them learn because “actually seeing it makes abstract things very real.” In one survey, 60 to 70 percent of students said the physics model made learning material easier. Teaching is easier.

      The researchers continue to provide step-by-step instructions for creating 3D printed models for use in the classroom. They explained that they designed the model around the students’ difficulties and that the model proved effective in eliminating these difficulties. The study reaffirms what many researchers and education professionals have learned – that 3D printed models are an excellent way to teach students of any age. From preschoolers learning about shapes and textures to college students learning about the DNA superhelix, having practical models helps make concepts real and accessible.

      3D printing is an economical and efficient way to create these models, which can present details in a way that no other manufacturing method can. 3 d printing represents an emerging technology, it allows students to explore the macromolecular structure – function relationship between physics and molecular dynamics and interaction, with the great potential of life science education, with the development of the technology, the cost of 3 dp, resolution, intensity, material selection and convenience will be improved, the 3 d model become a teaching tool easier to use.