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Methods Cell Biol. 2012;109:411-30. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385967-9.00016-5.

Tetrahymena in the classroom.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO 65897, USA.


Tetrahymena has been a useful model in basic research in part due to the fact it is easy to grow in culture and exhibits a range of complex processes, all within a single cell. For these same reasons Tetrahymena has shown enormous potential as a teaching tool for fundamental principles of biology at multiple science education levels that can be integrated into K-12 classrooms and undergraduate and graduate college laboratory courses. These Tetrahymena-based teaching modules are inquiry-based experiences that are also effective at teaching scientific concepts, retaining students in science, and exciting students about the scientific process. Two learning communities have been developed that utilize Tetrahymena-based teaching modules. Advancing Secondary Science Education with Tetrahymena (ASSET) and the Ciliate Genomics Consortium (CGC) have developed modules for K-12 students and college-level curriculums, respectively. These modules range from addressing topics in ecology, taxonomy, and environmental toxicity to more advanced concepts in biochemistry, proteomics, bioinformatics, cell biology, and molecular biology. An overview of the current modules and their learning outcomes are discussed, as are assessment, dissemination, and sustainability strategies for K-12 and college-level curriculum.

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