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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Teaching Cellular Respiration




One of the hardest topics to teach to our Biology students is cellular respiration.  It is hard to teach for several reasons:  (1) Most biology 1 students have not had chemistry.  (2) It is a very abstract concept, and is hard for many young biology students to visualize.  (3) It is a very detailed set of concepts. (Read...It ain't easy!)

I have tried to develop some tools for teaching this topic that will help the student as they proceed through the material.  One of the strategies that I have found most helpful is to give a series of short quizzes that lead up to the final unit test.

This is a set of three different quizzes on respiration. These are fairly short and are used to check for understanding before we reach “test day”. Each quiz consists of fill in the blank questions. The three documents would also make excellent homework assignments, or would provide a great study guide for your unit test.  However, you choose to use these, the student will benefit from "interacting" with the material you have taught.  The way to master respiration is practice, practice, and more practice.

Below is a synopsis of what is covered in each quiz.



Quiz #1 Includes:

  •  30 fill in the blank questions and 3 short answer question. 
  •  The importance of food/ the uses of food. 
  •  Chemical energy and ATP, structure of the ATP molecule, the conversion of ADP to ATP. 
  • The mechanism by which ATP stores and releases energy.
  • The relationship between photosynthesis and respiration, the reactants and products of photosynthesis and respiration, the use and release of energy in photosynthesis and respiration, the comparison between photosynthesis and respiration. 
  • Overview of Respiration, definition, equation for respiration, types of respiration, stages of respiration, location of each stage of respiration. 
  • Details of glycolysis, ATP use, ATP production, NADH, end products, advantages and disadvantages of glycolysis. 
  • The fate of pyruvic acid, what happens if oxygen is present, what happens if oxygen is absent.


Quiz #2 Includes:
1.  31 fill in the blank questions and 1 short answer question. 
2.  Overview of aerobic respiration, Krebs cycle, electron transport chain, differences in respiration in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, structure of the mitochondria. 
3.  The bridge reaction of the conversion of pyruvic acid to acetyl CoA; end products, NADH production, carbon dioxide release. 
4.  The Krebs cycle, ATP production, NADH production, FADH2 production, carbon dioxide release. 
5.  Summary of the Krebs cycle.







Quiz #3 Includes:
1.  28 fill in the blank questions. 
2.  The electron transport chain, definition, use of NADH and FADH2, the pumping of hydrogen protons across the membrane, ATP synthase, ATP production, the production of water. 
3.  Recap of electron transport 
4.  ATP accounting 
5.  Fermentation 
6.  Alcoholic fermentation 
7.  Lactic acid fermentation 
8.  The evolution of anaerobic and aerobic pathways.
9.  A comparison of photosynthesis and respiration.




Set of Three Cellular Respiration Quizzes

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