Research & The Scientific Process:
Can Humans Grow A New Heart? A Cell Division Assay
We are in constant interaction with our environment. We eat, we breathe, and we participate in activities. We are able to think in complex ways that enable us to ask questions about the world around us. Why is grass green? Why is the sky blue? Why do items fall to Earth? How do red blood cells transport oxygen? What happens to the body if we replace oxygen with carbon monoxide? We can structure the questions we have about our world in a way in which we can test our assumptions about the answers. This is called the scientific process.
The NGSS now incorporate the scientific method. They are now organized, systematic, and reflective of the authentic way that scientists and engineers work. The practices help us to answer the “why,” “how,” “what,” “when,” “who,” “which,” and “where” questions we have about the world. We are searching for cause and effect relationships. Let’s take a look at the steps of the scientific process:
The main concepts of this Module are:
- Heart tissue is replaced by scar tissue instead of new tissue because heart cells do not undergo mitosis in adulthood. This scarring prevents the heart muscle from pumping effectively.
- The exploration and production of a scientific experiment to explore angiogenesis.
- Growth factors are chemicals that might be given off by damaged cells to induce healthy cells to divide and make more cells.
- Basic experimental design (Scientific Method)
- A spectrophotometer is used to measure light absorbance and transmittance
- Use of the metric system (this is the standard in all the sciences internationally)
- Writing up a basic experiment using an experimental design diagram
Student Learning Outcomes:
After completing Module 4, students who demonstrate understanding can:
- Ask questions:
- to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables.
- to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem.
- Evaluate a question to determine if it is testable and relevant.
- Ask and/or evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set, or the suitability of a design.
- Evaluate merits and limitations of two different growth factors in order to select a model that best fits evidence for angiogenesis.
- Using yeast cells as a model for cardiomyocytes, generate data to support explanations, analyze systems, and solve problems related to the regeneration of new cardiac muscle cells.
- Plan and complete an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence as part of building and revising models, and testing solutions to problems. Consider possible confounding variables or effects and evaluate the investigation’s design to ensure variables are controlled.
- Make directional hypotheses that specify what happens to cell growth when growth factor type and temperature are manipulated.
- Consider limitations of data analysis (e.g., measurement error, sample selection) when analyzing and interpreting data.
- Use mathematical and algorithmic representations of phenomena by creating and analyzing an absorbance vs. time graph to support claims about which environment best suits angiogenesis.
- Apply techniques of algebra and functions to represent and solve scientific and engineering problems.
- Make quantitative and qualitative claims regarding the relationship between dependent (cell growth) and independent variables (time, temperature, type of growth factor).
- Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and models to link evidence to the efficacy of cell regeneration to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion.
- Design, evaluate, and refine a solution to a complex real-world problem (the generation of new cardiac muscle cells after severe tissue damage), based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.
- Compare, integrate and evaluate sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a scientific question or solve a problem.