The stimulus response model can allude some students for the inability to have a hands-on experience. Under the microscope we see cells as having a nucleus and a dark circular shape because it is very dense, while the membrane is seen because it refracts light. Otherwise, organelles and the cytoskeleton are not seen without staining, not to mention proteins, other molecules and ions.
This four-module sequence is an attempt to present a contextualised inquiry based unit that links the research of a contemporary team of scientists for cell signalling to be explored in. There are four opportunities to explore intra cell-signalling while module 4 allows students to study the inter-cellular, cell-cell and tissue-tissue systems.
Drama is used in an explain and elaborate phase as a bodily-kinaesthetic teaching pedagogy. Other activities involve exploring the wide world of science and technology investigating types of therapies and immunofluorescence. Personal stories are linked into engage parts of lessons and, think-pair-share and whole class brain storms are encouraged to explore students’ funds of knowledge in addition to their imagination. One of the difficulties in developing this resource and I think is a criticism of the VCE Biology Curriculum, is that due to the amount of assessable content to be taught in the lesson time available in year 12, contextualised learning experiences where authentic explorative and elaborative activities are used as a pedagogy must be constrained.
The modules are inquiry based and based on constructivist learning principles within the 5E constructivist pedagogical model developed by the Australian Academy of Science (AAS). Module 1 sets the context, module 2 and 3 explore the stimulus response model and module 4 explores cellular signalling.
Sequence 1: Intra-cellular communication
Module 1: What is metastatic breast cancer?
Module 2: How do we treat metastatic breast cancer?
Module 3: The stimulus response model
Module 4: Cell signalling molecules
Links to the Victorian Curriculum
VCE Biology (2017-2021), Unit 3: How do cells maintain life, Area of Study 2, Outcome 2: How do cells communicate?
The sources and mode of transmission of various signalling molecules to their target cell, including plant and animal hormones, neurotransmitters, cytokines and pheromones
The stimulus-response model when applied to the cell in terms of signal transduction as a three-step process involving reception, transduction and cellular response
Difference in signal transduction for hydrophilic and hydrophobic signals in terms of the position of receptors (on the membrane and in the cytosol) and initiation of transduction (details of specific chemicals, names of second messengers, G protein pathways, reaction mechanisms or cascade reactions are not required)
Professor Leigh Ackland tells us her story and about her research on metastatic Breast Cancer
Ackland, M.L., Newgreen, D.F., Fridman, M., Waltham, M.C., Arvanitis, A., Minichiello, J., Price, J.T. and Thompson, E.W., 2003. Epidermal growth factor-induced epithelio-mesenchymal transition in human breast carcinoma cells. Laboratory investigation, 83(3), pp.435-448.
Vogel, W. H. (2015). Analogies in Oncology: Explanations Made Easier. Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology, 6(2), 173–176.
Thanks to the following for contributing to the development of these sequences:
Prof Ackland is a member of the Australian Society for Medical Research, and on the Cancer Council Victoria, Medical and Scientific Committee. She has been involved in the Australian Synchrotron Access Program to acquire funding for research utilizing a number of beamlines X-ray fluorescence and the imaging and medical beamline. Her work in the field of cancer includes the development of a cell culture model for the study of breast cancer. This model has contributed to understanding the process of breast cancer metastasis termed “epithelial to mesenchymal transition”. The human cell culture cancer model developed at Deakin University in her laboratory was the first to demonstrate plasticity in response to challenge with environmental factors. The cancer model has subsequently had wide application for investigations into cancer pathways and the mechanisms that contribute to carcinogenic changes. Professor Ackland supervises PhD students and is involved in the undergraduate teaching of cell biology and the molecular basis of disease in the biological science and biomedical courses. Full profile
Dr. Peta White Lecturer in Science and Environmental Education at Deakin University (Education Academic and Project Coordinator)