Integration of Bioinformatics into Inquiry Based Learning - Hinsdale ...


Oct 4, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)


Integration of

Bioinformatics into

Inquiry Based Learning

by Kathleen Gabric

The Biology WorkBench is a revolutionary
based tool for biologists. The
WorkBench allows biologists to search
protein and DNA databases around the
world. Database searching is integrated with
access to a wide variety of analysis and
modeling tools, all within a point and click


The use of mathematical and informational
techniques to solve biological problems by using
computer programs. One of the main applications of
bioinformatics is the data mining in and analysis of
the data gathered in genome projects. Other
applications are amino acid and nucleic acid
sequence alignment, protein structure prediction, and
virtual evolution.

Science Inquiry

The science and education communities agree
that investigative science is a highly effective
way to teach science. In this way, students build
their scientific understanding and investigative
skills through active inquiry, connecting their
previous knowledge with new ideas and






Students learn about the Human Genome
project by using real data from Argonne

Dr. Kay, a father of a District 86 student, is
the contributing scientist.

DNA Sequence

Sequencing DNA

Lorenzo’s Oil

Students take a real DNA sequence and
translate it into the amino acid sequence
using Biology Student Workbench

Students then mutate the original DNA
sequence in different ways and translate
each mutation

Finally students compare the original
protein to mutated variations

Lorenzo’s Oil

As a result, students learn about
, nonsense, and silent mutations
through a hands on activity

In their own explanations of what happens
to the protein they use words like
substitution, deletion, addition, and

, early stop

Basis of Human Genetic Diseases

Students identified genes that were linked to human
disease states.

Students used bioinformatic

tools to identify the disease

process from gene to protein

to disease state.

Students created a website to

display their research.

Student Projects on
Genetic Diseases

Outcomes & Observations

Understood the basis of human genetic

Connected symptoms to biochemical imbalance

Predicted means of treatment

Understood the difference between treatment of
symptoms and curing the disease

Realized the power of bioinformatics and how
they could use it in future research……Evolution

Student Projects on

Outcomes & Observations

Understood the basis of evolution on a genetic

Correlated genetic evolution to organismal

Realized that “our”

similarities are greater

than our differences.

Overall Outcomes and Observations

Integration of bioinformatics into the
high school classroom using inquiry
methods was successful.

Students were able to use the tools to
generate real data, but more
importantly were able to apply these
applications and independently
problem solve.

Students showed a greatly increased ability to make connections
between units of study: protein structure, protein function,
nucleic acids, genetics, genetic disease, and evolution.

Students performed research that will be used to guide future
research in UIUC’s cell & molecular biology laboratory.

Student Comments on Biology Workbench

Even though it was quite confusing at times, Bio
Workbench was highly
beneficial to our learning experience. It was interesting to use the same
computers that real scientists used to do their research. The using of
bioinformatics was key in the expansion of our minds.

It helped us get more involved with the concepts we were learning since it
made everything more realistic

It helped save time and make information clearer to me. it also gave me
visuals for things that I wouldn’t have been able to picture from just
reading about, it helped me understand amino acid sequences a lot.

It has allowed us to connect DNA to real life. We are able to see how little
a change in DNA how great a change they could have upon the final

Thanks to
my hardworking


To see the projects they have done with bioinformatics visit our website