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Integrating 3D Molecular Modeling into Classrooms: Examples and Professional Development

With the Digital Revolution and proliferation of technology in the classroom, the way students can interact with and learn scientific concepts has expanded. Using dynamic, interactive software to teach scientific principles can enhance students’ engagement and give educators flexibility with their curriculum. We will present ways that Schrödinger has used Maestro, a user-friendly computational molecular modeling interface, to teach chemistry and biology concepts in middle school, high school, and undergraduate classroom settings. The 3D and highly-visual aspects of Maestro can allow students to more tangibly explore difficult concepts such as molecular conformations and protein structure. Computational molecular modeling also increases the scope of laboratory applications, particularly at institutions that do not have wet lab space or for experiments that are challenging for financial or safety reasons. Giving students the opportunity to learn from industry-leading technology may inspire them to pursue careers in scientific research.

During this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to navigate Maestro, the graphical user interface for Schrödinger’s software. We will then go through some example lesson plans that have been created for use with a version of Maestro that is free for educators. Next, you will be paired up to create your own bespoke lesson plan for your students with assistance from Schrödinger experts. These lesson plans can be made available to educators world-wide and opens the opportunity for cross-cultural collaboration among classrooms.

We will also present an online course that can be a professional development resource for educators who would like to learn more about computational molecular design. This online course takes ~25 hours to complete over five weeks and is run asynchronously using active learning to teach both the use of the software platform and concepts behind its application. This workshop will conclude with an open discussion about ideas for lessons and implementation in a classroom setting.

High School
Undergraduate Education
Curriculum and Cognition
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