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Teaching the biological relevance of chemical kinetics using cold-blooded animal biology

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This lesson plan was created to support non-chemistry major students in making connections between chemical kinetics and biological systems. Chemical kinetics is often viewed by students as an abstract topic, and one that is limited only to chemical reactions that occur in a laboratory. The subtopics of chemical kinetics can be challenging for students to apply in a different context, and students often learn the topic as remote tidbits of knowledge without a clear indication of its application. The lesson involves an activity utilizing real-life case studies with biological applications of chemical kinetics to enhance student understanding and improve interest and engagement in the topic. The case studies detail the immobilization of cold-blooded animals at very low temperatures and enlightens students about the unfortunate situation that iguanas and sea turtles faced as consequences of a particularly cold spell in in Florida during winter 2018. This activity allows students to view chemical kinetics in a new light and to brainstorm on methods to solve such problems faced in real-life.

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