The classical leech neurophysiology lab comes to life in this laboratory simulation. It includes simulations of leech dissection, intracellular recording and sensory physiology. Students are provided a well-organized set of laboratory notes, a glossary, and explanations. The site provides background information on basic neurophysiology and emphasizes the importance of using model systems like the leech to understand neuron/brain function.
Type of Material:
To complement or replace the classic leech neurophysiology lab.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To give students an overview of how single cell neurophysiology is done and its importance to neuroscience.
Target Student Population:
Upper division undergraduates and perhaps graduate students
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Understanding of basic neurophysiology, cell structure and dissection.
This simulation is very close to doing the real thing.
The text is well written, clearly laid out and is coordinated with the simulation.
The action potentials appearing on the "oscilloscope" is appealing. However, alternative colors should be used so they are easier to see.
The sound effects are nice.
It would be helpful to tell what the T, P, N, etc. cells do in vivo. Emphasizing their role in the leech would make a nice connection between sensory neurons and behavior.
Cells filled with dye were difficult to see, particularly the axons and dendrites. This makes the relationship of cellular anatomy with neurophysiology and behavior less clear.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site is fun and interactive. It can be used in conjuction with a leech neurophysiology lab, as a stand alone lab for schools with limited laboratory equipment or in courses where students are not taking a laboratory.
This site is an excellent supplement to lectures on the leech or identified cells in neural circuits.
The user can manipulate the frames so that either text or graphics are hidden. At first this may be a concern, but after getting used to how it works, there is potential of using one or the other in various teaching settings.
The tendency of the screen to split and hide each other, may hinder the effectiveness for the casual user (however, see the above comment under "Strengths").
The background material is at too high a level for high school students, but may be at too low a level for undergraduate and graduate neurophysiology students.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is well laid out, easy to use and fairly intuitive. Text directions are few,
but buttons seem easy to follow.
There are step-by-step "lab notes" instructions to allow easy progress through the module.
The site includes a "Technical Requirements" button that assists in assuring hardware and software compatiabilities. Links to download the necessary software are provided.
Students get to manipulate the instruments and equipment on the screen.
The cell anatomy component could be improved.
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.