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Peer Review

Biologica: a systems approach to learning science



Overall Numeric Rating:

3.75 stars
Content Quality: 3.5 stars
Effectiveness: 3.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Oct 11, 2013 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: Biologica offers interactive features that encourages independent inquiry and scientific reasoning. There is an interactive 3D model component to show cell structure and function as well as DNA molecular structure. Fun Genetics activities which explores the relationship between genotype, phenotype, with sex-linked and autosomal dominant & recessive pairs. Mendel's Peas: has 3 parts to the activity. They demonstrate basic principles of meiosis, fertilization, and inheritance using Mendel's peas.
Type of Material: Interactive tutorial
Recommended Uses: Review before an exam or to understand concepts behind
Technical Requirements: Quick TIme 3 or 4 required
Identify Major Learning Goals: 1. Learn about phenotype, genotype and ratios of punnent squares using peas and dragons. 2. See how the parts of the cell interact with each other and what the cell looks like as a 3-D structure 3. Understand the relationship between Parents, F1 and F2 with a clear understanding of genotype and phenotype
Target Student Population: Middle school, high school or basic biology class
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Genetics, cell biology

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.5 stars

  • Good interactive animations. Students can manipulate genotypes of dragons and observe impact on phenotype, and cross peas.
  • There is a good moveable 3D image of a cell.
  • Great graphic and a fun design. Its powerful to have the activity correct you as you make the mistake vs at the end. Part's of the cell in 3D allows the user to understand the flow of genetic information easier Makes learning fun

  • While the students can change the genotype of dragons and observe the impact on their phenotype, the exercise seems to be a dead end. Mating the dragons and looking at their offspring would be a nice addition.
  • The movie of the cell has some mistakes, the endoplasmic reticulum membrane is contiguous with the nucleus and vesicles between the Golgi and ER also move along cytoskeleton.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3.25 stars

  • Students can manipulate genotypes and observe the impact on phenotypes and perform crosses.
  • Easy to understand the differences between phenotype and genotype Clearly shows the parts of the cell and their relationship to one another for the flow of genetic information Makes sex linked easier to visualize and understand

  • While learning the link between genotype and phenotype was interesting, there wasn't any follow-up assessment to see if students really understood what they were doing, or just randomly changed alleles.
  • No built in assessment of higher order thinking skills.
  • The animation of the cell didn't seem to have any purpose. It was neat to be able to move the image, but it wasn't clear what students were supposed to learn from the activity.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars

  • Easy to use an navigate.
  • Good graphics.

  • Some pages loaded slowly, and it wasn't always clear when you were done with a unit.