Tips for Makeup Labs

I don’t know about you, but I love labs- until the next morning when I realize that I have 10 students who were absent for lab day. Though I wouldn’t say that I love doing lab makeups, I no longer dread them after implementing some simple techniques.

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I’ve compiled some tips to help ensure that lab makeups go as smoothly as possible- and so that you aren’t tempted to do a “fermentation” lab on the side- wink, wink.

Tips for lab makeups (and your sanity):
1. Do not put all lab materials away for at least another 2 weeks after the lab is performed in class. Keep the lab materials tidy, but easily accessible.

2. A policy in which students can drop their lowest lab grade gives them the option not to makeup the lab, and they can drop the zero should there be any rescheduling conflicts.

3. Have lab makeups on one designated day of the week so that all students who need a lab makeup come at the same time- one and DONE!

4. If the lab is simplistic in nature, you can opt to have them do an alternative version of the makeup online.

5. Ask that the student bring along a friend to the lab makeup who has already completed the lab in class so that they can help out.

6. Students who need extra help after school should not come on the same day as the students who are after school for the lab makeup. The lab makeup should be your main focus.

Lastly… one further piece of advice for time-sensitive labs: lab makeups need not be offered once the students have been tested on the subject. This is a good one to tie into #2 should you choose to adopt this policy. 

Use these tips to help save your sanity- and your time!
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Tips for Teaching the Sodium Potassium Pump

I had always felt that there were limited resources on the sodium potassium pump. The Na+/K+ pump is an important little protein that is the pinnacle of “active transport”- though endocytosis and exocytosis are important cell functions, it’s also important for students to know that transport proteins may also require the use of ATP. Otherwise, students may falsely make the distinction that proteins= facilitated diffusion.  Sometimes if students do not understand something, they may dismiss it or form misconceptions.

The sodium potassium pump in particular needs to be presented in such a way that shows how it changes its shape and that it pumps 3 Na+ out and 2 K+ inside.  Typically, I’d show my students a video or two, talk about the sodium potassium pump a bit, and call it a day. However,  I didn’t have any valuable resources that the students could carry with them, so I decided to create a coloring and analysis activity:

Sodium Potassium Pump by Biology Roots

(This is available for purchase this here).

The coloring activity is great for such a visual concept.  The resource also contains an analysis page with 8-10 questions or fill-ins depending on which version- there are  three differentiated versions that are suitable for high school, middle school, or an advanced anatomy class (which need to know resting potential vs. action potential). I like having these handy because as you know your classes can change every year!

Here are some other resources I’ve used to help teach the sodium potassium pump:

Penn State Cell Transport– nice clear diagrams and written descriptions of all types of cell transport including the sodium potassium pump.

Khan Academy- The Sodium Potassium Pump (he goes into resting and action potential towards the end- also a couple of times he says  sodium instead of potassium- no judgement here- but, it might be a good idea to preview beforehand to make sure that his bloops won’t interfere with your kids’ learning styles).

Animation- how the sodium potassium pump works

A step-by-step animation of the sodium potassium pump (with option to remove audio).

I also offering coloring pages for endocytosis and exocytosis, passive transport, and hypertonic/hypotonic/isotonic environments.

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