Two free interactive platforms that teachers can use to help students learn about molecular biology have been developed by researchers at Imperial College London and will be showcased at Bett19.
A free web-based molecular imaging program, EzMol brings to life the complex three-dimensional shape of proteins and nucleic acids. Via the EzMol web site, students can upload the structure of a molecule, choose a view, interactively select and colour the regions of interest, and then save images to use in essays.
EzMol also has a schools portal, which links its graphics to a quiz about the structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids.
BioBlox2D is a mobile game based on docking shapes, jointly developed by Imperial and Goldsmiths, University of London. This Tetris-like game is inspired by how biological molecules work, recognising one another in terms of both their shape and electric charge. In the game the player has to manipulate small fragments into a target, matching not only shapes but also complementary red and blue colours, which represent negative and positive charges.
As the game progresses players score points and win bioblox coins. To progress through the levels, players have to answer a biology-based quiz.
BioBlox2D is free to download from the App store and Google Play.
The two new resources will be promoted at the Bett Educational Show in London 23-26 January 2019, where Imperial and Goldsmiths will be demonstrating the benefits of EzMol and BioBlox for education in schools.