Using 3D printed physical models to monitor knowledge integration in biochemistry†
Noncovalent interactions determine the three-dimensional structure of macromolecules and the binding interactions between molecules. Students struggle to understand noncovalent interactions and how they relate to structure–function relationships. Additionally, students’ difficulties translating from two-dimensional representations to three-dimensional representations add another layer of complexity found in macromolecules. Therefore, we developed instructional resources that use 3D physical models to target student understanding of noncovalent interactions of small molecules and macromolecules. To this effect, we monitored indicators of knowledge integration as evidenced in student-generated drawings. Analysis of the drawings revealed that students were able to incorporate relevant conceptual features into their drawings from different sources as well as present their understanding from different perspectives.