We’re working our way through the major kinds of macromolecules in my Intro Cell Biology class — Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins, Nucleic Acids. Today I taught on the composition and structure of proteins. I really like the topic because it’s a chance to bring in so many of the concepts we’ve already discussed, like hydrogen bonding, polar vs. non-polar molecules, etc.
It’s also a topic that has been taught thousands of times before. A quick search on YouTube reveals hundreds of short videos, some of which are quite good, covering the same material. Yet there we were, talking about the same things: amino acids and peptide bonds, tertiary structure and protein folding. Why?
As best as I can tell, it’s because there we were, all together, all thinking about the same thing at the same time in the same place. Some of us understand more about it than others. Some have questions about it. But we all had made a commitment to be there with each other with the shared purpose of learning about proteins today. And I think it worked.