Authors: GEORGIOS CHATZIGEORGIOU, biology teacher, 2nd General Lyceum of Oreokastro, Greece, ALEXANDROS TERZOPOULOS, Mentor
We would like to express our utmost gratitude to Ms Konstantina Sarantavga, Principal of the 2nd General Lyceum of Oraiokastro, for her continuous help and support in implementing the STEM activity in our school.
General overview of enzymes
Enzymes are proteins capable of catalysing biochemical reactions in living organisms. As biocatalysts, they accelerate such reactions by lowering the activation energy thereof. Enzymes possess a varying degree of specialisation with respect to the reactants (substrates) of the reactions they catalyse; for their action, the binding of the substrate to the region of the protein known as the active site is required (in a lock-and-key manner). The velocity of enzymatic reactions is affected by temperature, substrate and enzyme concentration, binding affinity, pH etc. The enzyme function may be halted or increased by the presence of various substances (e.g. inhibitors, activators, allosteric effectors). Inhibition may be reversible or non-reversible.
Relevance to school curriculum-Benefits of our approach
The subject and encompassed disciplines are part of the curriculum for the General Orientation Biology course mandatorily taught in the 2nd Class of the General Lyceum (5th year of secondary education) in Greece. Enzymes specifically are taught within the framework of Chapter 3 “Metabolism”, section “Enzyme-Biocatalysts”. The time allocated for this section is one class sessions for the theoretical part, and an additional 1-2 hours to complete the experimental section designed herein.
The teaching approach we followed replaces the typical “dry” theory-repetitive presentation of this subject in the class with inquiry-based learning, including a hands-on experience in the lab with a strong visual stimulus. In our first implementation, 15 students participated (most of them girls) who showed great interest in the way the STEM fields of Biology and Chemistry were explored with this activity.
Georgios Chatzigeorgiou*, biologist, Alexia Fragkouli*, English language teacher, Eftychia Karagianni*, physicist, MD electronic physics
*2nd General Lyceum of Oreokastro, Greece
In the context of environmental projects run by our school and foremost of the Erasmus+ project “Effects of Human Activities on Natural Disasters – eHAND”, a group of students and teachers from the 2nd General Lyceum of Oreokastro became actively involved in the collection of data on natural disasters in Greece. Several working groups were created, each undertaking to gather material relating to: earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, fires, and landslides, respectively.
What is an earthquake? Do all earthquakes cause problems? What do we need to do to be prepared to deal with an earthquake?
An earthquake is a natural phenomenon that often affects Greece and other countries on the planet. Most earthquakes that occur in our country do not cause any particular problems, but some are very strong and have an impact on humans and buildings.
The Earthquake Planning and Protection Agency recommends that we be prepared to be able to protect ourselves during an earthquake and also to have the appropriate anti-earthquake behavior after the vibration.
In the lesson that took place on the first day of the eHAND Erasmus + «Enceladus» Meeting in Oreokastro, the students of the seven schools that participated had to:
Create transnational groups with the goal of reading the material posted by the pupils of each school/country and to record 3 tips that they consider most important for the three phases (before, during and after)
Present the tips they have chosen to the other two groups
School of Geology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Mineral raw materials are crucial for the development of the modern societies, the environmentally friendly technologies and the Hi-Tech industrial products. Without them, there wouldn’t be any smartphones, laptops, or cars. They are extracted from large open pits or underground mines. Greece has a very unique geological history! The subduction of Africa beneath Eurasia is one of the most important geological phenomena in the world accompanied by volcanoes and earthquakes. Volcanoes in Aegean did not bring only disasters. Their action caused numerous mineral deposits, which have been used by the inhabitants since the Prehistoric times. Many Aegean islands were very wealthy thanks to the mineral raw materials.