5 Creative Ways to Teach Cell Culture Basics That Students Will Understand

Job Brisby Eloja

Different kinds of cells can be grown in artificial environments. Kidney, heart, and even cancer cells can be grown in the lab. Various types of cells can be cultured for a range of purposes. These include drug discovery, recombinant protein production, and disease research. 

Teaching the basics of cell culture can be complicated, though. There are lots of things for students to remember before they can cultivate cells in the lab. From growth media to cell passaging, there is a wealth of information for students to learn.

Though cell culture is a bit daunting at first, there are ways to make it more attractive to students. Here are five ways you can teach this topic in more creative and engaging ways.

1. Use Interactive Demonstrations of Cell Culture

Students do not have to dive into an actual lab environment right away. Instructors can use interactive models for students to explore first. This way, they can learn the techniques they need before doing a real cell culture experiment in the lab.

As students interact with the demonstration, they can gain confidence in the techniques they’re learning. If they make a mistake, there will be no harm done. There is no risk of contamination or contracting a dangerous disease.

With the help of interactive models, students will better understand key techniques in cell culture. They will be better equipped to handle actual equipment in the lab.

2. Make It Fun with Games and Activities

Modern learning is not restricted to lectures and textbooks. In fact, research has proven that students appreciate topics better if they learn in fun ways. Instructors can add excitement to learning through games and activities. 

Virtual lab simulations, such as Labster’s Cell Culture Basics: Plate, split and freeze human cells Virtual Lab, are effective tools for this purpose. Students can play around with the simulation until they get a good grasp of the proper techniques of cell culture.

Here’s another advantage of games and activities. When students are at play, they may not even be aware that they’re learning. They are focused on the game and enjoying it. Try giving them a test and find out how much they have learned while playing.

3. Use a Range of Technology as Teaching Aids

Instructors must be comfortable using a range of technologies in the classroom. This way, they can connect better with today’s generation of students. These students grew up with technology always within reach, so they expect to use it in the learning process as well.

Tools like video, multimedia, and virtual reality can help students comprehend cell culture techniques more easily. These tools engage more senses, so they facilitate more effective retention of key concepts.

When students use more of their senses while learning cell culture techniques, they can better master the topic. The Cell Culture Basics lab simulation from Labster is an example of such teaching aids.

Virtual lab showing placing the medium and serum inside the hood.
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4. Explore Possible Careers for Inspiration

Students should be able to see how this topic relates to future career plans. This way, they will appreciate the topic even more. Cell culture is often used in these industries:

  • Medical research
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Oncology
  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular biology
  • Alternative meat manufacturing (cell-based meat)

Students ought to know how they can use this topic in the future. This way, they will be more inspired to learn and master it.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Applications

While the cells in cell cultures might be too small to see, they have significant applications in the real world. If students can see these applications, they will be more inclined to study the topic well.

Cell-based meat is a particularly exciting application of cell culture. It allows the manufacture of meat products without using livestock. Instead of raising animals and taking meat from them, meat is grown in the lab through cell cultures. This means no animals have to be killed to make meat. This process is also more environmentally friendly, producing much fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional agriculture.

Final thoughts

Using creative methods to teach cell culture helps students master the topic. They gain a better appreciation of key concepts, and they would be encouraged to learn on their own. 

Also, not all students learn in the same way. Some are visual learners, while some prefer sounds, and others prefer to explore and manipulate models. This is where Labster simulations come in. The virtual lab Cell Culture Basics: Plate, split and freeze human cells can help students grasp this topic a lot better.

Cell culture basics virtual lab showing the incubator.
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