5 Creative Ways to Teach Gram Positive and Gram Negative Cell Walls

Job Brisby Eloja

All bacteria have cell walls. But different species of bacteria have varying components and structure in their cell walls. Generally, bacteria are classified into two groups – Gram positive and Gram negative – depending on the composition of their cell walls. 

Distinguishing the two types of bacteria is usually done through Gram staining. This is a microbiology technique that uses dyes to differentiate Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Gram positives show up as purple, while Gram negatives become red or pink.

Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria respond in different ways to antibiotics. For this reason, this topic is important for students learning microbiology. Gram staining is also a basic technique used in the lab for determining the identity of a bacterial sample.

Teaching this topic can sometimes be challenging, though. This is especially true if your students are not familiar with the topic. Teaching with the typical lecture may not promote the best kind of learning. 

Thankfully, there are a variety of methods to teach this topic in more engaging ways. Here are five techniques you can use in the classroom.

1. Use Interactive Models of Gram Positive and Gram Negative Bacteria

Using interactive models is an effective way to engage your students’ senses. Models help them see the structures of Gram positive and Gram negative cell walls more clearly. 

The Building Gram Positive and Gram Negative Cell Walls Virtual Lab from Labster contains a good set of interactive models to work with. It lets students explore the differences in the structure and composition of the two kinds of bacteria. The virtual lab even shows the components of each type of cell wall in vivid detail.

Assemble the Gram negative bacterial cell in the virtual lab.F
Discover the Building Gram Positive and Gram Negative Cell Walls Virtual Lab today!

2. Make the Topic Fun with Games and Activities

Integrating games and activities into your lessons can make the topic more fun and interactive. For instance, you can organize role-playing activities where students play the role of bacteria. Make them act out how gram positive and gram negative bacteria respond to different antibiotics.

Trivia games are another set of fun activities that help students retain information. Realizing interesting facts about Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria will encourage learning.

Virtual labs that simulate real-life experiments are also a great way to make the learning experience more hands-on. In these simulations, students are able to manipulate tools and equipment by themselves. That way, they can learn by doing. Plus, they can do it without the risks present in a real lab.

3. Use Technology To Deliver Lessons

Technology can help make the learning experience more engaging and memorable. For example, virtual reality can be used to give students a 360-degree view of the structures of Gram positive and Gram negative cell walls. 

Videos and animations are also quite helpful in explaining this topic. Videos that detail how Gram positive and Gram negative cell walls are built can let students better understand the differences. Also, animations can help explain how antibiotics destroy these two types of cell walls.

It would be great if students can watch these videos and animations on their phones as well. That means they can replay the content at any time, helping them master the topic.

Virtual lab simulations are also great tools to enhance classroom lectures. Labster’s Building Gram Positive and Gram Negative Cell Walls Virtual Lab does well in showing students the components of these cell walls down to the finest details. 

Gram positive cell wall in a virtual lab.

4. Inspire Students by Exploring Possible Careers

Connecting this topic to different careers can make it more relevant to students’ lives. Microbiologists and medical laboratory scientists are just some of the careers that require a good grasp of this topic. 

By highlighting the importance of this topic in different careers, students can see the practical applications of what they are learning.

5. Connect Topic to Real-World Applications

It helps to tell students the value of this topic in the real world. For example, students can find out how the knowledge of cell wall structures help scientists develop antibiotics. Who knows, some of your students may even be inspired to develop new antibiotics in the future.

Final Thoughts

Using a variety of teaching methods when teaching this topic is essential for engaging students and making the topic more memorable. By using interactive models, games, technology, career exploration, and exploring real-world applications, you can create a learning experience that is not only informative but also enjoyable. 

a man sitting in front of a computer monitor
Bring Science to Life
Immersive Learning Simulations

Labster helps universities and high schools enhance student success in STEM.

Request Demo

Discover The Most Immersive Digital Learning Platform.

Request a demo to discover how Labster helps high schools and universities enhance student success.

Request Demo