While there are a plethora of options when it comes to analytical tools for studying different molecules of interest, Mass Spectrometry (MS) is a prime choice among scientists and researchers. Educators dealing with this subject at the school and college level often find it challenging to explain the detailed working and underlying principles of a mass spectrometer machine. Since this topic is replete with complex terminologies like laser desorption, mass-to-charge ratios, time-of-flight (TOF), etc, students often lose track of how MS eventually provides valuable insights into the molecular composition and structure of the sample.
While we understand that MS has revolutionized our understanding of the atomic world, we need to employ out-of-the-box ideas to simplify the same for our students. For this reason, we present 5 creative ways to do so.
Educators can depend on models and simulations to simplify many concepts and ideas of the MS technique.
Scientific evidences are abundant on how the gamification approach promotes a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of a complex topic like MS. (1, 2, 3) These educational exercises will foster problem-solving skills specific to MS. Some of the doable exercises are:
Educators can embrace multiple dynamic technological tools to enhance the clarity of basic principles of MS and improve students’ access to vast databases of spectra and resources. Here are some effective ways to incorporate technology in the classroom.
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Quoting examples of the prospective industries, research fields, and professional spheres where MS is highly recognized can serve as a masterkey to inspire students to learn it with interest. This can be successfully achieved by:
Knowing the real-world applications of any topic that we are learning motivates us to learn it objectively so that we face minimum problems during application. This is why we suggest that you debate real-world scenarios where MS is useful across the globe. If you make your students research one day before your class, they can also pitch novel ways that MS can be applied to solve or improve our understanding of different molecules. From its use in the pharmaceutical industry (for drug discovery and development) to environmental analysis (for detection and quantification of pollutants), MS can be the students’ favorite pick if taught with this approach!
Teaching mass spectrometry (MS) using modern tools and a more interactive approach is crucial to overcome the boredom often associated with complex terms.
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