University of Idaho Importance of Macromolecules for Life Discussions

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Discussion Prompt 1:

How is understanding the periodic table important to all sciences, particularly biology, and not just chemistry?

Discussion Prompt 2:

How do elements combine to make “life”? Think back to the hierarchy of life.

Discussion Prompt 3: On the Importance of Macromolecules for Life

In the US, conversations about food often focus on how to limit it: “cutting carbs”, “limiting fat”, “reducing sugar”. But food is essential for life and around the world many people struggle to obtain the basic nutrition they need. Just consider the following statistics:

  • Approximately 3.1 million children die from undernutrition each year (UNICEF, 2018a).
  • Undernutrition contributes to more than half of global child deaths (UNICEF, 2018a)

Traditional approaches to treating severely malnourished children involves visiting a hospital which puts children at risk for exposure to infection and recovery rates with these approaches are very low. Newer approaches to treating severe malnutrition involve home-based treatment where families are provided with ready to use nutrient/energy dense food.

What single food item can you think of that would be good for this purpose? Explain why you think this would work well. As you brainstorm together, critically evaluate each person’s suggestion- is the food ready to use?, does it contain the needed macromolecules?, is the food easy to distribute

Discussion Prompt 4

Read the six knowledge claim statements (A-F) below. Place the letters of the statements on the spectrum below from least scientific to more scientific (you can copy this into your response and fill in the yellow X’s with the statement letters. Justify your ranking – how did you determine if it was more or less scientific? Use what you have learned in this module.

LEAST Scientific [ X X X X X X ] MORE Scientific

A. All living things are composed of one or more cells. We know this because every living thing examined to date has been found to be composed of one or more cells.
B. If you break a mirror, you will have seven years of bad luck.
C. The Earth is flat. Anybody can see that!
D. Taking Vitamin C prevents the common cold. Linus Pauling, the Nobel laureate who discovered the structure of Vitamin C, says it does.
E. Humans have a soul. I believe this because it says so in the Bible. The soul is what separates us from animals.
F. The rate of acceleration of all falling objects on Earth is constant. Two spheres of identical diameter and volume are dropped from the top of a building; one is made of steel, the other made of a plastic polymer. They both will accelerate at the same rate (32 ft/s2) and hit the ground at the same time.

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