Stop Motion Improves BioTech Retention

Dianda Giles, Staff Writer

Biotechnology (BioTech) students spent hours with play dough, cameras, and favorite on-screen characters to demonstrate the processes of gene expression and genetically modified organisms on February 7.

According to BioTech teacher Jay Chugh, the project is a dynamic way to solidify complex concepts. “I have been doing the project for 14 years — the investment of time is worth it because students perform 8 to 10 percent better on assessments,” said Chugh. “You have to tap into multiple parts of your brain for this process, which actually helps you learn more effectively.”

At the beginning of the project students picked a TV show or movie upon which to base their project, incorporating the characters into their stop-motion story lines.

Students tackled subjects like protein coding, cell signaling, and gene expression. By taking rapid-fire pictures of playdough formations, Chugh’s students animated 3-5 minute films.

Senior Katharine Hawkins said, “I had a great time creating a project that was based on Harry Potter. It’s my favorite book series, and filming the videos helped me understand what we were learning.”

The class will screen the films in March after Chugh grades them. “I’m excited to watch the other films,” said senior Randall Gee.

The best project will receive extra credit and the “Chughie” award. “To make a claymation video, there is a lot of effort, but the pay off is substantial,” said Chugh.