Organic Molecules and Stress Organic Molecules and Stress

Spotlight on Learning - Organic Molecules & Psychology

May 3, 2024

Spotlight on Learning:     How do organic molecules affect mental health, society, and me?                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Presented by:  Ms. Nera and Mr. Duliba

Course: Chemistry 12 and Psychology 12


TEACHER REFLECTION: A cross-curricular collaboration with Chemistry and Psychology classes was done over a two-week period. The classes were combined and fully integrated in the library learning commons.  The students were tasked to combine skill sets to answer the inquiry question.  Neurotransmitters (an organic molecule) are brain chemicals that directly affect mental health.  The two classes were introduced to concepts of organic chemistry using epinephrine as an example.  Chemistry students were introduced to how neurotransmitters function in the brain, while this served as a review for the psychology students.  Students choose a neurotransmitter or group of neurotransmitters as a focus to link organic molecules in their brain to mental health. The cross-curricular nature of this project allowed for students to make bigger connections.  For example, neurotransmitters have a 3-D structure which can affect how they bind at receptors in the synapse.  Students were able to study molecules found inside their bodies, their effect, and strategies to help increase or decrease their concentration levels to have a positive effect on their mental health. As teachers, we loved how students could connect learning across two subject areas and how teachers were able to learn from each other.


STUDENT REFLECTION: During the initial semester, I had the opportunity to take part in Psychology 12 and Chemistry 11, gaining valuable experience in both subjects. As our final project, the two classes collaborated and created an assignment that would allow us to use our knowledge from both Psychology 12 and Chemistry 11. It involved us to critically analyze and investigate the connections between the two courses. If we look at Psychology 12, it covers different disorders how the imbalance of neurotransmitters/ homeostasis can cause that. Perfectly aligning with objectives from Chem 11, as we learned how our body creates those imbalances. I believe I had an advantage compared to the other students as well, since I had been the only one in both classes and got a full insight on the whole course. Whereas other students had to learn in a short period of time, condensing the information. Throughout the project, I loved making connections and I truly felt accomplished when I could apply my understanding. Although, I had to work on two projects, as there was one for each class, they both focused on different aspects, and I could add accordingly to each one with my understanding. I was also grateful for the people in my group as they were all understanding and we all could easily have a discussion on the topic, giving our perspective along with thoughts and opinions. Finally, the support of Ms. Nera and Mr. Duliba was greatly appreciated as they guided us in the right direction when we had any questions or concerns. Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of this project and had an amazing experience!


Read the entire News from the Nest for May 6-10