Employing Glucometers as Teaching Tools in Undergraduate Chemistry

Glucometers are ubiquitous point-of-care diagnostic tools used to determine glucose concentrations in blood; they have revolutionized diabetes monitor at home since their development in the 1960s. Glucometers quantitatively detect glucose in blood via a redox reaction catalyzed by glucose oxidase. This handheld instrument can be employed as a teaching tool in undergraduate classrooms to cover concepts in analytical chemistry, including biosensing, electrochemistry, instrument sensitivity and selectivity, as well as topics in biochemistry, including carbohydrate chemistry and enzyme structure and activity. The aims of this research project will be to develop an engaging small-group in-class activity to support student learning in analytical chemistry and biochemistry courses employing glucometers.

A proposed activity will challenge students to determine the identity of three clear solutions of sugars, namely glucose, lactose and sucrose. In order to identify which solution is which, the students will be provided a glucometer, a minimal number of glucometer test strips and a solution containing lactase (from crushed tablets that are generally employed to mitigate symptoms of lactose intolerance). Students will work in groups to devise a plan to identify their unknown solutions based on concepts taught in class and execute their plan during class time.

During the fall semester, learning objectives will be set for the activity in line with the biochemistry (Chem 182/Bio 182) and analytical chemistry (Chem 114) curricula at HMC. The in-class activity will be tailored and optimized by the research student to achieve the established learning objectives. In addition, accompanying teaching materials for the activity will be prepared for use during the spring semester. Over the spring semester (the student is welcome to continue working on the project or hand off the project to another student), the activity will be conducted in analytical chemistry and biochemistry courses at HMC and may be expanded for use at the 5C level. Survey data will be collected from students to assess the activity success and to adjust the activity for future use in the courses. 

Please meet with Prof. Nemr to talk about the project and your experiences. You can schedule a meeting by email: cnemr@g.hmc.edu.

Name of research group, project, or lab
Novel Educational Research Materials (NEMR) group
Logistics Information:
Project categories
Teaching & Learning
Student ranks applicable
Time commitment
Fall - Part Time
Academic Credit
Number of openings
Contact Information:
Carine Nemr
Principal Investigator
Name of project director or principal investigator
Prof. Carine Nemr
Email address of project director or principal investigator
1 sp. | 1 appl.
Hours per week
Fall - Part Time
Project categories
Teaching & Learning (+1)
ChemistryTeaching & Learning