Evaluating Glucometers as Teaching Tools in Undergraduate Biochem

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 study the learning outcomes of an engaging small-group in-class activity to support student learning in biochemistry courses at HMC, Pomona and Keck Science (Pitzer, CMC, Scripps) employing glucometers.

An in-class activity has been designed to challenge students to investigate principles they have studied in biochemistry using clear solutions of sugars, including glucose, lactose and sucrose, glucometers, 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 investigate worksheet questions and execute their plan during class time.

During the fall semester, learning objectives were set for the activity in line with the biochemistry curricula at HMC and the other Claremont Colleges. The in-class activity was tailored and optimized by a research student to achieve the established learning objectives. In addition, accompanying teaching materials for the activity were prepared for use during the spring semester. Over the spring semester, the activity will be conducted in biochemistry courses at HMC, Pomona and Keck Science. Assessment of student learning will be investigated through success on worksheet questions. Survey data will also be collected to get an understanding of student attitudes toward the activity. This data will also allow adjusting/iterating 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
Nemr Research Group
Logistics Information:
Project categories
Teaching & Learning
Student ranks applicable
Time commitment
Spring - Part Time
Academic Credit
Paid Research
Number of openings
Contact Information:
Carine Nemr
Principal Investigator
Name of project director or principal investigator
Carine Nemr
Email address of project director or principal investigator
1 sp. | 0 appl.
Hours per week
Spring - Part Time
Project categories
Teaching & Learning (+2)
BiologyChemistryTeaching & Learning