The Need to Update the Article
The purpose of trying to assess the understanding of my students on alcoholic beverages, unexpectedly led to the need to update the article they read.
As a learning activity, I asked my students to read my article “ Chemistry of Disappearing Alcohol: Your Body A Culprit or A Victim?” The article tells what happens to alcohol in the body. I let my students make a diagram on the fate of alcohol in the body based on their understanding of the article. No standard diagram was required, thus the students were free to do a diagram in a manner they want it to appear. The bottom line, the diagram must be “easy to understand” by the readers.
The diagram is expected to reveal the understanding of the students on the science article they were asked to read.
With permission from my student, below is a diagram that one of my students, Rona Samson submitted.
The diagram showed the details of the topic which gave me the impression that the student did read the article seriously. However, I detected two misconceptions. One is marked with a yellow star at the upper right of the diagram and the other is marked with a red star at the lower left part of the diagram.
Misconception 1 ( marked with yellow star)
This part of the diagram showed a misconception. It appears that the student think that the bulging stomach leads to liver cirrhosis when, in fact, the bulging stomach is not a cause of liver cirrhosis.
This part of the diagram showed another misconception. It appears that the student think that the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase is responsible for converting acetate to acetyl coA when in fact it is not. It is the acetyl CoA synthase
What possibly be the causes of the two misconceptions mentioned above?
I revisited the article I wrote and see how those parts of information in question are written or presented. These parts of the information are presented in the article as follows:
“What is Worse than a Bulging Belly?
WARNING: "A person with liver cirrhosis has 50% chance of death within 4 years"(Wardlaw, 2000, p. 501)
Increased synthesis of fatty acids can lead to the condition called hyperlipidemia (Jone, PJ et al., 1992). With this condition, fats may accumulate in the liver leading to a condition called fatty liver (Assy N, et al., 2000). When the fats in the liver block/interfere with the blood supply of oxygen and nutrients, cells in the liver can die and be replaced with scars (connective tissues) preventing the liver to do its normal functions in this condition called liver cirrhosis.”
Notice that in the article the word liver cirrhosis appears under the subheading “What is Worse than a Bulging Belly?” so that the student may have been deceived. More so, that fats was also mentioned so that it appears that the fat that causes the bulging belly is also similar to the fat in the liver that turns into liver cirrhosis. However, it can be correct to say that a bulging abdomen may be an early symptom of liver cirrhosis, but as presented, it is not what the article conveyed.
“The lliver detoxifies the body further by converting the acetaldehyde into acetate and intoacetyl CoA. This detoxification is hastened by the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH),”
It appears that my article failed to mention acetyl coA synthase which is most likely the cause of the misconception.
The cause of misconceptions mentioned can then be traced to the way the information was presented in the article they read.
It is better if the students were made to present their diagram in class to confirm if the diagram they made really is what they have in mind and not just simply a mistake of converting (expressing) what is in their mind into diagram.
There is a need to update the article to avoid the misconceptions mentioned above.