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Internet Site Teaches Biology Through Cartoons - 2003-01-15

A biology teacher in Boulder, Colorado, has designed a web site that he hopes will make learning science a fun and valuable experience.

Welcome to on the Internet. Here you will find animations, interactive activities, and cartoons designed to make learning biology a rich and engaging process.

For example, click on "cardiovascular system" and see how the heart pumps blood, or visit the evolution lab, or see the flow of energy through a cell.

After years of teaching biology in various colleges and universities, Leif Saul began developing his own graphics, mainly for in-class presentation. He got so many positive responses from his students that he decided to design his own web site.

"Well, I have been college teaching biology for many years now, and a couple of years back, I had the chance to work as a programmer in an Internet games company. And after that, I really got the idea, not only that I have all the skills to work on this web site and as well do it, it is the something that I wanted to do for quite some time," explains Mr. Saul.

Zao Huang, a high school student, finds Biology in Motion very helpful. "Dr. Saul's web site is very interesting," he says. "Animations help teach some of the basic biological ideas. The use of simple objects to demonstrate complex subjects such as enzymes and substrate is very effective. Generally, it is very effective tool to communicate biology and it is very well organized."

Dr. Saul notes students as well as teachers in high school and middle school visit his web site. "You know, nowadays, students have very high expectations about teaching, that it should be entertaining, that it should grab their attention and be relevant," he says. "And I've just wanted to put together a resource that other teachers could use on the web."

Although there are many science sites on the Internet, Dr. Saul believes that his site stands out. "Well, there are some other web sites out there with interactive activities for learning biology," he says. "Mine is a bit unique in that it has these cartoons, since I am an amateur cartoonist. And it is by one person, so it is going to reflect the personal joy that I feel in explaining biology and doing the programming and all the cartooning."

Cartoons can explain difficult concepts by providing visual metaphors that are easily understood. Dr. Saul found out that animation is a friendly learning method, even for college students.

"They just love it," he says. "They think of me, you know like the cartoon guy and they do not forget me. I am pretty sure that they remember the course after it is over for quite sometime."

Leif Saul hopes his web site will help other teachers liven up their biology lectures. "Making use of the computer makes it a little more fun, a little more dynamic, that is a lot of what your job is, to wake up your students and get them interested, get them motivated," he says.

Through games, interactive quizzes, humor and cartoons, Leif Saul hopes his web site,, will make a lot of students more enthusiastic about learning.

Photos/Graphics - Courtesy Leif Saul