Learning Lectures with Poetry

In one of my online classes, I was given the rare opportunity to express science with an artistic lens.

A bonus art project seemed straightforward in the past. I simply turn in a clever assignment and receive a two percent grade booster, and that was that.

However, the more I create art, the more I realize how useful it can be to improve learning. When we shift our perspective on a concept, interesting things start to happen. The assignment becomes less of a task and more of a personal project… something that could entertain us.

This idea doesn’t have to remain in my online class. I think that other courses, other faculties, can apply this method of teaching and learning. Using art to shed light upon lecture material, and to maybe, just maybe… make the studying process more fun.

I would like to share my art project with you all. It’s a poem that brings together concepts within cell biology.

If you have ever taken a biology course at UVic, the main topics mentioned are cell division and the cytoskeleton structure. If you’re not a science student, don’t panic if some words are odd or confusing. The whole purpose is to work-up an understanding through playful reasoning.

The poem is titled “Hello from Below”, I hope you all enjoy it and can take something away from it…


Hello from below.

Giant eyes of shiny view,

Inspect humble specks of new.

They study, as if they know.

Analyze and criticize in a spell,

Seek the hidden findings of life,

Inside a single common cell.


Where to journey, where to begin?

Perhaps with the makings of tubulin.


A flower, a split branch,

A yellow twin header of chance.

The gamma that springs in a zone,

From pairs of centrosomes.


The twin clovers form a ring,

Nested in a sacred sphere of seven.

A foundation that forms the string,

For the next in kin.

It’s time for alpha-beta tubulin.


Active swiveling snakes,

Bind together,

Forwards, backwards, side to side.

The Grand snake meets the ringed guide,

They continue to polymerize.


Mechanical vines expand and bloom,

Each strand leaves their sphere,

The organizing-matrix womb.

A skeletal birth shared in nearly

Every cellular nation.

The vines reach out,

With astral nucleation.


Understanding these pathways,

Involves life’s cycle from interphase.

Moving soon, it reaches mitosis,

Triggering rapid dynamic blaze.


Microtubules try to find,

The secret codes intertwined,

Aligned in a metaphase plate.


Forces maintain the straight.

Pushes and pulls,

Formations and associations,

All to meet the same course.


The mirrored branches bind,

At a connected common core.

They wrap with the kinetochore.


Twin sisters find new roles.

Each sister migrates to the poles,

And diverge through.

To expand and repair,

To grow cells within you.


Lift your eyes,

Stare into that empty slide,

And think of what you know.

What is left to say?


Hello from below.

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2 Responses

  1. Jake Dingwall says:

    Superb work Ethan.