Science education

Getting kids involved in science, outside of the classroom. A conversation with a friend last night reminded me of some posts I wrote earlier about helping scientists connect to programs for helping students. My friend, as a parent, approached this idea, of connecting scientists with students, from a different angle. She wanted to know how you go about connecting students with science?
  • What do you do if the science program at your kid's high school seems a little, well, uninspiring?
  • If the teachers aren't interested, how do you help?
  • How do
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I just love this title! It's nerdy and cute, all at the same time. I read about this in www.researchblogging.org and had to check out the paper and blog write up from The Beagle Project (BTW: some of you may be interested in knowing that The Beagle Project is not a blog about dogs.) The paper describes a class where students from Marseilles University investigate the function of unidentified genes from a ... Read more
It's funny but even though I work with data on a regular basis, I can't always predict the best way to manage data until I have my own data to manage. My classroom wiki site is no exception. Now, that I've been seriously using a wiki with my class, I've found that I should have set a few things up a bit differently. The biggest challenge has been making sure that the right people can do the right things - or who gets to see what and upload what where. Not knowing what methods would turn out to be useful, I originally set up my class wiki with a folder called "students," ... Read more
There's no question that the ability to work with information is one that will be required and valued for a long time to come. I think it's imperative for teachers to have students practice this skill whenever an opportunity comes about. The problem for many teachers is finding the time to identify good data sets. MRSA stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a serious problem for hospital patients. Six of out seven people who become infected with MRSA, get it from some kind of health-care facility. In 2007, the CDC issued a report claiming that 18,000 people die ... Read more
iGEM is all about synthetic biology, kids. It's the annual International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. Each team in the IGEM competition has to make something using a kit of biological parts from the Registry of Standard Biological Parts. Teams of students use these parts to design, build, and operate biological systems in living cells. IGEM began in 2003 with a course at MIT where students made cells blink. Now, this year had:
If you're going to create a new life form (even if it's only digital), Sunday Saturday seems like the best day to give it a try.

i-a8939b7c0982ccf1291f42fb7e878e17-fluA.0.jpg

Reposted from an earlier year. Build-A-Virus is a quick, fun, and simple game that was created and put on-line by Bioreliance, now owned by Invitrogen. ... Read more
What skills does a biotechnology technician need to know? This seems like a simple question, but people have been struggling to define biotech skill standards since the early 90's. Complicating this question is that many areas of biotechnology require somewhat different skills. Antibody work requires one set, plant or animal tissue culture, another; fermentation, another; manufacturing, another; DNA sequencing, yet another set. Even skills that you might think are universal, like using a microscope, are not. During my years in graduate school, I never used a microscope; I cloned ... Read more
It was a wet and rainy day yesterday, and we have a dissecting microscope, so I decided to see if I could find some tardigrades.

Tardigrade photo by i-f47a475e7e1c7332c4016e7534ce9fcd-tardigrade.jpgnebarnix

Reposted from Nov. 2006 I went outside and scraped a bit of moss and some lichens off of our deck. Then I put the lichens ... Read more
Before mammals, before dinosaurs, before bacteria, or plants, there was something else; a protocell containing RNA. i-4c756422efd338ecba1f0d41066e8ec1-ribozyme.gif The Exploring Origins Project has excellent animations of protocells, a timeline of life's evolution, and best of all- fantastic animations of ... Read more
This quarter, I'm using a wiki with my bioinformatics class and posting sometimes about the things that I learn. Two things I've been experimenting with are:
  1. Setting up pages for individual students so they can take notes while they're working.
  2. Embedding a Google form into one of my wiki pages for student assessment.
Here's a diagram showing some of the pages in my bioinformatics class wiki site.

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