2020(S09) Lecture:week 2

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Week 2 Tuesday

Challenge: extra credit for extra parts?

Instructions: Last week you tried to understand a tape recorder by considering the components and subcomponents that operate inside it. Today you will demonstrate your understanding of the machine by re-assembling it from those components..."what I cannot create, I do not understand." and all that...Take a careful look at your parts list and your notes from last time. The team that can reassemble their tape recorder from the greatest number of parts will win this challenge. You have 1/2 an hour to work on this task.

Date from last week's take-apart
Team People Parts success?
1 AJ, Samira, Saloni 22 not really spinning or working
2 Ryan, David, Carmen 42 duct-tape masterpiece**, singing from tape, radio working
3 Leanna, Janice 24 fully reassembled, radio working
4 Jenny, Abi, Steven 31 next step full-disassembly
5 Camille, Cesar, Melissa 34 play and stop, no sound
6 Amber, Tania, Cory 27 spinning but uncertain of tape playing
7 Jacqueline, Ragheb, Sam 34 singing in Martian, but reversing spring to bring to earth
8 Sandra, Pedro, Nick 30 Motor was a one-time spinner
At the end of the 1/2 hour we will spend some time tallying the successes of the groups.
Like this Duct-tape masterpiece: duct-tape masterpiece
Why are we doing this??

Even if you were only partially successful in reassembling your tape player, there are probably a lot of things you've learned...things that would help you or the next person to successfully reassemble a tape player, things that reflect back on the take-apart exercise, aspects of the exercise that are common to any scientific or engineering effort (and remember your work this term will have elements of both!). We'll work as a class to add more ideas, questions and thoughts to this list.

  • from 2008: "Our success was definitely due to good note-taking and careful wording of our steps. We included diagrams and detailed instructions and it paid off in the end. This exercise was really valuable in showing how careful documentation can greatly benefit you in the long run."
  • from 2008: "The most difficult part of the assignment was curbing our impatience with the tiny, fragile body of the tape recorder and with the person handling it at any given point in time."
  • from 2009: biggest obstacle: "not having the right experience to solder or build circuit"
  • from 2009: secrets to success: "good notes, Duct tape, didn't try rebuild as it was"
  • from 2009: advice to next year's students: "bring a camera, don't lose things, know which direction the springs go in, not all parts are needed"

Homework for tomorrow's studio session

Look again at the Adventures in SB as well as the original storyboard that's here. This storyboard was sketched on regular paper by Drew Endy as he was flying from one place to another. The genesis of the comic is documented here. You should give some thought to the two chapter script you're working on and think about ways to sketch a storyboard from it. This will prepare you for our work in the studio tomorrow. Be sure to bring a copy of your script with you.

Week 2 Studio

WHAP! BAM! Gadzooks!


Begin today by reading the following script
Next, we'll look at the storyboards associated with this script. Those storyboards are here.
Finally, we'll watch the animation that was generate from this script. The animation is posted to "BioBuilder.org," a crash course in Synthetic Biology that's just starting up. The animation is here.

Work out

Next, think about how to storyboard your script. You do not need any fancy animation tools and there's no extra credit for finishing first or for fancy images. Ideally you'll use no more than 4 sheets of paper to fully sketch your script. Please be sure your name is on all the pieces of paper. You have up to an hour to complete your sketches.

When you have completed your sketches, find a place on the wall to hang your work (script and drawings), and then spend 1/2 an hour walking around the room checking out what others have done.

Why are we doing this??

This poster session is a quick way to scope out the landscape of interests in the class. In addition, drawing is a time honored (but under-utilized) way to learn science. Next week you will be divided into temporary "camps" around particular topics and you'll generate a camp catalog of ideas. Then you'll get to choose your top three items from all the camp catalogs and be sorted into final teams with common interests. Tomorrow's challenge session will help you further decide what kinds of things are important to you and also what kinds of team dynamics matter most to you.

Homework for tomorrow's challenge session

To set the stage for tomorrow's group challenge, please read the following article from the Financial Times of London. Tomorrow we will spend time thinking about the impact and perception of technological advances, especially bio-medical ones like Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).

Week 2 Thursday

Challenge: You decide

The topic on today's table is Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). With a minimum of 4 people at a table (or a maximum of 8 people) you can start to play "Decide." Before our challenge hour is through, your team will have to develop a "Policy Position" on this topic. Everyone at the table will start with

  • one place-mat/work-board describing the issue
  • White story cards
  • Green information cards
  • Blue issue cards
  • Red challenge cards
  • Yellow cards to facilitate discussion

Phase 1: set-up

  1. Begin by choosing a reader to read (out loud!) the topic's description that's written in the upper left-hand corner of each place-mat.
  2. Choose a different reader for the 4 policy positions that your group will ultimately decide between.
  3. Finally choose a different reader to read out loud the discussion guidelines that are written in the bottom left-hand corner of each place-mat.

Phase 2: learning

This phase will require ~30 minutes

  1. Each player should read the white story cards and choose 1 they find most compelling to keep on their place mat.
  2. Each player should read the green information cards and choose 2 they believe are the most significant to the story they've chosen. These cards can also be placed on their place-mat.
  3. Each player should read the blue issue cards and choose 2 they believe are the most significant to the story they've chosen. These cards should be placed on their place-mat.

Phase 3: discussion

This phase will require ~30 minutes. There are many ways to structure the discussion but you can, as a group, decide

  • if you would like a "free form" discussion in which players may participate in any order and yellow cards can be used to signal frustration with the speaker,


  • if you would like a "round table" discussion in which conversation proceeds from player to player around the table and "talk money" can be used to talk out of turn (everyone has two "talk money" chits on their place mats).

Once the ground rules for discussion are set, someone should distribute the red cards, one to each player, face down. Next someone should begin by summarizing their story and the relevant information and issues. Depending on the discussion style you've chosen, you may want to follow up on this starting story or proceed around the table. If conversation slows down or needs some motivating, the challenge cards can be used. By the end of the 30 minute discussion your group should be able to cluster the stories, issues, and information in some way that makes sense to everyone. This means physically moving the cards for related ideas and positions into piles.

Phase 4: policy position

Everyone will be given a Policy Position ballot in which they can indicate their level of support for each of the four possible positions. The ballots will be collected and tabulated by one member of the group. Look for common ground in your policy positions or develop a response that better represents any consensus reached by discussion. Designate a spokesperson to report your team's policy position to the class. If you would like to upload your group's response to the Play Decide website, the URL is here.

Why are we doing this??

This game is intended to raise several ideas. First, successful new technologies have consequences. You should always anticipate success and the consequences of success in your work. Second, the game forces you to generate a single policy decision, one that may be difficult to reach as well as unsatisfying to some members of your group. Dealing with "fractured" teams is something none of us can avoid and if today's challenge gives you even one new tool for dealing with discordance, then that's a big win.
Here we'll collect some comments about reaching a single policy decision on PGD.

  • from 2008: "We never came to a clear consensus as to what should be done with this procedure; ideas ranged from free, unrestricted usage to tight governmental control. This game clearly highlighted an important piece of biological engineering: unintended consequences."
  • from 2009: topic draws on lots of biases. Like stem cells, abortion, genetically engineered humans.
  • from 2009: policy is hard to make fair for everyone
  • from 2009: discussion furthered if there's a person who offers dissent

Homework for next week's studio session

Part 1: Team Dynamics

Listen to the first 10 minutes of a short radio story from 12.19.2008 that's here(you'll have to navigate to the "full episode" link on the left). The introduction to this show describes the effect that "one bad apple" can have on a team's productivity, as well as the simple, almost magical way to counteract the effect. You can stop listening (if you want) when the host introduces Act I.
Then, think about the kind of contributions you're likely to make to a team, and the kinds you'd like to be making to a team. Copy the following items into a Word document and then answer "almost never," "sometimes," or "almost always" to each item:

  • I set team direction (vision/strategies/identity/purpose)
  • I innovate (experiment/take risks)
  • I plan (set goals/set schedules/detail milestones)
  • I align people (communicate team goals/serve as role model/build consensus)
  • I broker plans (manage upward/negotiate/use power and politics)
  • I organize (structure/coordinate/staff/delegate)
  • I motivate (inspire/energize)
  • I monitor (appraise status)
  • I mentor (develop other people's capabilities)

Now set some plan for development. Choose one aspect from the list above you'd like to learn or change. Next, think of at least one way to accomplish your objective. You should think about what would provide evidence for accomplishment. Evidence for progress might seem small (e.g. asking a question in class, speaking louder, interrupting less) but make the measures for progress as concrete as possible. Remember there is no right or wrong answer to this series of questions. You're just being asked to commit to some area for growth.

Part 2: Learning Styles

Next, take the following questionnaire to gauge your learning style. Take a screen shot of the results and paste it into the Word document you started for Part 1. Then read the Index of Learning Styles that's described here and add a few sentences to your word document to say how well questionnaire's results match your own impressions of how you best learn.
Finally, upload your document to your "Personal Design Portfolio" in the homework dropbox, calling your assignment: FirstInitial_LastName_PDP_4.doc, for example: S_Hockfield_PDP_4.doc

Time to complete Team Dynamics and Learning Styles assessment: 1 hour MAX
Why are we doing this??

You're all here to learn and to work on a team project. But teams are only as functional as their most dis-functional member and everyone learns differently. Hopefully today's challenge and this homework assignment have helped raise your awareness of team dynamics and various learning styles, as well as giving a concrete example of some social implications that may be a consequence of your success.