BioBuilding: Synthetic Biology for Teachers: Teacher's resource room

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Teacher's Resource Room

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BioBuilder Website
Synthetic Biology Explained on YouTube
Synthetic Kingdom on YouTube
BioBuilder TV on YouTube
Decoding Synthetic Biology (YouTube)
Craig Venter unveils sythetic life Ted talk
Authentic teaching and learning through synthetic biology, by Natalie Kuldell
What is synthetic biology?
How to Make Life
Life Reinvented
Our Synthetic Futures
BioBricks Foundation
Registry of Standard Biological Parts
iGEM High School Division
A comparison of Science, Engineering and Technology
Explanation of the Engineering Design Process
Design criteria
Teacher's Domain video and essay on the Engineering Design Process

Grading Rubrics and Scoresheets

National Science Standards

Abilities of technological design

  • IDENTIFY A PROBLEM OR DESIGN AN OPPORTUNITY. Students should be able to identify new problems or needs and to change and improve current technological designs.
  • PROPOSE DESIGNS AND CHOOSE BETWEEN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS. Students should demonstrate thoughtful planning for a piece of technology or technique. Students should be introduced to the roles of models and simulations in these processes.
  • IMPLEMENT A PROPOSED SOLUTION. A variety of skills can be needed in proposing a solution depending on the type of technology that is involved. The construction of artifacts can require the skills of cutting, shaping, treating, and joining common materials--such as wood, metal, plastics, and textiles. Solutions can also be implemented using computer software.
  • EVALUATE THE SOLUTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES. Students should test any solution against the needs and criteria it was designed to meet. At this stage, new criteria not originally considered may be reviewed.
  • COMMUNICATE THE PROBLEM, PROCESS, AND SOLUTION. Students should present their results to students, teachers, and others in a variety of ways, such as orally, in writing, and in other forms--including models, diagrams, and demonstrations.

Understandings about science and technology

  • Scientists in different disciplines ask different questions, use different methods of investigation, and accept different types of evidence to support their explanations. Many scientific investigations require the contributions of individuals from different disciplines, including engineering. New disciplines of science, such as geophysics and biochemistry often emerge at the interface of two older disciplines.
  • Science often advances with the introduction of new technologies. Solving technological problems often results in new scientific knowledge. New technologies often extend the current levels of scientific understanding and introduce new areas of research.
  • Creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are all required in the work of science and engineering.
  • Science and technology are pursued for different purposes. Scientific inquiry is driven by the desire to understand the natural world, and technological design is driven by the need to meet human needs and solve human problems. Technology, by its nature, has a more direct effect on society than science because its purpose is to solve human problems, help humans adapt, and fulfill human aspirations. Technological solutions may create new problems. Science, by its nature, answers questions that may or may not directly influence humans. Sometimes scientific advances challenge people's beliefs and practical explanations concerning various aspects of the world.
  • Technological knowledge is often not made public because of patents and the financial potential of the idea or invention. Scientific knowledge is made public through presentations at professional meetings and publications in scientific journals.

MA Standards 2006

download PDF of State Science Standards

Relationship Sci+Tech+Eng, MA stds 2006

  • Life Science, HS pp 54-60
  • Tech/Eng, HS pp 92-99
  • Relationship Tech/Eng/Sci pp 81-83
  • Engineering Design Process pp 84

The Purpose of Science and Technology/Engineering Education

Investigations in science and technology/engineering involve a range of skills, habits of mind, and subject matter knowledge. The purpose of science and technology/engineering education in Massachusetts is to enable students to draw on these skills and habits, as well as on their subject matter knowledge, in order to participate productively in the intellectual and civic life of American society and to provide the foundation for their further education in these areas if they seek it.

The Nature of Technology/Engineering

Technology/engineering seeks different ends from those of science. Engineering strives to design and manufacture useful devices or materials, defined as technologies, whose purpose is to increase our efficacy in the world and/or our enjoyment of it. Can openers are technology, as are microwave ovens, microchips, steam engines, camcorders, safety glass, zippers, polyurethane, the Golden Gate Bridge, much of Disney World, and the “Big Dig” in Boston. Each of these, with innumerable other examples, emerges from the scientific knowledge, imagination, persistence, talent, and ingenuity of practitioners of technology/engineering. Each technology represents a designed solution, usually created in response to a specific practical problem, that applies scientific principles. As with science,

direct engagement with the problem is central to defining and solving it.
Engineering Design Process, MA stds 2006

The Relationship Between Science and Technology/Engineering

In spite of their different goals, science and technology have become closely, even inextricably, related in many fields. The instruments that scientists use, such as the microscope, balance, and chronometer, result from the application of technology/engineering. Scientific ideas, such as the laws of motion, the relationship between electricity and magnetism, the atomic model, and the model of DNA, have contributed to achievements in technology and engineering, such as improvement of the internal combustion engine, power transformers, nuclear power, and human gene therapy. The boundaries between science and technology/engineering blur together to extend knowledge.

Guiding Principles

The goal of the Guiding Principles is to help educators create inquiry-based educational environments that encourage student curiosity, engagement, persistence, respect for evidence, and sense of responsibility.

  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE I: A comprehensive science and technology/engineering education program enrolls all students from PreK through grade 12.
  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE II: An effective science and technology/engineering program builds students’ understanding of the fundamental concepts of each domain of science, and their understanding of the connections across these domains and to basic concepts in technology/engineering.
  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE III: Science and technology/engineering are integrally related to mathematics.
  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE IV: An effective program in science and technology/engineering addresses students’ prior knowledge and misconceptions.
  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE V: Investigation, experimentation, and problem solving are central to

science and technology/engineering education.
Puzzlement and uncertainty are common features in experimentation. Students need time to examine their ideas as they apply them in explaining a natural phenomenon or solving a design problem. Opportunities for students to reflect on their own ideas, collect evidence, make inferences and predictions, and discuss their findings are all crucial to growth in understanding.

  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE VI: An effective science and technology/engineering program builds upon and develops students’ literacy skills and knowledge.
  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE VII: Students learn best in an environment that conveys high academic expectations for all students.
  • GUIDING PRINCIPLE VIII: Assessment in science and technology/engineering serves to inform student learning, guide instruction, and evaluate student progress.


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