BioBuilder Professional Development Workshop in KS

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After a few years of integrating Synthetic Biology into our molecular course offering at CAPS, I am happy to announce that we will be offering a 3-Day BioBuilder Workshop at CAPS on July 8-10.  This three day professional development opportunity will prepare educators to bring biological engineering and synthetic biology into their classrooms and laboratories.  The workshop will include:

    • Lectures that connect the engineering/science/math and technology aspects of these fields.
    • Labs and classroom activities taught from the online www.BioBuilder.org resources.
    • Lunchtime discussions with members of the synthetic biology community.
    • Activities that address the nuts and bolts of running an iGEM team.

Attendees will receive lunch each day and 45 PDPs. Attendees must commit to implementing a BioBuilder activity in the 2014-2015 academic year and provide feedback on the effort.

Who should apply?

    • High school Biology teachers, especially those teaching introductory biology or those looking for new ways to teach the AP content or for compelling material to teach college-bound students after the AP exam is completed
    • College-level instructors looking for classroom and lab curricula to include in a biotechnology-style class
    • Science Club leaders, in particular anyone looking for ways to bring cutting edge content to students with a variety interests from math to biology to electronics.

How to apply?

    • The application is online: http://biobuilder.org/workshops/
    • 3 day workshop is $250/person (scholarships are available).
    • Registration fees include full tuition, lunch each day, and written materials.
    • A non-refundable registration/deposit fee of $50 is due upon application, reserving your place in a workshop. Balance is due one week in advance of the workshop.
    • Pre-registration is required for all participants, as space is limited.

What is Synthetic Biology?

Synthetic Biology is an emerging field that applies engineering and mathematical principles to the development of novel biological systems. These principles and technologies extend the teaching of molecular genetic techniques into real world, authentic applications.  Examples of synthetic systems include bacteria that smell like bananas, and light-sensitive bacteria that can serve as pixels in a photograph. These teachable systems are included in
the curriculum at Biobuilder.org.

Why teach Synthetic Biology?

Synthetic biology provides teachers and students an engineering context to learn molecular biology, genetic engineering and microbiology methods. This approach asks students to learn while designing, or testing designs of, engineered biological systems. In addition, this approach provides science teachers with a means of exploring numerous state and national technology standards that are hard to address in most science classes.

Workshop Instructors

Kevin McCormick is a science teacher at Summit Technology Academy in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He teaches the Project Lead The Way capstone courses in the Biomedical Sciences, Medical Interventions and Biomedical Innovations. He participated in a week long BioBuilder workshop held at MIT in the summer of 2013.

Dr. Dave Westenberg is a microbiologist who has taught in the Department of Biological Sciences at Missouri University of Science and Technology for the past 17 years. He is co-advisor for the Missouri S&T iGEM team and teaches a course in Biological Experimental Design and Innovation. He also chairs the American Society for Microbiology Committee on K-12 Outreach.

Eric Kessler is completing his 22nd year as a biology instructor. He currently directs the Bioscience Program in the Blue Valley School
District’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS). He has received grants and awards that include the Milken Award, Kansas
Outstanding Biology Teacher, Kansas Wildlife Educator of the Year, and NSTA Ron Mardigian Bio-Rad Biotechnology Explorer Award. He participated in a week long BioBuilder workshop held at Purdue in summer of 2012, and has facilitated the high school iGEM program in 2012 and 2013.

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About Eric Kessler

I am a high school biology teacher at Blue Valley North High School where I have taught freshman Biology and Honors Biology, Field Biology, Zoology, and AP Biology for the past 15 years. I am sponsor of the Environmental Club and our molecular modeling S.M.A.R.T. Team program. I am also the current treasurer of the Kansas Herpetological Society. Although I like most things biological, I have specific interests in the natural history of KS endemics (the outdoors) and things molecular. I am a pretty avid reader, I enjoy maintaining my website, and taking photographs. I plan on having students blogging and creating podcasts by the end of the year.