I am a high school teacher in the Blue Valley School District who has taught a Bioscience Research course at the district's Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) since 2010. Previous to this teaching gig I was at Blue Valley North High School where I taught freshman Biology and Honors Biology, Field Biology, Zoology, and AP Biology for the past 18 years.
Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, May 30 – June 1
The link below contains the draft document for the KABT Field Trip this weekend including background, directions, maps, and a schedule of events for Friday-Sunday. Please read it. I will have final copies along with some instructional activities as handouts on the field trip. The map to the KABT Campsite is accurate, and we will likely have some directional signs up in Linn County Park to help you along. We still haven’t figured out a good restaurant to eat lunch at (there might not be one) so be prepared by bringing food for Saturday’s lunch for sure. I am imagine we can find a place to eat dinner in La Cygnes, Pleasanton, or Louisburg.
I still have some editing of the background to do based on suggestions from the staff at the Marais des Cygnes NWR, and there may be some changes to the schedule. If you are coming down on Friday and want to help set traps, etc… please text me your name so that I can keep you informed if anything changes. I’m at 816-804-7106.
I may upload a list of possible things to bring later but do be warned that you should be prepared for having your legs covered while walking around in the prairies and forests during the beginning of the day, etc… and then getting into the Marais des Cygnes River later. I will be carrying a backpack and wearing my swim trunks under my jeans.
It goes without saying that we will likely encounter some poison ivy and ticks during our journey.
If you have any questions about the field trip feel free to post a comment here, on the KABT Facebook, of feel free to email me. Hope to see you all at the end of the week!
Thanks to Michael Ralph getting things started. I would love to have made it to the epigenetics/arabidopsis workshop that he discuss but there is only so much time in a day. Here are a few of the highlights from my 1 1/2 days at the convention.
Citizen Science with Bats
The world’s leading bat conversation organization, Bat Conservation International (http://batcon.org/) has teamed up with Wildlife Acoustics, a manufacturer of acoustics equipment for field researchers, to produce a product for educators called the Echo Meter Touch, which is a device that can sense ultrasonic wavelength and transfer that information via a user frienldy and free app available for the iPhone and iPad. A promotional video will give you the details.
Written details on the product can be found here: http://www.wildlifeacoustics.com/education. One Echo Meter Touch will set you back $523 and will include the Discover Bats Curriculum Guide produced in conjunction with Bat Conservation International. The only draw back may be the double flipping your classroom so that you can meet your students in the field at dusk to collect some data. If I get around to purchasing my own, I’ll let you know more of what I think. If any of you plan to purchase let me know. It would be a nice thing to test on our KABT Spring Field Trip.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology – Birds-of-Paradise Project
Every since I read David Quammen’s “Song of the Dodo” years ago, I have been interested in the Wallace’s independent discover of natural selection and his observations of the Birds-of-Paradise (a part of the larger story of Island Biogeography). Well now the famed Ornithology Labs at Cornell have developed some curriculum. I have not explored these activities but in the presentation they showed the work by two of their researchers in capturing video of all 39 species. I can’t wait to have some time to check it out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As you are about to see, Noah Busch organized quite a series of events for us to experience during this year’s field trip, which included:
Camping out in Stella’s Meadow at Alcove Springs
Teaching us how to construct and use common materials in capturing the tracks of small mammals
Showing us the new downtown exhibit on Geologic Time in the Glaciated Region in Blue Rapids, and famous Black Squirrels of Marysville
Checking turtle traps along Spring Creek, and being witnessing to a rare herpetological event (see the Kansas Herpetology Facebook for details)
Spending time at his family’s organic farm where we were treated to organic hot dogs and such, learned about organic farming from Noah’s mother Nancy Vogelsberg-Busch, took a bird watching tour with Dr. John Quinn from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and stopped to eat some berries, look for some russian thistle weevils, and do a bit of bee handling…
Thanks again, Noah!
By the way, it looks like someone started a KABT Facebook Page. Like it and share your links, etc… I think we need to start a Facebook Group though so that I can post images to an ablum. It appears that I can only upload a single image to a page.