Environmental Education Workshop at Baker Wetlands

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Anyone else ready to start thinking about getting students outside to explore their local environment with all this nice weather? Need an excuse to get out to the amazing new Baker Wetlands Discovery Center? This workshop might be for you! February 12th and 13th, the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE) is putting on a short course for teachers of students Pre-K through grade 12. The course consists of 8 hours at Baker Wetlands and 8 hours online, and graduate credit is available through Baker University.  Questions can be directed to Ashlyn Kite-Hartwich from KACEE at 785-889-4384 or akite@kacee.org.

Hope to see a lot of you out there!

CDC Science Ambassador Training – now accepting applications

2015 Come to Teacher Training at CDC!At the Fall KABT Conference, I spoke about my AMAZING experience at the CDC last July.

The application process has been opened up for the 2015 Science Ambassadors.  I encourage you to apply!  Please see the information below and/or distribute the atGroup Picture_CDC Signtached pdf among your collegues:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invites middle- and high-school teachers to attend the 2015 CDC Science Ambassador Workshop. The free* 5-day professional development workshop focuses on training teachers to use examples from public health to illustrate basic math and science principals and concepts in the classroom. The Workskhop will be held from July 20-24 at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Throughout the week, CDC scientists present information on current public health topics and collaborate with participants to develop challenging and innovative public health-based lesson plans that align with Next Generation Science Standards. As part of the 2015 Science Ambassador Workshop, participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend seminars on current public health topics presented by CDC scientists
  • Collaborate with CDC scientists to develop lessons plans based on public health science topics that will be published on CDC’s website
  • Tour CDC’s state-of-the-art headquarters, including the Emergency Operations Center and the David J. Sencer CDC Museum
  • Earn 4.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • Expand professional networks

To be considered for participation, please e-mail the following materials to scienceambassador@cdc.gov by April 15, 2015:

  • Curriculum vitae or résumé
  • Recommendation letter from your school’s principal, department chair, or a colleague.
  • Personal statement (500 words or less) explaining your interest in the workshop, your expectations of the workshop, and how the workshop aligns with your teaching goals

*There is no charge for this workshop but participants are responsible for their own transportation, lodging and meals.

If you have any questions about this workshop or any of our other materials or activities, please visit the website at: http://www.cdc.gov/scienceambassador/ and/or to contact us by e-mail at scienceambassador@cdc.gov.2015 Come to Teacher Training at CDC!

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.

Phagehunting Success!

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Sure we do! I am proud to announce that Brenda Bott from Shawnee Mission West and Jeff Witters from Olathe South successfully GOT PHAGE in Kansas! Congratulations!

Below, you can see images of the subcultured plaques – the circular fields where their viruses have infected, replicated, and lysed small portions of the lawn of mycobacterium host.

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IsaacEli
IsaacEli

Brenda and Jeff were among the twenty participants in the Stowers Institute Phagehunting Workshop in early May facilitated by Dr. Arcady Mushegian at the institute and run by Dr. Deborah Jacobs-Sera from Hatfull Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh (Phagehunting Wiki site)

Brenda and Jeff named their novel phages “tallgrassmm” and “IsaacEli”, respectively, and here are their personal explanations for their choices…

“The name indicates the nature/source of the soil sample in which the phage was found” – Brenda

“Isaac helped me get the samples, mostly by “falling” into the mud whenever he got the chance. My boys may or may not be thrilled that I named a virus after them when they’re old enough to understand, but I figured I better include both. Can you imagine the fights if I didn’t!” – Jeff

So, congratulations again to Brenda and Jeff! And thanks to Arcady and Stowers and Deborah and the University of Pittsburgh for bringing this educational opportunity to the Kansas City area!