Science is A Verb in My Classes Making a Methane Generator…..to Breeding Snakes
This library of knowledge is very accessible in Bedford Area School District, since students are able to use laptops in each classroom. This enables students in my classes to research up-to-date information in environmental science or biology.
Each year, students study Shobers Run, a local stream, to check water quality parameters. Chemical, physical, and biotic data are collected and entered on the PA Bureau Of State Parks Website for other groups to utilize. We have just acquired Pasco probes so D.O., pH, and temperature can be collected electronically for greater accuracy.
After studying Shobers Run watershed, everyone does research on their own watershed, using topo maps, Web resources, and personal observations. Their research is displayed on posters or in booklets for other students to study.
Another project using technology was a scavenger hunt contest between each class to research Pennsylvania energy resources on the Web. Students were challenged to design a 3- paneled backboard display using graphics and data.that they printed from resources found on the Web.
Each class worked as a team to research and design their display. A number of students utilized email to communicate after school.
Students used the display as a visual aid for oral presentations on their topic of study. The four backboards were judged by other teachers and the class with the best display was invited to attend the Penn State Energy Expo.
At the Penn State Expo, students enjoyed driving some of the newest car designs that incorporated hydrogen fuel cells to save energy. The Expo was a chance for students to see a lot of new technology in energy conservation.
ADVANCED BIOLOGY AND A P BIOLOGY CLASSES The chance to use biotechnology adds a lot of excitement to my biology classes. Students transformed E. coli so they would glow after a jellyfish gene was transferred.
Some of the E. coli did not accept the plasmid containing the pGLO gene from jellyfish – those colonies did not glow green and served as a control in the transformation experiment.
After counting the transformed colonies, students were able to determine the transformation rate. This biotechnology lab gave students a better understanding of current research protocols using DNA.
Electrophoresis is another example of biotechnology that students used to determine DNA fingerprinting. Students loaded the gels and ran them overnight.
After the gels were stained, students measured the distance the DNA traveled to determine size of fragments. Measurements were taken to determine unknowns, much like in criminal cases.
Last fall students participated in a biotechnology program using high- tech equipment that our high school does not have.
Biology students traveled to the Univ. of Maryland Biotechnology Center where they studied the effects of temperature on development and heart rate of zebra fish embryos.
Biology students were able to videotape the zebra fish and record their development for further studies in our classroom at Bedford.
One of my foreign exchange students from Germany videotaped the cell division rate of the zebra fish. We also observed the frys heart beat.
Back at Bedford High School, students produced a digital movie documenting the zebra fish development. They utilized the multimedia TV studio to create their movie.
Their idea to use the Mission Impossible theme turned a rather dry topic of zebra fish development into an adventure video of spies and zebra fish trying to prevent a terrorist attack!
Computer simulations of labs are also an important tool when students have been absent, or can not do the lab for various reasons.
In conclusion, Bedford Area School District is striving to make technology a regular part of a students day. It is exciting to be an educator, since students are now the real explorers and we teachers are merely their guides. Using technology in the classroom creates a winning environment for learning!