Teach Tech: Increasing the Use of Biotechnology in High School Science Classrooms (Lead PI: Mary Jo Koroly)

Teach Tech: Increasing the Use of Biotechnology in High School Science Classrooms
Students Reached:~ 1,400 ninth and tenth grade students, through training of 14 teachers
Lead Researcher:  Dr. Mary Jo Koroly, University of Florida
Lead Teacher:Dr. Janet Bisogno and Ms. Dominique Shimizu, Celebration High School  

Dr. Janet Bisogno worked with fellow Celebration High School teacher, Ms. Dominque Shimizu, and Dr. Mary Jo Kolory, of the University of Florida, to design four professional development modules for teachers. Through these modules, the seven science teachers at Celebration High School learned how to perform the techniques of pipetting, gel electrophoresis, blood typing, and ELISA. In each module, teachers were taught the fundamental principles behind the showcased technique and subsequently performed a complementary laboratory exercise. This exercise could be incorporated into their science curricula and was appropriate for their ninth and tenth grade students.

In addition to providing and training each teacher to lead each laboratory section, “equipment lockers” that contained all reagents and equipment necessary for each exercise were prepared. These equipment lockers were available to teachers to facilitate using these lab exercises in their classrooms.

All seven teachers completed each training module, and five of seven teachers have used the laboratory exercises in their courses. One teacher, who had reservations about implementing one of the technique modules with her students, was assisted in its execution by Dr. Bisogno and Ms. Shimizu. The students performed well, and this encouraged other teachers to implement more modules themselves.

Although one teacher did not use these modules for fear they were too advanced for his/her students, the remaining teachers enjoyed the professional development and the chance to incorporate these laboratory techniques into their courses. Teacher satisfaction with the modules was assessed by pre and post module surveys. Of the potentially 1,400 students who will benefit from this teacher training, 60% are from groups underrepresented in STEM and roughly 60% come from low-income households.

Dr. Janet Bisogno led the design and the execution of each development module. Ms. Shimizu administered pre and post assessments, helped prepare equipment lockers, and assisted with in-class execution of laboratory activities. Dr. Koroly provided feedback on module design.

ASBMB HOPES funding was used to purchase pipettors, pipettes, 96-well plates, a power source and gel rig, an HIV test simulation kit, and laboratory consumables. Celebration High School has purchased a thermocycler, further expanding the type of laboratory activities feasible at this school. Since 2012, photosynthesis activities have been added and relevant equipment lockers prepared, and Dr. Bisogno and colleagues are developing a photography locker. Teachers will continue to receive training in biomedically relevant techniques in the future.