If a scientist makes a discovery in the lab and no one is around to hear it, does it have an impact?
I have been committed to sharing my love of science, communication, and education with my communities for almost a decade. Here are just a few of the tangible lesson plans and activities I have helped develop. Feel free to download and share with your community. If you use any activity or have further questions, please contact me. If you'd like to set up a virtual meeting with your class, your mentees, or yourself, please reach out via email (below).
Are you itching to write your own lesson plans and share them with educators? Join SciREN-San Diego! You will get trained in how to write lesson plans that align with Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 education. You will base your lesson plan on your own cutting-edge research and then have an opportunity share your lesson plans with local teachers at a virtual networking event!
Micro-Teaching: What can we learn from a worm?
developed for UCSD's Introduction to College Teaching course
This 10-minute voice-over video introduces you to C. elegans as a model system for studying behavior and neuroscience. I describe an experiment we use in the lab, allowing time for self-reflection and connections to issues of societal importance.
1) Know that scientists can use worms to understand human biology
2) List some strengths of C. elegans as a model system and the difficulties of studying behavior in humans
3) Appreciate and be able to discuss why animals (including humans) partake in 'risky' behaviors
Microbes are found everywhere in us and around us. In this activity, your students will use DNA to explore different microbiomes (places where microbes live). The DNA (the blueprint of life) will be a puzzle for the students to solve. The DNA sequences will overlap at the beginning and the end, allowing for a full gene to be found. Each microbiome will have three microbe sequences inside, so the students should find three unique sequences from the strips of paper. This is how scientists figure out what microbes are present in different environments (the human belly button, the ocean, a puddle, anywhere!).
*Note a simplified version of this activity was recently used at a BeWISE event, where only a single microbe was given to a team of 7th graders. It was plenty difficult to assemble reads of just one microbe!*
In this lesson, students will learn how scientists screen for drug resistance in bacteria and understand molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Students will be given DNA sequences from different strains of M. tuberculosis and utilize bioinformatics tools to identify DNA mutations in these sequences, translate these DNA sequences to identify amino acid changes, and identify the proteins affected by the mutation. From this, students will classify the strains by drug resistance and form hypotheses about the cellular targets of antibiotic drugs.
DNA is often called the blueprint of life. What if we thought of those blueprints as a work of art? We teamed up with graphic designer Chris Moffett to make that idea a reality. These DNA coloring sheets were created for the Nasher Museum of Art's Art in Science day in 2018.
Download DNA as art coloring sheets here.
My friends at LXS and JCVI received a lot of plastic DinoPets with no bioluminescent dinoflagellates. What is a kid to do with an empty dinosaur-shaped toy? Make it a mini-lab and perform your own experiments! The following activity could be performed with any see-through plastic container.