NWABR Bioethics in the Science Classroom, Day 2


Giant Tree in Pack Forrest Woods

Today we started out by looking at a ton of resources that are useful for both Bioethics and general Biology topics.  The list is posted below:


Northwest Association for Biomedical Research




Ethics Updates (University of San Diego)


Genetic Science Learning Center


High School Bioethics Curriculum Project


Genome Sciences- University of Washington


National center for Case Study Teaching in Science


National Institute of Health- Exploring Bioethics


Your Genes, Your Choices: Exploring the Issues Raised by Genetic Research



These topics were really awesome and you can request free resources from a lot of these resources.  I took a look at the National Institute of Health, which are very high quality, and ordered a lot of the free materials.  It is crucial to order these materials soon- as there is uncertainty due to budget constraints.  It appears that there is no funding going to the National Institute of Health in regards to educational outreach, basically getting rid of the office and all materials.


Next, we went through the basic curriculum of Bioethics 101 by NWABR.  We started by reviewing how many of the lead teachers integrate Bioethics into their current classes.  This was interesting, and I’m hoping to have a bioethical part of most of the units that I already cover.  Furthermore, when we cover Matt Killeen, our 9th grade World History teacher covers the Holocaust, I have some great resources on Ethics that came from the Nuremberg code as well as multiple articles that deal with morality.  I am very much interested in this collaboration to better teach our students.


We then reviewed the homework that we had to complete prior to the program.  I ended up reviewing most of the materials on the flight out here to Seattle.  Just the materials that we completed gave even greater understanding to the homework assignment, and I feel like I understand how to teach Ethics at a deeper level.


After lunch, we completed a case study called “Dennis’s Decision.”  This describes an ethical dilemma of treatment of a medical condition with a patient refusing treatment.  This was a very engaging case study, and the NWABR curriculum guides the process very thoroughly.  There’s just something extra when you have curriculum designed by teachers and created for teachers- everything just clicks better than from a textbook.


Finally, we ended the experience today by looking at the question “How much does the volume of a gummy bear increase after soaking in water?”  My group decided to check the gummy bears volume by water displacement.  We’ll look at our results tomorrow.


Gummy Bear Experiment

Soon, it will be dinner time, and tonight at 7 pm we will be watching the movie “Rare.”

Day 4- Teacher Pedagogy First Week

Today, we’ve started out the day by starting the first of our teacher pedagogy settings.  It reminds me of the technology class that I took in graduate school with Ruth-Ellen Verock-O’laughlin.  We spent the morning talking about different types of technology tools, and demonstrating how we use technology in each of our classrooms.  It was awesome to learn about some tools that I have never heard of, including Turn It In plagiarism checker, Socrative Student Response System (which is sort of like Poll Everywhere that I use), and Glogster, an online poster making website.

There are guiding questions that we have now as we try to finish up this session blogging about different responsibilities.  I didn’t realize we only have to do a blog post a week, but I’ll keep posting daily so the entire experience is well document.

The first question is to describe my process of assimilation into the laboratory.  I have had a fantastic week getting to know Fjodor, my lab partner, as well as Jonah and Pete, the undergraduates that work in the lab.  It’s also been great working with Project Manager Nate to go over the entire program.

The next question about the environment of the laboratory.  I like to think that our laboratory is very laid back, but in a productive way.  We have been receiving our equipment, so it’s always fun to see new cardboard boxes appear on our desk every day.  Really, I’m having a fantastic time.

I am working (as you know) with BUSAT to develop a series of laboratories for middle and high school students, incorporating science and technology with engineering.  My partner is Fjodor, who works at Somerville High School.  We’re working with a bunch of Undergraduate and Graduate students to accomplish our ultimate goal of testing equipment with a balloon launch from Mt. Greylock.

The essence of our research is how to teach students about near space experiences.  One facet is teaching the students about near space through a variety of labs, and the second facet is making meaningful labs that can be used for a variety of settings.

We haven’t really run into many challenges during week 1.  I had expected that it would be difficult to jump into the program, but Fjodor and I have been doing a fantastic job, and we’re ahead of the timeline that we had established at the beginning of the program. 

We’re planning on heading to lunch, and continuing work this afternoon on finishing up two projects- hacking our cameras with CHDK, so that they will take pictures every 30 seconds, and finishing up our supply inventory so we can place the order. 

Tonight I go back to Western Massachusetts- it’ll be nice to get out of the city for a break, as much as I love it here!