Gas station without pumps

2011 November 7

A First Attempt to Bring Computational Biology into Advanced High School Biology Classrooms

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 00:32
Tags: , , , ,

As those who have been reading my blog fo awhile know, I’m on a task force attempting to get bioinformatics into high school biology (particularly AP bio) classes, and I have a series of posts about Advanced Placement Biology courses and the AP Bio exam. Of course, I’m not the only person interested in achieving this, and others have done far more than I have.

There is a nice paper in PLoS Computational Biology: A First Attempt to Bring Computational Biology into Advanced High School Biology Classrooms, that describes one attempt by researchers at University of Colorado, Boulder to get some understanding of BLAST and tree-building algorithms into high-school bio classrooms in a fairly minimal way (3 lessons of 1–2 class periods each).  They provide the curriculum they used and a “post-game” analysis, where they look at what they would do differently next time, based on the successes and failure of this first attempt.

The tools and basic approach they used seem reasonable, though I question the value of teaching what an algorithm is with the “make a peanut butter sandwich” example, classic as that is. Along with the students, I wonder about the relevance to an AP Bio class.  Doing the living computer exercise seems ok, but it might be better to apply it to a curriculum-relevant algorithm, such as creating a Punnett square.

This paper seems like an important resource, and so I have added it to the list I collected at Resources for bioinformatics in AP Bio.  Incidentally, the authors point to this blog, but to the early post Advanced Placement Bio changes announced, rather than to the more relevant Resources for bioinformatics in AP Bio.

Note to UCSC grad students: I have some contacts with local high school bio teachers, if some of you want to try one of these outreach experiments in education, and I would be glad to facilitate meeting and planning.

About these ads

2 Comments »

  1. [...] of posts about Advanced Placement Biology courses and the AP Bio exam.  I recently posted about an attempt in Colorado to introduce bioinformatics into AP bio and invited grad students in my department to do something [...]

    Pingback by Starting a local effort to get bioinformatics into AP bio « Gas station without pumps — 2011 November 19 @ 10:30 | Reply

  2. [...] A First Attempt to Bring Computational Biology into Advanced High School Biology Classrooms  (gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com) [...]

    Pingback by PLoS Computational Biology: Bioinformatics: Starting Early « Gas station without pumps — 2012 February 25 @ 17:50 | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 268 other followers

%d bloggers like this: