Colorado Higher-Education Interdisciplinary Program - Colorado State University GK-12 Program: A multi-disciplinary research and teaching program in biomedical engineering for discovery and understanding of cell communication

Modified STEM Unit Based on the Junior Fellow Project at Thompson Valley High School

Lisa Adams and Krystle Frahm
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Thompson Valley ProjectIn the fall of 2011, Krystle and I designed a modified STEM unit based on the 2010 GK12 Junior Fellow Project for general Biology classes at Thompson Valley High School. We believe that all students should be exposed to interdisciplinary curriculum because it allows them to become more autonomous as active learners and thinkers. As instructors, it allows us to facilitate lessons that are both rigorous and relevant to today’s research.

The major goal of designing this unit was to ensure that students were exposed to all of the STEM content areas while infusing the biosensor research in to the core Biology curriculum. Students were divided into lab groups where they had to discuss and implement specific tasks within the unit all pertaining to different areas of study. These subjects included mathematics, physics, biology, and simple engineering/design. Due to the variety of learners in the Biology classroom, we decided to offer some scaffolding for students. Our goal was to allow them to explore the labs, both inside and outside of the classroom, and to review simple elements of science and mathematics. These interdisciplinary lessons were easily infused into the cell biology unit.

Thompson Valley ProjectIt is our goal that the students show growth in understanding the STEM content areas and also connect with the content in a way that persuades them to pursue a job in science after high school. It was also to demonstrate why the research that is being carried out by researchers at CSU is both relevant and connected to their lives.