Extreme Biotechnology in the Classroom

December 10-11, 1999, Ruidoso High School, Ruidoso, NM

workshop presented by

The Southwest Biotechnology and Informatics Center

SWBIC Educational Resources  >> Workshops  >> Extreme Biotechnology

The Extreme Biotechnology in the Classroom workshop was presented for K-12 educators December 10-11, 1999 at Ruidoso High School, Ruidoso, NM. The workshop was developed for 7th-12th grade sciene educators to present new and fun information on extremophiles, extremozymes, and recombinant DNA technologies, how this information correlates with the state and national science standards and benchmarks, how this information links to related topics in textbooks, and how to use the Internet as a research tool for teachers and students.

Participants of the workshop had the following comments:

  • “This was very interesting. I’d like to learn more!”
  • “Great to have new ways of teaching this subject matter.”
  • “Great to be able to talk to other teachers interested in this field.  It makes my creative ideas flow and I realize I am not alone out there!”

Workshop Schedule

SWBIC Resources

Evaluating Internet Pages Activity
Enzymes and Laundry Detergents Experiment (Microsoft Word)
The PCR Dash (Microsoft Word)
Transcription and Translation Visual Exercises (Microsoft Word)
Watch an Enzyme Work (Microsoft Word)
Wheat Germ DNA Isolation Experiment (Microsoft Word)
DNA Fingerprinting: Analysis of Crime Scene DNA (Microsoft Word)

Microsoft Word Viewer (size: 3952016 bytes) is a free utility available for download from the Microsoft WWW site.

Information and Article Links

Biotechnology Works: Industrial Enzymes (Biotechknowledge) – A list of enzymes used for industrial purposes. Some are genetically engineered.

BioTrek (UW-Madison) – A list of links to biotechnology resources for teachers and students.

Cloning for Medicine (Scientific American) – An article by Ian Wilmut on the medical uses for cloned mammals.

Cloning Hits the Big Time (Scientific American) – An article describing the commercial interest in mammal cloning.

Glossary of PC & Internet Terminology (PC & Internet Glossary) – A very thorough glossary of terms.

Extreme Environments on Earth: Analogs for Exobiology (UW) – This is actually a recruiting tool for the Astrobiology department at the University of Washington, but it has some very good information on how the study of life in extreme environments on earth can aid in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Extremophiles (Scientific American) – A very good general article on extremophiles.

The Genetic Code (Access Excellence) – Tables of the genetic code and the three letter codes for amino acids.

The Internet (Whatis.com) – A brief description and history of the Internet with links to the definitions of many related terms.

Kary B. Mullis (Access Excellence) – A brief history of the inventor of the Polymerase Chain Reaction.

Life Beyond Boiling (Discover) – An article from discover about research on thermophiles.

Make Your Own Laboratory Equipment (The Natural History of Genes) – Complete instruction for constructing your own electrophoresis gel box.

Microbiology 401 Class Notes: Chapter 8: Temperature, Pressure and pH (Penn State) – Background information on the effects of temperature, pressure and pH on the growth of microorganisms and how extremophiles manage their extreme natural environments. Includes a section on barophiles.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) (Access Excellence) – A useful graphic illustration of the PCR reaction.

Polymerase Chain Reaction – Xeroxing DNA (Access Excellence) – A good but brief description of PCR.

Thermophilic Microorganisms (The University of Edinburgh) – A detailed chapter mainly covering thermophiles. It also includes an introduction defining psychrophiles, mesophiles, thermophiles and hyperthermophiles, and links to related resources.

Wholesome, Holistic and Holy: Controversies Over Biotechnology and Food (Univ. of Wisconsin) – An interesting essay discussing the controversies over genetically modified foods.

Experiments and Classroom Activity Links

Biotech Education: DNA (Univ. of Wisconsin) – A graphic illustration of a simple experiment to determine whether or not a substance in DNA.

DNA Dance: An Activity to Demonstrate DNA (Univ. of Wisconsin) – A fun interactive classroom activity to demonstrate some of the structural features and functions of DNA.

The Hot Water Vent (Scholastic’s Magic School Bus (Microsoft)) – A teacher’s guide for a classroom activity about deep sea vents.

How do Proteins Work? (Genetic Science Learning Center) – A set of experiments observing the action of proteases in pineapple on gelatin.

Making a Polymer from Glue! (Immunex, Corp.) – An activity to demonstrate the concept of polymers.

PCR – Frying Pan (Share 105) – A procedure for performing the polymerase chain reaction without an expensive thermal cycler.

Spooling the Stuff of Life (Scientific American) – A DNA isolation experiment using equipment from any kitchen.

Teaching Molecular Genetics Using Paper DNA Sequences (Loomis Chaffee High School) – Several classroom activities to teach different aspects of molecular genetics and recombinant DNA techniques using paper models. Download it from http://science.loomis.org/Science_dept/downloads.html.

Journal References

In Industry, Extremophiles Begin to Make Their Mark, E. Pennisi, Science, May 2, 1997, 276 p. 705.