Biology lab equipment is expensive. Most middle and high schools don’t have it within their budgets to properly equip their students with the tools necessary to learn the basics of synthetic biology. In order to make some of these resources available to students who otherwise would’t have access to them, a team at Northwestern University has launched a set of STEM learning kits called BioBits.
BioBits gives middle and high school students the opportunity to conduct biology experiments using cutting-edge technology without an expensive lab. By adding water and simple reagents to freeze-dried cell-free reactions, students can study molecular biology with these kits. After a pilot study was published in May, BioBits has released a new set of kits that now includes modules for CRISPR and antibiotic resistance as well.
How do STEM kits like these impact the long-term learning of students? Join the discussion on Vialogues.
Excerpts from the discussion:
@01:17 RuthS: This is a great kit! Biology can be taught in a variety of ways, many much less complicated than the version presented in this video. But giving kids experience with molecular biology at such a young age could really help them understand what scientists do on a daily basis better.
@04:55 Rebecca Sullivan: It is so important for students to be able to run experiments and get a feel for the hands-on nature of science. Without such experiences, it's easy to get the idea that science is just following a step-by-step method when in reality the discipline is deeply embodied and social. Two experiments can turn out very differently even if both follow the exact same method. That's an important thing for students to experience.