I don’t think I told you all this

Monday morning I start a couple-hour-a-week volunteer assistant teacher
gig with a high school biology teacher.  Some of it, at least, I
get to teach myself.

I was thinking I’d cover phylogeny, at the very least, and maybe cancer
and immunology, along with getting the basics laid down right. 
Anything else I should throw in?

5 Responses to “I don’t think I told you all this”

Yeah, Meg is Norm’s lab bitch. For which I envy her.

Nifty ideas, all! Please keep them coming.

And I think I’ll make a Winogradsky Column in class, too.

Owen - September 12th, 2004 at 11:37 am

If you can get away with it you should teach them why “prokaryote” is a useless word and that as scientists they should define things based on what they are, not what they are not.

Um. It might be good to do a quick overview on some simple signalling stuff, if it fits. Especially since that’s so huge in cancer and immunology. I’m not sure what a simple pathway would be, at least not off the top of my head, but I’m sure you could find something.

I’m not sure what your biology teacher covers, but there’s a big thing that I find that most teachers overlook. “The cell is dynamic. When I say something is turned ‘off’ that only means that it’s really downregulated a lot- usually. Not completely off . . .” My poor little freshmen couldn’t handle it when Dr. S. told them that only some of the proteins were inactivated, but low levels of product would still be produced in the “off” state.

ShortSpeedFreak - September 11th, 2004 at 11:39 pm

The calmodulin NFkB pathway is a pretty straightforward one, if you do go that route.

I’m really glad you’re doing this, Owen. It lets you use your creative and intellectual sides a bit more than your current job does, and is a noble goal to boot. I bet you’ll have a great time. 🙂

Paradoxdruid - September 12th, 2004 at 1:50 am

Whoa, speedy, looks like someone has been around Norm. He’s spent the last three weeks de-brainwashing us about the existence of “prokaryotes” in our diversity of biosphere class. It was traumatizing.

I’d recommend trying to teach them something that they can see every day with their own eyes, so they don’t view it as just a “school thing,” but as a very real part of the world about them. I’d really focus on evolution when you cover phylogeny. You could also talk about genetics… it really helps if you first get the students interested in the subject by researching their own history (such as cancer in their family, or genetic traits, even eye color, etc) and then teach about it.

(I was a learning assistant for developmental biology last Spring so I just got into the whole teaching thing a bit too much.)

Good luck, Owen! I know teaching can be really tough, especially with those high school kids.

Teisha - September 12th, 2004 at 4:22 am

I don’t think it would be tough to integrate the parts about prokaryote with the phylogeny and evolution parts. And Winogradsky columns are cool too. As far as adding a new suggestion: I think if there’s some way to demonstrate how real science is experimental and hands-on as opposed to just learning facts that would be real good. I don’t think I really saw much of that aspect while I was in high school.

mcmillan - September 13th, 2004 at 7:00 am

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