Curriculum for Teachers


Hello visitor,

The goal of this section is to present curriculum that can be used by teachers to teach how cells work. Using the links you can find presentations that compare cells to machines and robots. Thinking about cells as machines allows students to learn about what they do and how they do it. They also encourage students to think about how we manipulate organisms. We learn about how machines work by changing parts and seeing how they respond. Synthetic biologists do their work in the same way. Just like we can find new uses for machines as we change and modify parts synthetic biologists hope to modify cells to solve.

We will not have to time get into all the functions of a cell. I have chosen to focus on a few key topics, model organisms, and phenomena. Here is a list:

1) Lego NXT analogy: Cell structure and function are being compared to the Lego robotic set. Parts and functions will be compared and the similarities and differences explained. 2) Input/Processing/Output: Cell processes are being divided into three parts and explained separately. This would be analogous to what engineers do when they analyze a system. 3) Chemotaxis in Neutrophil and Dicty cells: We will look how these two cell types get a signal, understand it, and respond by moving to the source of the signal.

The UCSF iGEM team is studying cells that engage in movement in response to signal, chemotaxis. They hope to engineer some controls over these cell which will hopefully lead to new functions. The study of chemotaxis can provide a comprehensive way to understand the structures and functions of a cell. Although most cells do not move and other areas of cell are being ignored understanding chemotaxis can be a model for how cells take in input, understand and process the signal, and produce a response. The secondary goal is to present curriculum about this process can be engineered to produce new and novel response. The work presented in this section are mostly adapted from the lectures given during the two week boot-camp section of the iGEM summer session.

Over the summer I will work towards making the material more understandable and geared towards the state standards. I hope you will find the section useful for your classroom. Feel free to email me with comments, questions and concerns.

Thank you, Saber Khan

Lesson Plan - here is the explained lesson plan

Cells are like machines or robots

Introduction: Lets compare a cell to a LEGO robot Pre-Challenge: Build the Ball Hunter

Formal Assessment: Presentations and Rubric

Part A: Cells take information from the environment Challenge 1: Changing the Inputs

Part B: Cells think about what the information means Challenge 2: Changing the processing

Part C: Cells respond to that information Challenge 3: Changing the output