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Integrating Engineering, Modeling, And Computation Into The Biology Classroom: Development Of Multidisciplinary High School Neuroscience Curricula

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Think Outside the Box! K-12 Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

18

Page Numbers

14.756.1 - 14.756.18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5662

Download Count

30

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Paper Authors

biography

Tara Gomez California Institute of Technology

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Tara Gomez received her B.S. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a Ph.D. Candidate in Biology at the California Institute of Technology. Her research is in the area of Biochemistry and protein degradation. She was the Neuroscience Curriculum Coordinator for the 2008 YESS Program.

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Oliver Loson California Institute of Technology

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Oliver received his B.S. in the neurosciences from the University of California, Riverside. He is now in the biology graduate program at the California Institute of Technology, and is working towards earning a doctorate of philosophy. Oliver is investigating the role of mitochondrial genetics in diseases affecting this organelle, and is also trying to develop techniques for manipulating the mitochondrial genome.

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Douglas Yung California Institute of Technology

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Douglas Yung earned a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Caltech, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from UCLA. He received the NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship and is currently working at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. His research focuses on photonics, biosensor development, microfluidics, molecular & environmental microbiology, as well as astrobiology. He maintains the website and taught biostatistics, network circuitry, and neuronal modeling in the 2008 YESS program.

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Sindhuja Kadambi California Institute of Technology

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Sindhuja received her B.S. in Genetics from the Rutgers University. She is currently working on her Ph.D. work at Caltech, studying glutamate gated chloride channels using electrophysiology.

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Paul Lee California Institute of Technology

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Paul received his B.S. in Chemistry in 2003 from Dartmouth College. He is currently working on his Ph.D. work at Caltech, studying the response of DNA to oxidative damage.

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Luz Rivas California Institute of Technology

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Luz Rivas is Program Manager in the Office for Minority Student Education at the California Institute of Technology. Luz serves as the Director of the YESS Program. She received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Integrating Engineering, Modeling and Computation into the Biology Classroom: Development of a Multi-Disciplinary High School Neuroscience Curricula

Abstract

The YESS program is a three-week summer residential course that brings together extraordinarily talented high school students from underrepresented minority groups to study at the California Institute of Technology. The YESS program is intended for students who exhibit an interest in engineering and science, and wish to engage in collaborative learning. During the three-week program, students take science courses and are exposed to laboratory tours, faculty lectures, and college admissions workshops.

The neuroscience course for the 2008 YESS program was an intensive survey of many different fields, and used lectures, demonstrations and laboratory activities to teach topics such as brain anatomy, Drosophila melanogaster pain perception, electrophysiology, recombinant DNA technology, neuronal modeling, the molecular basis of learning and systems neuroscience.

Neuroscience is a branch of biology, yet neuroscientists are typically highly diversified scientists and engineers. Neuroscience spans a wide array of disciplines that include engineering, mathematics, computer science, biophysics and medicine. The diversity found in the neurosciences evolved naturally because of the fields’ need for creative problem solving concerning the technical difficulties that plague experimentation with the brain. The California Institute of Technology’s neuroscience researchers have synergistic relationships between engineers and scientists of various disciplines, and together, they advance our knowledge in this field. In line with the efforts of our institution, we created a neuroscience curriculum that shows the interplay between engineering and biology, taking care to keep the material accessible for a gifted high school audience.

The creation and implementation of a multi-disciplinary neuroscience curriculum for the YESS program is the focus of this paper. Specifically, we will address how we integrated engineering, mathematical modeling and computation into the curriculum as a tool for communicating intellectually rigorous ideas concerning the neurosciences. We assessed our curriculum using a system of pre- and post-examinations. By combining the results of these assessments with student surveys and feedback, we conclude that the integration of engineering, modeling and computation was an effective way to teach neuroscience.

The modules we describe here, can be adapted by other educators in K-12 advanced science courses as a vehicle for introducing engineering concepts or in an engineering course as demonstratives of engineering applications in the life sciences.

1. Introduction The increasing interdependence of science and engineering disciplines has led educators to rethink the way science is taught in K-12 grades. The interdisciplinary nature of emerging science and engineering fields requires students to be able to integrate ideas from several subject

Gomez, T., & Loson, O., & Yung, D., & Kadambi, S., & Lee, P., & Rivas, L. (2009, June), Integrating Engineering, Modeling, And Computation Into The Biology Classroom: Development Of Multidisciplinary High School Neuroscience Curricula Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5662

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015