Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Biograph - Amy Tom's Freshman Biology Class

The following article was originally posted in the March 4th Eblast from Superintendent Gormley:
I would like to commend one of our high school biology teachers, Amy Tom, who recently hosted a group of professors from MIT to see the work our students are doing on an innovative new program, Biograph.  Biograph is a National Science Foundation funded, multi-year research study designed to improve introductory biology learning in high school classrooms.  It is about facilitating introductory biology learning through an understanding of complex systems which is supported by computational thinking.  Project partners include the MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program, the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and Boston-metro area teachers and students.
Ms. Tom is currently implanting Biograph in her freshmen biology classes.  The students will complete five activity modules throughout the school year.  This past week students worked on a module simulating Gene Regulation and Protein Synthesis. Ilana Schoenfeld, Research Manager/Education Content Manager of MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program, along with Liz Ryder, Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and David Reider, Principal Education Design, visited the classroom to see the students work on the simulation and their progress from earlier in the year.  This year’s classes have three more modules to work through in preparation for the biology MCAS in June 2013.
Ms. Tom was told that several colleges and universities are looking to implement some of the course work from this program into their first year biology classes at the college level. Our Milton High School students are currently using this material in Freshman Biology classes.