This lesson gives students an opportunity to pull information together and demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts discovered in earlier lessons. In the first of two activities, students use the scenario from Lesson 3 to evaluate technology from a historical perspective. They first develop timelines for key developments in biology, medicine, and technology. They then are asked, If you were a scientist in the mid-1800s, how much progress would you make in solving the problems in Lesson 3? In the second activity, students consider whether our technology toolbox is complete. They choose one of three problems and propose a technology or combination of technologies to solve it.
New technologies are developed, and old technologies are improved and refined, continuously. This must be done to meet the demands created by new and existing problems.
After completing this lesson, students will
See the following sections in Information about Using Technology to Study Cellular and Molecular Biology:
4 Major Techniques in the Study of Cellular and Molecular Biology
5 Technology and the Origins of Molecular Biology
|Activity 2||none required|
On each of 24 sheets of white paper, use the black marker to write one of the key developments listed on Master 4.2, Some Key Developments in Biology, Medicine, and Technology (eight developments are listed in each of three categories: biology, medicine, and technology). Do not provide the year of the development or the name(s) of the individual(s) involved. There are two options for this activity: use a blank transparency to record student responses as they construct the timeline for developments in biology, medicine, and technology, or stretch the string across the width of the classroom and affix it well at both ends. If you choose the second option, write one of the following on each of five sheets of white paper: 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900, or 2000. Use a paper clip to attach the sheet indicating 1600 at the near the left end of the string. Attach the sheet indicating 2000 near the right end of the string. Attach the remaining sheets with 1700, 1800, and 1900 in order between 1600 and 2000.
No preparations needed.
Write student responses on the board. The pictures present microscopes developed over approximately 250 years. Students can respond to differences in design, such as the development of multiple objective lenses. Some students may respond with differences that are implied, such as better optics, electrical components, and computerized components. The objective of this question is to engage student thinking about the changing face of science and technology across time.
For example, could they have identified the infectious agent? Could they have determined how the disease was caused? Students will probably have little specific knowledge of when relevant discoveries were made or when relevant technologies were developed. Allow the students to wonder about the timeline of scientific discovery. Even though the problems in Lesson 3 are the same as in any time period, the technologies and knowledge available at a given time will determine the extent to which the problems can be solved.
One group will focus on biology, the second on medicine, and the third on technology.
In classes with fewer than 24 students, you can give students more than one sheet or you can give the group all eight sheets. In classes with more than 24 students, you can add the following developments:
Other developments can be added at the teacher’s discretion.
Allow only a few minutes for students to do this.
This can be accomplished two ways. Students can call out their results to the teacher, who then records the information along a line drawn on a blank transparency projected for the class to see. Alternatively, students can clip their sheets to the string that spans the width of the room. Sheets should be placed at a location representing the approximate date of each development. For instance, a development occurring in 1850 would be placed midway between 1800 and 1900.
Students see that technologies available in 1850 were not capable of providing the information required to solve the problems in Lesson 3. Students also develop a firmer understanding of the relationship between technology development and the advancement of knowledge.
Teacher note: This activity should follow Activity 1 without a break in discussion.
You might ask students to suggest some new technologies and write these suggestions on the board. Student responses are less important than shifting the focus from existing technologies to new ones (or refinements of existing ones).
This is a challenging activity for students. However, the key issue is the rationale students provide for their technology. Students should consider at least the following:
Use class discussion to discover problems and weaknesses and to help group members refine their ideas.
Technologies should be described in sufficient detail to indicate the student’s understanding of the concepts presented in this module.
|Activity 1: Time Travel|
|What the Teacher Does||Procedure Reference|
|Show students a transparency of Master 4.1, Microscopes Across Time. Ask them to look at the microscopes and describe the differences they observe.||
|Ask the class to imagine that they are scientists or physicians living in the mid-1800s. How much progress do they think they would make solving the problems in Lesson 3?||Step 2|
|Divide the class into three groups.
|Show students a transparency of Master 4.2, Some Key Developments in Biology.
|Activity 2: Is That All There Is?|
|Divide the class into groups of four or five.
|Reconvene the class and allow each group to present its technology.||Step 5|
|As a final assessment, ask each student to prepare a written report describing his or her technology.||Step 6|
= Involves using a transparency