Biology Basics Build Character
Lab students start their high school science journeys with a required biology course. It’s a foundational course. A building block. An opportunity. U-High teachers Daniel Calleri and Daniel Bobo-Jones know that they have an important job to do with the impressionable adolescents in their classes: “Science education trains students to detect lies and falsehoods, develop a sense of skepticism, and recognize when basic laws are violated. Thinking scientifically puts students in a better position to not be fooled. Understanding how information accumulates allows sound determinations to be made about information presented in any capacity.” It’s so much more than an entry-level science course.
Our young scientists get hands-on experience working with populations of Hermetia illucens, a species of Stratiomyid fly, in order to explore its value as a potential model organism that Jones and Calleri say, “are the cornerstones of modern biological research.” So when thousands of Hermetia illucens are delivered to school, students immediately become caretakers, researchers, innovators, and problem solvers in their efforts to find the most effective means to rear their larvae. Yet, the lessons go well beyond the biological sciences: “They are humbled by working with a simple organism and empowered when they know something so deeply. The whole project is designed to mimic the beginning of all good biological research.”
Despite the project’s success, our biology faculty is always looking for ways to grow and improve. With new tools and updated technology, students could explore establishing lab populations of Hermetia illucens. They could engage in experiments that add to the existing literature. The basics could give way to breaking new scientific ground.
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