California Educator

February/March 2021

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on size. ey looked at the averages of the eggs and any kind of inconsistencies in the data, using graphs and tables to report findings in Google Docs. Another experiment had second-year biotech students themselves design a protocol — detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to carry out an experiment — for how to propagate succulents (growing a plant from an existing plant cutting) and then figure out how certain variables could change or influence the results, charting their findings. Kits included notebooks, clear plastic cups, batteries, eye protection, funnels, potting soil, spatulas, ultra fine Sharpies, transfer pipettes, glucose tubes, diabetic glu- cose test strips, glue sticks, washi tape, small scales, and various powders that are not combustible. Building a pipeline to the biotech industry Nine teachers and approximately 1,000 students in San Mateo County participate in this project, says Rivera, who teaches a two-year elective program. Students often make videos of themselves doing projects, explaining the process, such as extracting DNA from wheat germ out of a tube. "It would have been boring without these labs," says Raiselle Kyaw, a senior in Rivera's program. "ey were fun to do and helped us under- stand concepts like flow charts and analyzing data. I definitely plan to work in the field of science or biotech." "We're learning a lot of stuff," says classmate Elbadan Abdallah. "I'd rather do this than just study online. And it's good because there are so many opportunities to work in the biotech industry." Both students enjoyed the virtual field trip to Genentech, a biotechnology company in South San Francisco dedicated to Pre-COVID, educator Rocky Ng works with students. "You can't replace the values of labs or teachers in a classroom setting. But using our lab kits and items students can buy at the supermarket for at-home experiments is the next best thing." —Rocky Ng, South San Francisco Classroom Teachers Association 49 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 21 Biotech's Bounty B I O T E C H I S T H E industry that created COVID-19 vaccines that will save millions of lives and get society up and running again. Biotech engineers also get credit for DNA advances that predict who is at risk for certain diseases, gene therapy to treat illnesses, evidence to solve crimes and find long-lost relatives, and cloning.

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