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Pradip Misra is a teacher in Bagdad, Arizona. Last year, he was awarded a Society for Science & the Public STEM Research Grant, funding given to teachers leading students in authentic research projects. Pradip received $2,500, which he used to purchase genetics, cellular biology, and electronic research equipment.
Below, he shares how the grant has helped his classroom.
Research in biochemistry, cellular biology, molecular biology and genetics are important, as these are the topics that will revolutionize the future of food production, eradicate diseases, make populations free of genetic disorders, and more. Students need to be exposed to the thrilling and exciting world of cloning, gene replication, bacteria, viruses, and fungi, as well as understand cell structures and their functions.
I am sure that many of my students will become the future scientists making the world a better place through scientific research.
Students also need to understand the molecular nature of genes and how understanding the DNA structure can help us control genetic disorders. Understanding molecular biology and biochemistry can encourage student interest in careers in these growing fields. Equipment was needed to make all of this possible.
The equipment enriched the student experience in subject areas such as cellular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and biotechnology. The materials were important—without them, exploring these topics would not have been possible. Our regular lab items are for common subject-related experiments and not for such detailed research topics. Students learned about techniques such as Gel electrophoresis, CRISPR, codons, Chemiluminescence, cloning, DNA and RNA replication, human and plant genetics, and molecular structure of cell parts and their functions.
Students used these materials to learn about DNA structure, mitosis and meiosis in plants and animals, and various chemical reactions happening in glowing insects, to name a few. Many students saw these materials for the first time and were thrilled to use them with astonishing results. These materials played an important role in enhancing their interest and greatly increased their subject knowledge.
I am seeing more students conduct biology and chemistry research projects at every level. My students are feeling more confident in handling the sophisticated lab equipment and now, they believe that they are like scientists! Also I am seeing excellent test scores in complex topics of biotechnology, biochemistry, cellular and microbiology due to the projects done by my students using this grant.
This grant has brought a fresh life into the science research program at my school.
Many students who never thought of being a doctor or a biologist are, now, looking at these career options. In all, I can say that this grant has brought a fresh life into the science research program at my school. I am sure that many of my students will become the future scientists making the world a better place through scientific research.
From September 27-29, 2019, the Society will welcome 200 high school science research teachers to Washington, D.C.