- Probably the most important ideas that I am taking away from this class is how incredibly integrated biology really is. I have long been aware that physics is the core science. If anyone is to really understand biological phenomena, one must possess a basic understand of the laws of physics, forces and their applications. Every aspect of the innovations inspired by nature (mainly insects) has its foundation in physics. Hidden in the laws of physics are coulomb's forces which guide the self-assembly of molecules that living systems have managed to manipulate into amazing polymers that are both strong and flexible and the same time.
This is such an important field that I found several universities that offer Master's programs in biomimetics and bio-materials. This is something that I can encourage my own students to pursue in their college education.
- My school is a physics first school. Although I don't feel that our incoming freshmen are ready for trig-based physics, I do believe that this is the correct path to follow in future generations. This course cemented my decision on this issue. Our district follows the physics ---chemistry-----biology path so that juniors are taking high school biology for the first time. This path was suggested by physicist Leon Lederman years ago. This change met with GREAT RESISTANCE in our district, mainly because the biology instructors has little to know experience in physics and had difficulty tying in students previous physics experience into the biology curriculum. THIS COURSE, I feel, could provide these instructors a WEALTH of physics applications!! I believe this course should be a requirement for all science instructors, including the elementary teachers in charge of covering science concepts. It is refreshing treatment of the intergrative nature of science and promotes collaboration between students and teachers. The article from Week 1: "Promoting Creativity in Biology Class" was pretty much covered during the progression of this course and I highly recommend this to my fellow colleagues.
- The new NGSS standards and common core demand a cross-disciplinary approach to science education, stressing the need for students to possess an deep conceptual understanding of how their natural world works. This class more than addresses this issue. I feel that I have been provided an extremely powerful teaching tool with several resource to adapt to the needs of my students. I am already thinking of ways to begin my first day of AP Biology withe the Flocking activity we performed in Module 6. Why not start the year with an activity that can bridge animal behavior with mathematics? Appendix F of the NGSS list outlines the steps for incorporating Science and Engineering into the curriculum. This class, designing a robot or exploring the mechanisms of motion in an insect and applying to a robot, more than meet this criteria. I am hopeful that courses like this will be required in all science curricula. See the link to NGSS Appendix F Science Standards associated with Engineering.
I plan on using this graphic in my classroom to illustrate to my students the interdisciplinary nature of biology and the importance of design influenced by chemistry and physics in the biological arena.
For those of you following this post, I leave you with a video that summarizes some of the bioinspired products that are currently on the market. All of the designs and products were derived by observing patterns found in the natural world