Summer to-do list: Become a BioBuilder teacher in 14 days!

This summer, BioBuilder's world-renowned classroom and laboratory activities will be presented to teachers through a social, online platform. In just two weeks, teachers everywhere can learn how to bring 21st century biotechnology to their schools this fall.

BioBuilder’s life-changing science curriculum inspires and prepares students for college success and careers in STEM

MIT Teacher workshop

Since 2011, BioBuilder has been training educators in synthetic biology through their professional development workshops. From the first workshop held at MIT in 2011 for 27 high school and college educators, BioBuilder’s teacher professional development has grown. A best estimate says BioBuilder’s workshops have engaged 650 educators from 35 states and 19 countries. In 10 years, BioBuilder has offered more than 50 in-person summer workshops which have been held in at MIT in Cambridge, MA, at BioBuilder’s Learning Lab @ LabCentral, and at universities and high schools in 12 US states. In 2018, teacher training went global, thanks to a workshop offered in Mexico at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California.

BioBuilder’s unique approach to teacher training has garnered attention. In 2013, Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matt Malone stopped by the workshop at MIT to carryout a BioBuilder experiment and to recognize the importance of BioBuilder’s work. Secretary Malone spoke to the teachers attending the workshop, noting that the opportunities for “tech tinkering” provided by BioBuilder are an important component of science education.

Matt Malone and Rebekah Ravgiala

BioBuilder uses a two part “train the trainers” model for educating teachers.

  • BioBuilder Essentials Training introduces educators to BioBuilder’s synthetic biology curriculum with a mixture of classroom, laboratory and design activities. These workshops are co-led by a practicing bioengineer and a high school teacher. Participants gain hands-on experience with BioBuilder’s core labs, leaving these workshop with ready-to-teach lessons and the experience to implement them in their classrooms.
  • BioBuilder Advanced Training is offered to educators who have completed the Essentials Training and who are seeking an opportunity to advance their knowledge in synthetic biology. Teachers who complete Advanced Training are prepared to lead teacher training workshops of their own.

Little did I know that 8 years (after taking a BioBuilder workshop) I would be leading a synthetic biology program that has won three grand prizes at the iGEM competition and inspired hundreds of kids to do research science... I thank BioBuilder for giving me an awesome foundation to build upon.”

-- Jude Clapper, teacher, Taipei American School
Jude at the bench

BioBuilder teachers have integrated BioBuilder’s curriculum in their classrooms, and started award-winning BioBuilderClubs for their schools. Year after year, BioBuilder teachers are recognized with prestigious awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the MassBioEd Champions for Biotech Education, NABT Outstanding Teacher of the Year, the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence, and the Raytheon MA STEM Teacher of the Year. What an impressive group!

BioBuilder teachers have also gone on to become ambassadors for the BioBuilder program itself, leading workshops and roundtables at national meetings such as the NABT Professional Development Conference, NSTA National Conference, and the Learn.Design.Bio conference at the University of Pennsylvania.

Starting this year: BioBuilder workshops combine online and hands-on learning

Sound interesting? In July and August, you and any teachers you know can join one of BioBuilder’s 2-week sessions. The workshops are in a more flexible format, with self-paced lectures, reading and assignments leading up to least two synchronous sessions to run an experiment. This summer the workshops will offer hands-on experience with the iconic BioBuilder lab Eau That Smell.

And you won’t be going it alone — Dr. Natalie Kuldell, BioBuilder Founder and Dr. Rebekah Ravgiala, an award-winning BioBuilder Teacher, will guide you through from start to finish.

“Letting willing teachers get together to discuss, share and critically think about material, how to disseminate it, how to evaluate it is exactly what is needed for education."

-- Kevin McCormick, BioBuilder Teacher from Lee's Summit, MO
tweet from Lindsey

Session dates are June 30–July 15 and July 21–August 5

More information, a downloadable brochure, and registration are linked here

Perhaps the most important outcome of teacher training is the benefits it brings to students. BioBuilder teachers inspire the next generation of innovators — from middle school to college — helping them to pursue their interest in STEM  and to prepare for college and career success.

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