Reflection: Online Resources The Life and Times of Henrietta Lacks - Section 3: Explore


The use of blended learning tools in my Biotechnology program began as a means of addressing the same lack of available resources many instructors face in science classrooms across our nation. Initially I created stations in an effort to maximize instruction time while students performed task on limited tools such as the 3-4 desktop computers we had in our class or the 2-3 microscopes we had that actually worked.

However, after years of "blending", I just could not imagine teaching any other way due to the benefits I have seen in greater student comprehension and the increased ownership my students have in their learning. In this lesson students use an online platform called Glogster to create a multimedia "glog". The first benefit of using this online tool is that using increases digital literacy. Students use the writing process, media, music and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understandings of an era that serves as the backdrop to the text, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", in order to gain an greater understanding of the significance this time period has in relation to the events surrounding the groundbreaking discovery of HeLa cells.

The second benefit of using Glogster with my students has been observing how they are able to achieve mastery of content and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects Writing standard Production and Distribution: “With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.” (Common Core Standards, 2010) Although the creation of the final product is an investment in classtime (oftentimes one class period and time at home or afterschool) the richness of the experience certainly pays huge dividends in the depth of thought and understanding of the influence of culture on the biotechnology industry.

  Benefits of Blended Learning Tools in STEM Classrooms
  Online Resources: Benefits of Blended Learning Tools in STEM Classrooms
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The Life and Times of Henrietta Lacks

Unit 2: Bioethics: Issues in Biotechnology
Lesson 2 of 6

Objective: Students will utilize computer technology and multimedia to research topics related to a specific era in US History construct an online, interactive poster displaying historical images, text and sounds from the 1950’s and articulate the significance of their research and multimedia project during a presentation to their peers and/or learning community.

Big Idea: Popular culture as a great influence on the pace of innovation and discovery in science.

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immortal life of henrietta lacks
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