Development of Practical Teaching Material for the Singapore 2016 “A” level Higher 2 Syllabus Biology

Project Number
AFD 01/16 MS

Project Duration
July 2016 - June 2018

Status
In-Progress

Abstract
This project aims to develop laboratory teaching material aligned with the learning outcomes of the new 2016 Singapore “A” level Biology Higher 2 Syllabus. It has previously been shown that students that are allowed to perform hands on activities related to the learning outcome performed better that students that was not given that opportunity. Currently, schools are purchasing specialized laboratory kits as supplementary material to achieve individual learning outcomes in the higher biology syllabus. However, these materials are often expensive, non-renewable and may lack technical support, e.g. they do not have interactive web sites to support questions, answers and discussions arising from use of the materials by teachers and students. Many of these kits are designed to be general teaching aids for common topics in biology and are not intended to specifically cover the Singapore biology syllabus learning outcomes. The purpose of this project is to develop one kit, consisting of only a few components which, in different combinations, are customized to achieve two sections of learning outcomes in the 2016 Singapore “A” level Biology Higher 2 Syllabus. The teaching material comprises practical manuals and reagents accompanied by lecture slides and notes for both teachers and students as well as assessment materials. To facilitate collaborative learning, a website and/or social networking site will allow teachers and students using the materials in the kit to share their experiences and results as well as help troubleshoot for those with problems. The kit is designed to be integrated with the syllabus so that it can be used, in parts or as a replacement of current teaching materials, to achieve the respective learning outcomes via hands-on learning and problem-solving, which are essential elements of applied learning. As learning is enhanced by visual observations of events and changes, we intend to enhance the visual understanding by linking different biological phenotypes (e.g. antibiotic resistance, plasmid presence, bacteria species, promoters, etc.) with recombinant chromogenic proteins of different colours (e.g. a cell that is conjugated with the fertility plasmid will turn red). These coloured proteins can also be used to observe activation/repression of promoter, changes in protein structure, and other biological processes. Suitable donor(s) of the fertility plasmid, resistance plasmids, bacteriophages, chromogenic proteins and other reagents required for the experiments will also be developed and provided. As the components of the kit are biological materials (i.e. bacteria, bacteriophages, plasmids, etc.) school teachers with their lab technicians will be able to replenish them quite readily. Laboratory manuals and for teachers, technicians and students as well as tutorial and lecture material and notes will be developed to facilitate each of the learning outcomes listed in deliverables 1 and 2. The novelty of this teaching kit is the following : - a teacher can use this kit to fulfil several learning outcomes without modifications. - several learning outcomes can be achieved with just a few, replenishable reagents. - abstract concepts are made easier to comprehend by the use of intrinsically coloured reagents.

Funding Source
MOE

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