Academic journal article The American Biology Teacher

Dear Biology Educators

Academic journal article The American Biology Teacher

Dear Biology Educators

Article excerpt

Are we teaching concepts that are relevant to our students? The headlines answer this question for us:

Restaurants Closed, E. coli Causing Illness

Spinach Carries E. coli causing deaths

These are just two of the more recent examples. Are we prepared to explain the science behind the information given in the news articles? Can we explain the processes scientists use to track and identify the cause of these outbreaks?

I don't know about all of our members but I do know that those who participated in our 2006 Professional Development Conference in Albuquerque are better prepared to share the science behind the headlines. In fact, the participants received information that has not been published in textbooks. The attendees learned not only new information but also how scientists thought about the problems. The participants were listening to the scientists who are making the discoveries that impact the headlines.

In our first General Session, Professor Brett Fenlay of the University of British Columbia explained several different approaches to controlling E. coil contamination and prevention. One of his approaches is to vaccinate the cows! What a great idea--and it works! I was fascinated by his explanation of how he arrived at this solution. I think a classroom of fast food eaters and salad lovers would be interested.

The American Society for Microbiology sponsored an all-day symposium, "Discovering Microbes. …

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