Goals for the BioBLAST© multimedia software development project:

(1) To design and develop a curriculum supplement that incorporates current research regarding teaching and learning and is consistent with national educational reform efforts currently underway.

(2) To provide much needed, classroom-based research regarding how state-of-the-art information and communication technologies enhance student learning.

(3) To demonstrate how NASA's Space Life Sciences research can provide valuable and motivating resources to enrich student learning and performance in science, math, and technology education.

Objectives for Teaching and Learning:


(1) Provide an underlying theme that emphasizes the inter-relatedness of living things and also represents a challenging scientific problem which students are invited to respond to as researchers, designers, and explorers. Students will learn that they are researching and suggesting solutions to a problem that NASA scientists and engineers are currently trying solve.

(2) Provide both an experimental and theoretical model for teaching biology as a study of living systems. Through their interactions with the CELSS simulation, students can see how plant growth and harvesting can be designed to provide food, oxygen, and water supplies to sustain human life in a desolate lunar environment. Students will also learn the importance of designing ways to recover and recycle vital substances from human and plant waste in order to sustain a regenerative system. This curriculum will be presented in a manner that will require students to collaborate and communicate within and across groups. When working on experiments and research activities, some students will explore content areas in depth, and will become the class experts on these topics. Students will have to share their expertise and data in order to design their own model for a regenerative system.

(3) Engage students in activities that require higher order thinking skills. When students discuss the human conditions associated with life on a remote, lunar habitat, they must consider the human and social ramifications of science and technology applications.

(4)Lunar Base Provide a context for learning that focuses on the future. As suggested in the national guidelines, not in the sense of predicting the future but preparing young people to help plan the society and their own lives for living, learning, and working in the world in which they will be spending their lives.

(5)chamber Include ways to learn through hands-on experiences and direct manipulation and observation activities. Hands-on laboratory experiences will be a central part of this curriculum and will be used to emphasize key concepts by providing students with multiple exposures to central processes Students will have to defend the hypothesis behind their experiment before they conduct their experiment, and will be able to compare their results with other students throughout their research. The final adventure/simulation activity will require students to apply and share with their peers what they learned from their laboratory experiences to the overall context of CELSS and research strands within this larger context.

(6) Provides a strong core theme that unites a variety of scientific disciplines, including mathematics, technology education, chemistry, psychology, sociology, with all of the biological sciences. The events which occur during the adventure/simulation experience and questions asked during the mission debriefing will require students to apply what they have learned to interpret new situations in other disciplines and to evaluate the experience from the perspective of more than one discipline.

Link to National Science Education Reform Movement

  • Incorporating evidence from research regarding successful teaching and learning practices that suggests:

    (1) more performance-oriented pedagogies and more communal school organizations support higher levels of student success

    (2) teacher teach from what they understand and believe about learning, what they know how to do, and what their environments will allow

    (3) the kinds of teaching behaviors that produce high scores on tests of recall and recognition were decidedly different from those that produced high scores on assessments of writing, problem solving, student independence in learning, and critical thinking

  • Based on research findings reported by leaders in the educational reform movement the BioBLAST© program will provide software-based, Internet-based, and socially-based structures that are designed and developed to enable all students and teachers to succeed. These include:

    Providing innovative structures for guiding, tracking, assessing, and facilitating individual student progress through material. These structures will help teachers recognize and respond to the strengths and weaknesses of their students on an individual basis.
    BioBLAST© provides software-based opportunities for tracking individual and group progress through student interactions with The Integrator and the BioBLAST© CELSS simulation programs.
    Providing opportunities for publishing and sharing student work. These activities allow teachers to demonstrate and document standards of student work within and across classrooms.
    Teachers participating in the early testing of BioBLAST© have suggested that they would like to use the BioBLAST© WWW pages to highlight successful student work in the lab activities, development of research proposals, and analysis of the final run of the BioBLAST© CELSS simulation.
    Providing structures that support teacher collaboration. By collaborating in teams and sharing expertise, experience, and responsibilities, teachers gain confidence in what they can offer individual students and increase their ability to influence the learning environment for each student. By working together , teachers are more able to construct and share alternative curriculum assessments that are interdisciplinary.
    BioBLAST© has brought together a select group of innovative teachers who are already motivated to incorporate learner-centered teaching, challenging curriculum goals that can reflect the needs of individual students. By facilitating on-going dialogue and collaboration among this group of teachers, this program will suggest what structures are needed to support on-going teacher collaboration.
    Providing structures for shared decision-making. The outcome of this kind of „participatory design process¾ is that teachers and their students and the communities associated with each school are involved in significant decisions about what goes in the classroom and what is important for students to learn.
    In the context of the BioBLAST© project, teachers work with members of the development team to identify the level and depth of content appropriate for their students. Teachers participants are also connected with active NASA CELSS researchers through the BioBLAST© project and have opportunities to dialogue with them to have access to data and material and technologies that can make the classroom learning experiences linked to current research practices.

  • Please mail comments or questions about BioBLAST to BBteam@cet.edu.
    Please mail comments or questions about this Web site to Webmanager@cet.edu.

    This page was last modified Thursday, November 21, 1996

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