|Genome Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues
DOE Human Genome Program Contractor-Grantee Workshop
|177. Microbial Literacy
Collaborative: Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth
Cynthia A. Needham and Susan E.
A Report from the Microbial Literacy Collaborative
The Microbial Literacy Collaborative (MLC), a partnership of organizations committed to advancing scientific literacy through a focus on the microbial world, will report on four components of the initiative: (1) the science documentary for public television, entitled Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth (2) the set of 17 hands on community based microbial activities entitled Microbe Mania, and (3) youth leadership training for pre-college students from traditionally under-represented communities and (4) a 12 part telecourse for undergraduate use. The organizations that comprise the MLC include The American Society for Microbiology, The National Association of Biology Teachers, Oregon Public Broadcasting, and Baker & Simon, Associates, an independent production company. Other organizations include The Association of Science-Technology Centers, Inc. and The American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The MLC is funded by The Department of Energy through the Human Genome Project, The National Science Foundation, The American Society for Microbiology, the Annenberg/CPB Project, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and The Archer Vining Davis Foundations.
Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth has been completed and is expected to air on PBS in the fall of 1999. The four hours of the series include: (1) "The Tree of Life," (2) "Dangerous Friends and Friendly Enemies," (3) "Keepers of the Biosphere and (4) "Creators of the Future." "The Tree of Life" delves into our evolutionary past. The key message of this hour is that all living things today evolved from microbes and share fundamental biologic properties with them. "Dangerous Friends and Friendly Enemies" examines our ancient rivalry with the microbial world. "Keepers of the Biosphere" explores the central role that microbes play in sustaining the earth's ecosystems. "Creators of the Future" examines our present and future use of microbial technologies to solve long standing problems that affect the way we live. We will have one hour of the series, "The Tree of Life," available for viewing at the conference.
Microbe Mania is a collection of 17 hands on activities designed for use in both informal and formal learning environments. The activities complement the major themes within the television documentary. They require little or no knowledge of microbiology and little or no specialized equipment to conduct. The activities will support open ended experimental design and help to address elements of the National Science Education Standards. We will have an example of the activities available for demonstration.
Microbe Mania Youth Leadership Training is a week long experience designed to introduce youth leaders and their adult sponsors to the microbial world and prepare them to implement the hands on activities in their local community programs. We will report on the first of two summits, which was held in August 1998, on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The training experience was organized with The Association of Science-Technology Centers, Inc. and their Youth Alive! Program. Participants represented 12 science museums from around the country, with youth leaders drawn primarily from challenged home environments.
The Unseen Universe is a 12 part
telecourse for use in both undergraduate and pre-college classrooms. Each
30 minute film focuses on a different aspect of the microbial world. The
telecourse was designed to address the curriculum standards endorsed by
the American Society for Microbiology and will be accompanied by teacher
and student guides. The telecourse will support a full distance learning
course in microbiology or serve as supporting materials for traditional
classroom environments. We will have a 30 minute segment of the telecourse
available for viewing.
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