The Howard Hughes Medical Institute funds an enormous amount of scientific research throughout the world. They have a number of educational programmes I have used on a number of occasions. The Holiday Lecture series and corresponding DVD’s are a great addition to your resource list. I have used their 2005 Evolution Lecture Series a few times. If you are a biology teacher you really need to browse the site for the resources available at


The purpose of this post is to highlight a science teaching initiative the HHMI has begun with 12 universities and colleges. The program provides these schools with a program to teach biology in a new way. The program challeneges students to collect soil samples, isolate, study, and genetically analyze bacteriophage [virus that life in bacteria] from the sample.

The response?

“Professors teaching the SEA course, like Pogliano, say the freshmen students were hooked by the classes: they worked many extra hours and bonded with their fellow students, even faculty members. They loved learning science by planning and guiding their own long-term research projects rather than by plodding through cookbook labs or enduring rote memorization.


I’m not surprised!I hate cookbook labs myself. What I like seeing is the attitude and response being taken by the top of the system. Secondary teaching practices are highly linked to those above us. Change at the top can only help transform those of us below. As one research fellow stated:

“It helps me and other professors who believe that students should be exposed to research as early as possible, and we want to infuse this across the curriculum,” Vazquez says. “I think it is part of a movement across the United States of reforming science education and the realization that science can only be understood by doing it. There is no other way.”


I been saying this for YEARS! Every year I like finding different ways to get the students doing.

If you know a few for atomic theory I’d greatly appreciate it!

Cheers –