Course Description:

A comprehensive study of DNA, genetic engineering, microorganisms, cloning, reproductive biotechnology, transformation, plant, animal and human biotechnology, and other concepts used in producing and altering biological processes and products.  Students will also learn about careers in biotechnology and become involved in the National FFA Organization and SAE.  This is a full year course.

The text used for this course is:

Biotechnology, Lee, Mecey-Smith, Morgan, Chelewski, Hunewill, Lee. Published by Interstate Publishers, Inc.

Instructional Philosophy:

Agricultural Education enables students to learn facts, analyze problems, and have an opportunity to gain self-confidence.  This confidence is a gradually developing process.  Each student is given the opportunity to achieve individual accomplishments while working in small groups and on individual projects.  The self-confidence that students acquire helps them in all phases of their lives.  With confidence in themselves, they are able to make wiser decisions that have been reasoned out.

The relevant skills taught in Agricultural Education are of vital importance to students of both sexes and of all academic and economic levels.  Every student is involved in some phase of agriculture, regardless of his or her paid occupation.  Students are given the opportunity to acquire facts and develop competencies and apply these facts through their own Supervised Agricultural Experience and to develop themselves into competent community leaders through their involvement in the National FFA Organization.

Course Goals:

  1. Introduction to Biotechnology
    1. Explain the meaning of biotechnology
    2. List and distinguish between the two major areas of biotechnology
    3. Identify examples of biotechnology
    4. Explain the importance of biotechnology in food and fiber production
    5. Relate synthetic biology to biotechnology
  2. History of Biotechnology
    1. Trace the historical development of biotechnology in three stages
    2. List and describe the work of important individuals in the development of biotechnology


  1. Benefits of Biotechnology
    1. Describe the role of biotechnology in contributing to the quality of life
    2. Explain how biotechnology contributes to the supply of food and fiber
    3. Explain the benefits of biotechnology in health
    4. Describe the role of biotechnology in materials and the environment


  1. Safety with Biotechnology
    1. Explain the meaning of safety as related to biotechnology
    2. Identify potential hazards associated with biotechnology and describe approaches in reducing risks
    3. Evaluate safety guidelines with biotechnology research


  1. Research
    1. Describe the importance of research and name two major types
    2. Explain the scientific method and list the steps in the process
    3. Describe how to identify a problem
    4. Explain why literature review is important and how it is done
    5. Define hypothesis and explain the kinds that are used
    6. Describe how to design an experiment
    7. Explain how to conduct an experiment gather data
    8. Describe how data are analyzed and used in forming conclusions
    9. Explain the importance of a report and how a report is organized.


  1. Preparing Reports
    1. Identify the kinds and importance of reports.
    2. Describe the meaning and procedures in keeping a research log.
    3. Explain the procedures in preparing a written report.
    4. Explain the procedures in preparing and giving an oral report.
    5. Describe hoe to prepare a visual display depicting research.
    6. Identify potential problems in preparing research reports.


  1. Science Fundamentals
    1. Relate the four main branches of science to biotechnology.
    2. Identify the components of matter and energy.
    3. Describe the classification of living organisms.
    4. Identify and explain important life processes.
    5. Describe the primary structures of living organisms.
    6. Explain the importance of DNA, enzymes, lipids, and proteins.


  1. Aseptic Technique
    1. Define asepsis and aseptic technique and tell why they are important.
    2. Describe the main types of microorganisms of concern in asepsis.
    3. Explain how to create an aseptic environment.
    4. Provide examples of aseptic conditions.


  1. Basic Cell Structure
    1. Name and distinguish between two types of cells.
    2. Identify the major parts of the cell and their functions.
    3. Describe some of the major processes of the cell.
    4. Explain the use of technology to view and manipulate cells.
    5. Explain the processes by which cells reproduce.


  1. Genetics
    1. Explain the meaning and importance of Mendelian Genetics.
    2. Predict genetic outcomes using Punnett square and Chi-square.
    3. Describe the meaning and importance of molecular genetics.
    4. Name and explain examples of DNA science tools.


  1. Genetic Engineering and Transgenic Organisms
    1. Explain why genetic engineering and transgenic organisms hold promise for the future.
    2. Identify practical applications of genetic engineering
    3. Outline processes used to create genetically altered organisms
    4. Describe the use of genetic transformation with plants
    5. Explain the role of genetic transformation with animals


  1. Microbial Biotechnology
    1. Explain microorganisms as related to biotechnology
    2. List and explain four advantages of microbes in biotechnology
    3. Name and describe the major types of microbes and their habitats
    4. Describe the observation of microbes, including slide preparation, staining, and culture.
    5. Identify and describe examples of microbial biotechnology


  1. Plant Biotechnology
    1. Outline the plant breeding process
    2. Explain the use of genetic engineering to create transgenic plants
    3. Describe the process of plant tissue culture
    4. List and describe examples of plant products created through genetic engineering


  1. Animal Biotechnology
    1. Explain the use of animals in biotechnology
    2. Describe processes of animal reproduction
    3. Relate advancements in animal reproduction technology to the livestock and other animal industries
    4. Explain the use of biotechnology In production efficiency
    5. Describe the use of genetic engineering with animals


  1. Human Biotechnology
    1. Relate human biology to biotechnology
    2. Describe the meaning and importance of genomics in humans as organisms
    3. Relate methods used by students in the Human Genome Project
    4. List and describe ways biotechnology is helping humans live better
    5. Explain diagnostics and give two examples involving biotechnology


  1. Food Biotechnology
    1. Define food biotechnology
    2. Explain the meaning of food science and describe areas of science used in food science
    3. Explain why food supply is important
    4. Describe relationships between food microbiology and biotechnology
    5. Explain relationships between catalysis and biotechnology in selected foods


  1. Environmental Biotechnology
    1. Describe how biotechnology relates to environmental quality
    2. Explain the use of bioremediation
    3. Describe the use of biotechnology with solid wastes
    4. Describe the use of biotechnology with hazardous wastes
    5. Describe the use of biotechnology with wastewater treatment
    6. Explain the use of composting


  1. Using Biotechnology: Social and Environmental Impacts
    1. Name and classify innovations
    2. List and explain factors to consider with new technology
    3. Describe the meaning and importance of the social impacts of biotechnology
    4. Describe environmental impacts of biotechnology


  1. Issues and Ethics
    1. Identify issues and explain how issues are studied
    2. Explain the interaction of ethics and biotechnology
    3. Identify three major areas of biotechnology applications that create debates on ethical issues


  1. Regulations in Biotechnology
    1. Explain the role and importance of regulations in biotechnology
    2. Identify government agencies and the areas that are regulated
    3. Explain the role of organizations and identify one biotech organization
    4. Describe the interaction of regulations with ethical issues in biotechnology


Major Course Projects

This course will include several labs and activities, each tied with the objectives of its respective chapter.  Some labs will include, sterile technique, colony transformation, DNA fingerprinting, Plasmid mapping, PCR, and tissue culture of plants.

Course Assessment

This course will follow the district wide grading scale that is mandated by the West Central School Board:

92-100% A

83-91%   B

74-82%  C

65-73%  D

Below 64%  F

The total points for the grading period will be used to determine the letter grade received by the student.  Students will have the opportunity to earn Bonus Points through involvement in FFA activities. Bonus points are added to their daily classroom grade.  Students are required to keep a notebook for each Ag Ed class in which they are enrolled.  The notebooks are collected and graded each nine weeks.