This project covers the development of new teaching material for schools in the area of biotechnology and biodiversity and provides the training of educators to equip them for the challenges of teaching biotechnology. Since the level of public awareness of biotechnology is critically low in South Africa, to ensure this technology is fully explored it needs to be included in teaching materials in our schools as soon as possible.
To build on the learners' prior knowledge and develop an awareness of change and progress in biotechnology, this module takes an historical approach. By demonstrating the developments in biotechnology, students will also see opportunity for self-expression and creativity in technological careers. This approach also provides the requisite background knowledge for the educators, most of which have not had training in biotechnology and involving them in training workshops will enable the module to be refined for rapid adoption in the classroom. Biodiversity is a key component of the new FET curriculum and this module provides interesting and challenging teaching material that will enable educators to implement the requirements of the new curriculum. As such, the new module covers the required curriculum material and provides additional material for learners who are eager to explore the subject further during the lessons.
The teaching module consists of two components for use in high schools in the FET education phase (ages 15-18 years) that focuses attention on the role of biotechnology in the sustainable use of natural resources. Specifically:
- Grade 10 - consisting of six teaching units that focus on biodiversity and biotechnology in ecology
- Grade 11 - consisting of six teaching units that focus on biodiversity and biotechnology in genetics
The module has been tested by Biology teachers from a range of schools with varied teaching resources and the materials updated and modified where appropriate.
Both publications (Grade 10 and 11) have been finalized and printed.
Formal distribution of the modules will be via educator training workshops in association with the Provincial Departments of Education. The first pilot phase will take place in the Free State in October 2005.
Electronic versions of the modules are also available for download in our Resources section.