Use of biosensors in secondary education classrooms

P. S. Liang, A. M. Nicolini, Kimberly L Ogden, Jeong-Yeol Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The multidisciplinary and versatile characteristics of biosensors make them very attractive topics to introduce science and engineering concepts into a secondary education classroom. Some of the techniques used in biosensors are easy to demonstrate and can be intriguing to students. We evaluated which application areas and techniques were most intriguing to students through a survey and then developed a 60 to 90 min introductory lesson plan with hands-on experience. The survey was conducted to determine students' greatest interests and motivations among four biosensor applications (medical diagnostics, food safety, biosecurity, and environmental monitoring) as well as seven techniques used in biosensors: genetic engineering, nanotechnology, circuit building, microfabrication, 3D printing, smartphone utilization, and computer programming. For the application, the middle school students showed the most interest in food safety, followed by environmental monitoring and medical diagnostics. The high school students showed the most interest in medical diagnostics. For the techniques used in biosensors, the middle school students showed the most interest in 3D printing, followed by circuit building and smartphone utilization, while the high school students showed the most interest in genetic engineering and nanotechnology. To capture the most interest early in the students' education, we designed a 60 to 90 min lesson plan for middle school students using the application areas of food safety and environmental monitoring, as well as the techniques of 3D printing, circuit building, and smartphone utilization. Simplified sampling protocols were introduced for monitoring E. coli from lettuce, Salmonella from chicken packaging, and influenza A from aerosols. As an example of a biosensor, a commercial glucose assay kit was demonstrated using a simple photometric circuit (including an LED and a photodiode) as an optical transducer. As a second example, a commercial pregnancy test strip was demonstrated using a smartphone camera as an optical transducer. Finally, a plastic attachment to a smartphone, made with a 3D printer, was demonstrated to improve the sensitivity and reproducibility of the same pregnancy test. This lesson was carried out in a classroom, and the results exemplify the potential benefit of using biosensor research in a middle school classroom as well as the possibility of inspiring students toward science and engineering fields of study or careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Fingerprint

secondary education
biosensors
Biosensing Techniques
Biosensors
student
Education
Students
middle school students
students
Smartphones
environmental monitoring
Food safety
high school students
food safety
nanotechnology
Food Safety
Environmental Monitoring
transducers (equipment)
genetic engineering
Pregnancy Tests

Keywords

  • 3D printing
  • Biosensor
  • Circuit building
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Food safety
  • Secondary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Food Science
  • Forestry
  • Soil Science

Cite this

Use of biosensors in secondary education classrooms. / Liang, P. S.; Nicolini, A. M.; Ogden, Kimberly L; Yoon, Jeong-Yeol.

In: Transactions of the ASABE, Vol. 58, No. 2, 2015, p. 181-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Liang, P. S. ; Nicolini, A. M. ; Ogden, Kimberly L ; Yoon, Jeong-Yeol. / Use of biosensors in secondary education classrooms. In: Transactions of the ASABE. 2015 ; Vol. 58, No. 2. pp. 181-190.
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