2015 Life Science Curriculum

Evade the Sea Lamprey Invaders

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources works to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species as well as to promote the management of Minnesota ecosystems. Students are challenged to design an engineering technique that can help to stop the spread of, and remove the invasive species, sea lamprey. While working in teams, students are presented with videos and information as engineering constraints. Ultimately, students present their suggestions for the DNR review and select the best option.

GMO Agriculture Project

Students will be introduced to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) through the University of Minnesota’s Agricultural Extension Office, who has been asked to design a barrier that effectively reduces cross-contamination of non-GMO cornfields from GMO cornfields. Designs will be evaluated using conceptual, physical, and mathematical models to determine the extent to which the solutions meet the design specifications. Additionally, students will be asked to use what they know about genetics and heredity to create a “User’s Manual” for farmers who will use the newly designed barrier(s) to test for cross-contamination once their barrier is installed. Finally, students will be asked to write a final letter, including their designs and using evidence based reasoning, to pitch their design to the client.