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Teaching Teams

The Teaching Teams program promotes science literacy among high school students and encourages the pursuit of careers in science by introducing students to areas of scientific study through interactive demonstrations brought into the classroom. Teams of graduate and medical students present the curricula in small groups, fostering an atmosphere where the students feel comfortable discussing the specific area of scientific study.

Each team makes an effort to develop hands-on demonstrations, thus requiring students to pose their own questions, and to find answers through investigation and inquiry. Each year Teaching Teams reach hundreds of students in the Saint Louis City Public Schools.

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Anatomy and Physiology Chemistry Ecology and Evolution
Forensics Genetics and Genomics Microbiology
Neuroscience Physics

Anatomy and Physiology Go to Top

Anatomy is the study of the macroscopic organs and tissues of the body in order to understand their functions. This knowledge is critical for anyone who wishes to study people and non-human animals in terms of health, sociology, ecology, anthropology, evolution, behavioral psychology, and many other fields. Physiology is more focused on the finer details of how these organs are able to function using microscopic and biochemical details. The anatomy and physiology teaching team utilizes real organs from human cadavers to demonstrate the importance of normally-functioning anatomy. We also use clinical examples to describe normal functions as well as dysfunctions of different organ systems that lead to common diseases.

Heart Lung Gastrointestinal tract

Chemistry Go to Top

The chemistry team deals with the chemical issues that students would be expected to cover in a two-semester introductory high school chemistry course. Each module is designed to fill one class period with hands-on demonstrations and correspond to a unit in the St. Louis Public Schools' curriculum. One biochemistry module is designed for use in a biology class. The goals of the chemistry teaching team are the following:

  • Engage high-school students in fun, hands-on experiences that illustrate chemical concepts.
  • Provide to students exposure to resources unavailable at their schools.
  • Present chemistry and other areas of science as viable career options.
  • Convey the contributions of chemistry to everyday aspects of life.
Enzyme Catalysis Polymer Chemistry Redox Chemistry
Electron Orbitals Density

Ecology and Evolution Go to Top

The Ecology and Evolution Teaching Team introduces students to central principles and theories of evolution and ecology through hands-on activities and hypothesis-driven approaches. Our ten different modules and demonstrations are designed to cover Missouri Science Standards and engage students in new and familiar concepts through activities and discussion that give them lasting impressions of the natural environment in Missouri and the world. Each module fills a single class period, and many can be adjusted for different age groups from elementary to upper level high school. We also offer an educational Missouri Botanical Gardens Tour.

Food Webs Fossil Formation Homology of Forelimbs
Island Biogeography Missouri Botanical Gardens Tour Our Adaptive Hands
Rope of Life Ecological Interactions Natural Selection

Forensics Go to Top

The Forensics Teaching Team aims to teach students about forensic applications of scientific methods through demonstrations and hands-on practice. Students gain an understanding of the basic biologic concepts underlying these techniques as well as their implementation in modern forensic contexts. Our intent is to present science in real life scenarios providing students with a connection between the lab and their world. The forensics team has the following goals:

  • Have students use the scientific method and critical thinking skills to answer real-life questions.
  • Introduce students to basic scientific techniques not normally available in their schools.
  • Support learning of concepts of chemistry, physics, genetics, anatomy, and other branches of science through laboratory experiences.
  • Encourage students to think of science as a possible career choice.

Our activities are designed to be used together in modules to allow teams of students to collect and analyze multiple lines of evidence in an attempt to solve a crime. Techniques are similar to those used by real forensic scientists. Modules can be adapted to fit class periods of varying amounts of time with individual activites lasting 30-50 minutes. Students work in groups of 2-5 and ideally perform multiple activities during the session. The class then pools results to develop a conclusion.

Handwriting, Ink, and Fiber analysis Stomach content analysis Shoe print analysis

Genetics and Genomics Go to Top

The goal of the Genetics/Genomics Teaching team is to teach teenagers about the new and exciting field of Genomics. Since the sequencing of the human genome, the field of genomics has focused on understanding the important bits and pieces of the human genome as well as other organisms' genomes. From studying genomes, scientists are able to determine how closely two organisms are related to one another, figure out the important or functional parts of the DNA and determine how DNA effects an organisms characteristics (or phenotype). The goals of the genetics and genomics teaching team are the following:

  • Show students how you figure out a genome sequence
  • Show students how big the human genome is
  • Show students what scientist can do once they figure out a genome sequence
Strawberry DNA Extraction DNA Sequencing Game How Long is Your Genome?
DNA and Evolution Gourdomics Tasting Strips

Microbiology Go to Top

The focus of the Microbiology Teaching Team is the study of microbes and their interaction with humans. Our teaching demonstrations examine how microbes affect human health, looking specifically at the spread and prevention of microbial based disease and the importance of the human microbiome (the total composition of microbes present on and within the human body). The role of the human immune system and its constant contact with invading pathogens is touched upon, with a focus on the molecular basis and value of vaccination in disease prevention. We also discuss microbial genetics and metabolism, the distribution of microbes in our world, and how microbes are studied in the lab. The goals of the Microbiology teaching team are as follows:

  • To introduce students to the diverse microscopic world around them.
  • To provide background about why microbiology is important.
  • To provide an opportunity to learn basic laboratory techniques
Staining, Bacteria, and Microscope Use Microbes and Handwashing
Build a Bacterium Antibiotic resistance


Neuroscience Go to Top

Through interactive demos, the neuroscience teaching team demonstrates how the brain and nervous system works and is organized. Demonstrations allow the students to experience how your body senses where it is in space (called proprioception) and how you adapt to altered visual stimuli (a process called visual-motor adaptation). Moreover, we provide a live viewing of a human brain with an explanation on how the nervous system works. Beyond these standard demonstrations, we can provide lessons on how you discriminate two-points differently over your body, how the neuron functions using an electrical model and how transmission works at the level of a synapse between two neurons. All in all, these demonstrations provide an exciting, interactive experience for the students to learn about neuroscience and foster increased enthusiasm about this growing field.

Brain Anatomy Visual Motor Adaptation Proprioception
Blind Spot Neuron Model The Synapse


Physics Go to Top

The Physics teaching team aims to illustrate the role which physics plays in everyone's everyday life. Our hope is to show students that they can use physics to understand the world around. In particular we try to tailor our demonstrations and activities toward their areas of interest (music, sports, etc.) in order to show them the ubiquity of physical laws. We feel that showing the role that physics plays in activities which students enjoy we can inspire them to look more favorably at physics and science in general.

Musical Bottles Mirror Obstacle Course Magnetic Field Lines