Delia Borsum, Germany
Subject and Grade Taught:
biology, chemistry, physical education, 8-12th grade
Years in Amgen Teach community:
Participation in Amgen Teach programme:
Delia teaches eight-to-twelve year olds at the Hedwig-Bollhagen-Gymnasium Velten school in Kremmen, Germany. As well as biology and chemistry, she also is a physical education teacher and has 20 years' experience as an educator. Delia participated in Amgen Teach in 2015 and has taken full advantage of the training to help her apply inquiry-based practices in the classroom.
She first came across Amgen Teach via the Deutsches Museum (the training provider in Germany), which: "offered a very interesting training programme with viable contents for teaching in the classroom," she explains.
Among other things, the training course content has allowed Delia to: "connect the theory and practice of biotechnology," she says, giving a specific example of an experiment to extract leaf pigments.
"By isolating the other leaf pigments such as carotenoids and xanthophylls, students were very surprised that other colors like orange appeared....and this can be seen live in autumn". Students were surprised and delighted to discover the presence of carotenoids and xanthophylls, in addition to the chlorophylls they were all expecting.
Other successes include classes with a multidisciplinary approach, such as those involving scanning electron microscopy and group discussions on the ethical aspects of genetic science among her students.
Having applied the inquiry-based approach, Delia says that her students are now more motivated as a result of having a better understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in science. For example, her students have developed what she describes as a "personal relationship" with the DNA macromolecule after not only modelling its structure in the classroom, but also successfully extracting DNA in the lab.
Lessons like these, suggested by Amgen Teach, do not use expensive, complex equipment – and that is another great advantage of the programme, says Delia.