Smithsonian Science Education Center launches new biotechnology guide and e-book for young people


The Smithsonian Science Education Center, in conjunction with the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), has developed Biotechnology! How can we ethically create a sustainable future using biotechnology?, a new community-based research guide for 11-18 year olds. Based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it aims to help young people assess the potential of biotechnology while considering the best ways to manage risks and concerns, ultimately taking action to help solve the problems of their local community.

In this guide, young people explore the question “How can we use biotech innovations to help advance our community in a sustainable and ethical way?” The guide includes new research, activities and insights from subject matter experts in a range of fields from biosecurity to medicine and food systems. It integrates inquiry-based science education with social and emotional learning and civic engagement. Students generate personalized solutions for challenges in their community and contribute to a more sustainable planet.

“As young people around the world engage with their communities, they may ask many questions: How do we use technology to treat disease, design food, keep us safe? How do we ensure these advances are fair and ethical?” said Carol O’Donnell, director of the Smithsonian Science Education Center. “This community response guide encourages young people to discover, understand and act on sustainable approaches to complex issues and to create change within their own communities. This is an important step forward in the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s efforts to create and promote a transdisciplinary approach to STEM education for sustainability, consistent with the Smithsonian Institution’s mission to promote life on a sustainable planet.

As a companion of Biotechnology! guide, Smithsonian Science Education Center releases new e-book, Stories of Women in STEM – Biotechnology. As the latest entry in the Stories of Women in STEM e-book series, this new e-book features biographies of pioneering women who made history through their scientific discoveries and innovations in biotechnology. From biochemist and Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna to Kenyan crop researcher Felister Makini, the e-book explores the roles women have played in advancing the fields of science, technology, engineering and science. math.

“As a young girl, it’s so important to see yourself in the role models around you and in the stories you read,” O’Donnell said. “If you can see yourself in others, then you will believe that you can too. I hope that when young people read the stories of these amazing women in biotechnology, they can ‘see’ their future and s strive to be the best of them.”

The Smithsonian Science Education Center will distribute the guide and eBook for free to young people around the world in conjunction with the InterAcademy partnership.

Biotechnology! How can we ethically create a sustainable future using biotechnology? and Stories of Women in STEM – Biotechnology are made possible through the support of Johnson & Johnson.

About the Smithsonian Science Education Center

The Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) is transforming K-12 science education in collaboration with communities around the world. SSEC is recognized nationally and internationally for the quality of its programs and its impact on K-12 science education. Visit the SSEC website and follow SSEC on Twitter and Facebook.

About the InterAcademy partnership

Under the umbrella of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), more than 140 national, regional and global Member Academies work together to support the vital role of science in finding evidence-based solutions to the world’s toughest problems. In particular, IAP harnesses the expertise of world leaders in science, medicine, and engineering to advance sound policy, improve public health, promote excellence in science education, and achieve other essential development goals. See and follow IAP on Twitter and YouTube.

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