Introducing Bioengineering in Kindergarten
CRISPEE is a tangible tool for young children ages 5-8 years to explore developmentally appropriate concepts from bioengineering and gene-editing. CRISPEE is currently being pilot-tested at early childhood museums and learning settings around the Greater Boston area. This project is part of a collaboration with the Wellesley College Human-Computer Interaction Lab, and sponsored by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. IIS-1149530).
Check out the Tufts Graduate School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering spotlight article on Amanda Strawhacker, a DevTech Ph.D. Student working to develop the CRISPEE technology and curriculum.
Bioengineering is a cutting-edge interdisciplinary STEM field at the forefront of scientific progress, combining the fields of engineering and microbiology to create biologically-based solutions to real-world problems. Young children (ages 5-8 years) are at a critical age to explore the world around them through a multidisciplinary lens, and educational advances in other domains (engineering, technology, and computer science) have shown that children as young as age 4 are capable of learning core concepts of bioengineering. In this National Science Foundation-funded project (NSF Grant No. IIS-1563932), DevTech has partnered with Wellesley College’s Human Computer Interaction Lab to develop a suite of tools for ages K-12 to explore foundational concepts of synthetic biology. CRISPEE is a tangible, developmentally-appropriate tool to introduce the youngest children to foundational concepts of bioengineering. Our current CRISPEE prototype is modeled on the real-world CRISPR/Cas-9 gene editing system, and allows children to play with genetic programs to solve real-world problems using an ethical design lens.
In addition to developing CRISPEE, our team is currently creating curricular resources, including lesson plans with best-practice recommendations for exploring bioengineering, a storybook to introduce children to the CRISPEE tool, and a series of short videos and digital games to reinforce key scientific concepts of genetics and engineering.
Check back soon for more information!
Are you a teacher with an idea of how we can improve CRISPEE? Want to let us know what you think or share ideas from your classroom? We want to hear from you! Take our Teacher Opinion Survey and share your thoughts with us.
CRISPEE is currently being piloted in informal education settings in the Greater Boston area! Join us at one of our upcoming play-test events, no reservations required:
- Boston Children’s Museum, Friday February 15th ($1 entry night!), 5pm-7pm in the STEAM Studio
- Boston Children’s Museum, Monday February 18th (President’s Day), 11am-1pm in the STEAM Studio
Sign up for the DevTech Email List to get the most up-to-date information about opportunities to play with CRISPEE.