Biotechnology's techniques and tools for your classroom as a first step to students' scientific discoveries.

Supported by Amgen and the Amgen Foundation


Who is if for?

The resources outlined below are designed to be used by teachers with students aged 12-19 years old.

These resources will enable students and teachers to learn more about biology and biotechnology as well as apply this knowledge in many other disciplines.

What is it?

Amgen and the Amgen Foundation

Amgen, one of the world's leading biotechnology companies, discovers, develops, and delivers innovative human therapeutics. Amgen is deeply rooted in science and innovation with the goal of transforming new ideas and discoveries into medicines for patients with serious illnesses.

Established in 1991, the Amgen Foundation is the principal channel for Amgen's corporate philanthropy. It seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work.

The materials below received support from the Amgen Foundation and developed by two partners, PBS LearningMedia/WGBH and Khan Academy.

PBS LearningMedia/WGBH

PBS LearningMedia, developed in partnership with the WGBH Educational Foundation, provides educators with access to free digital content and professional development opportunities, which are designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Amgen Foundation funding supported the development of PBS LearningMedia's Biotechnology Collection.

Khan Academy

The Amgen Foundation is a Science Partner of Khan Academy, helping increase access to biology resources for students and teachers on its free, online learning website.  Khan Academy is a leading, innovative and effective educational technology platform — numbering over 60 million registered users across the globe — with demonstrated power to shape and transform how we learn, including in science. Khan Academy can help students master scientific concepts taught in the classroom at their own pace, while allowing teachers to identify gaps in learning and provide tailored instruction.

Inquiry-based learning

The STEM Alliance repository of practices provides teacher and student resources. These activities involve inquiry-based learning experiences that strengthen the ability of life science secondary school teachers to use inquiry-based teaching strategies in the classroom with the goal of increasing students' excitement about science.

Rather than just presenting facts or encouraging rote memorisation from a book, inquiry in the classroom involves the students posing questions, researching information, diagnosing problems, understanding cause and effect, debating with peers, forming coherent arguments and critiquing experiments.

The resources include activities like interactive learning tools, discussions, independent or cooperative group activities, and assignments.

What are the strengths and opportunities?

These resources are designed to foster curiosity about STEM subjects such as biology and chemistry. Therefore, the educational resources contain "Did you know?" sections, questions to trigger conversation and cool facts related to biotechnology.

In general, resources are interactive and are accessible for both teachers and students. Digital resources allow teachers to increase their knowledge of biotechnology and become more confident in teaching this subject. Clear instructions are included while the lesson plan guides teachers through the classroom work and homework assignments.

Another strength of these resources is the option of adapting them to fit the needs of a classroom. For example, they could enhance a lesson plan and provide students with online demonstration of the processes described in a laboratory work without any material needed.

Interviews with scientists and experts working in the field of biotechnology provide an opportunity for students to learn about the multifaceted nature of biotechnology jobs and the wide range of careers available in this field of science.

Tips and tricks

All resources supported by Amgen Foundation can be directly accessed from any Internet browser.

The knowledge base for the biotechnology topics contained in the resource entitled "Amgen's Introduction to Biotechnology" ( Teachers, together with their students, can explore the most important facts about modern biotechnological science and discover techniques used for treating disease and improving diagnosis. This resource is recommended to get students familiar with the basics of biotechnology.

Biotechnology Collection

For more advanced classes, the "Biotechnology Collection" can enrich school curriculum with interactive activities, ideas for class and home assignments, and real-life career profile examples.

This collection consists of five components that can be used in complex or as stand-alone resource, depending on lesson's objective.

Biology and chemistry concepts tackled in the "Biotechnology Collection" resources include:

  • DNA
  • Genes
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Cloning
  • Stem cells

One of the most interactive parts of the collection can be found in the "Applications" section. Here, students will be able to explore different biotechnological techniques, like DNA extractions or cloning in a playful way with simple explanations and demonstrations. Note that for all media assets available in the Biotechnology collection, the Adobe Flash plug-in must be installed or updated.

Khan Academy Biology Content

Khan Academy has created new biology lessons for students and teachers worldwide. With the Amgen Foundation's support, Khan Academy has expanded its library of biology content, from material suitable for upper secondary school through to Advanced Placement® (AP) Biology with more than 300 videos, 123 exercise sets and 243 articles. Many of the resources are available in multiple languages.