Building Artificial Neural Networks in AP Biology

Last summer, wearing my hat as Pre-College Education Manager at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, I worked with a cohort of six teachers participating in our Research for Teachers program. The work of biology teacher Larry Bencivengo from Mercer Island High School is featured in this video. Check it out and see how teachers like Larry are designing innovative curriculum units that bring engineering design, cutting-edge science, and Next Generation Science Standards into their classrooms. You can also download a free copy of the curriculum unit, “Building Artificial Neural Networks,” that was co-authored by Larry Bencivengo (Mercer Island High School) and Benjamin Hart (Redmond High School) as part of the Research Experience for Teachers program. The 1-2 week unit is geared toward high school Biology and AP Biology courses and engages students in programming networked Arduino microprocessors to model an artificial neural network.

From the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering’s news blog:

“Larry Bencivengo, an educator who participated in the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) 2015 Summer Research Experience for Teachers (RET), was recently featured in this video by the Mercer Island School District. Mr. Bencivengo developed an artificial neural network curriculum, with guidance from the CSNE, for his AP Biology class. The curriculum unit was co-authored by Mr. Bencivengo and Benjamin Hart, a biology teacher at Redmond High School. Mr. Bencivengo has also recently been awarded a grant in the Partners in Science program of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. During the next two summers, Mr. Bencivengo will be conducting basic research in science labs at the University of Washington. Kristen Bergsman, the CSNE Pre-College Education Manager, is also featured in the video. Ms. Bergsman gives an overview of the CSNE and how Mr. Bencivengo participated in the RET program.

Every year, the CSNE at the University of Washington sponsors this seven-week summer research program for middle school and high school teachers on the university’s Seattle campus. Teachers selected for the program participate in ongoing research projects with researchers and have the opportunity to develop new lesson plans based on their research experiences. Learn more at the CSNE Research Experience for Teachers webpage.”

 

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