Exploring Biotech for Middle Schoolers

The Lawrence’s Exploring Biotechnology program introduces middle schoolers to the powerful and locally relevant field of biotechnology. In the 2022-23 school year, we were able to serve over 1,300 middle school students and teachers with generous support from the Bayer Fund

Below you can find a selection of educational resources from this program, including our biotechnology careers video serieslesson materials for a hands-on activity featuring yeast, and the full program report.

A student looks through a microscope

Video Series

Biotechnology Careers

This video series highlights the wide range of problems that local bay area scientists are solving using biotechnology. From human health to sustainable fashion to plant-based meats to agriculture and climate change, biotech professionals are applying knowledge of the inner workings of living organisms to design innovative solutions to important problems. 

Lesson Materials

A measuring tube with a yeast sample from a biotech yeast activity

These biotech lessons are used before and after a biotech field trip to The Lawrence as part of the Exploring Biotechnology program.

The first lesson occurs in the classroom before the field trip, and could also be used as a standalone lesson. Students are introduced to different ways scientists and engineers can modify microbes like yeast and bacteria to cause them to make environmentally friendly products. Students then gain hands-on experience with this idea by conducting an investigation where they compare the behavior of two different kinds of yeast. Students end the lesson by viewing and discussing two of the biotech careers videos.

The second lesson happens during the field trip to The Lawrence. Students are immersed in the inner world of cells in our planetarium and then conduct a high tech biotechnology experiment in the Bayer Fund Science Discovery Lab.

The third lesson occurs in the classroom after the field trip. Students reflect on their visit to The Lawrence and then view and discuss the final two biotech careers videos. Students bring what they have learned together with their own experiences and values in a final project where they share what problems they would solve using biotechnology.

Grades: Middle School

Topics: Biology, Engineering

Activity Resources: Sample lesson materials including detailed instructions for a hands-on activity featuring yeast

EXBIO Teachers Guide – Lessons 1 & 3

EXBIO Projections – Lessons 1 & 3

EXBIO Student Sheet – Lesson 1

EXBIO Graphic Organizer – Lesson 1 & 3

Biotechnology Program

This program is part of The Lawrence’s biotechnology education program, which aims to reveal the microscopic worlds inside living things and engage learners with the different ways life can be used to solve problems. Visitors to the Lawrence might be interested in our Hands-on Biotech exhibit space.


Exploring Biotechnology in Middle School: Inspiring Future Problem Solvers

This Program Brief gives an overview of a program that introduces middle school students to the science behind biotechnology, features stories from diverse local biotechnology […]


Bayer Fund

Get In Touch

For more information about this project please contact Lee Bishop at bishoplm@berkeley.edu.