Posts about Biology

March 29, 2020

The Biotech Elective: A BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Favorite

Murthy, Anu-1Dr. Murthy is a Biology Subject Expert Teacher and a Teacher Mentor at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley. She is a founding faculty member, and teaches some of the most beloved Biology courses for our upper school Bobcats. Read on as she shares about one of the electives she teaches on campus.


It is finally Period 8, and students eagerly come into the classroom. They put gloves on their hands, get out the micropipettes from the cabinets, and do a final check of their protocols. They pulverize the chips they selected from the school vending machine (or their favorite snacks from home) with a mortar and pestle. Their next step is to isolate DNA, and set up a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to amplify a 125 base pair nucleotide sequence from a cauliflower mosaic virus promoter (CaMV35S) typically used in most genetically modified plant products (GMOs). It is not enough for our Biotech students to read that most of the corn and soy flour that finds its way into their snacks is genetically modified; they want to use data to determine if that is the case.

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February 19, 2015

Beyond the Microscope: Bringing the Sciences to Life Through Labs & Experiments (Part 2 of 3)

In this new three-part series, we take a look inside Science Lab classes at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley to see how teachers are creatively demonstrating lessons about blood spatter, DNA isolation, Newton’s Laws and…elephant toothpaste!

BASIS Independent Silicon Valley’s curriculum for grades 8-12 (Upper Grades) is widely acknowledged as one of the most academically advanced programs in the world. Taught by our coveted Subject Expert Teachers, our Upper Grade curriculum challenges students to the highest international standards. Students are held accountable for mastering the material – including our rigorous science program which begins in grade 5 and extends through Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. 

So, how do we do it?
As discussed in part one of our Beyond the Microscope series, BASIS Independent Silicon Valley students begin their science journey in grade 5 with Introduction to Science by building a strong foundation of applied learning, critical thinking and philosophy. By grade 8, students are cultivating and refining their analytic science skills, preparing them for the challenging Honors and AP road ahead. Labs are a critical element of mastering science, especially in the Upper Grades, as it brings the curriculum to life and is integral to the success of students’ comprehension and subject mastery.


In this installment of Beyond the Microscope we check in with Dr. Anuradha Murthy, an Upper Grade biology Subject Expert Teacher and scientist who takes great pleasure in guiding students through their science journey.AnuradhaMurthy-391808-edited

Dr. Murthy’s labs are evolutionarily structured to slowly build upon her students’ experimental and analytic skills as they progress through Upper School. She concentrates on two types of labs: Modeling and Experimental to bring these topics to life:

  • Model Ionic and Covalent Bonds
    Students use popcorn seeds, mustard seeds, and M &Ms to create 2D models of a Sodium ion and a Chloride ion - demonstrating an ionic bond between them, and polar covalent bonds between two Hydrogen atoms and an Oxygen atom to make a water molecule. This lab helped reinforce concepts on how bonds form to make compounds.

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Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Silicon Valley is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.

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