How is the corona virus structured? Why are there different variants? And why is coronavirus analysis so important during the pandemic? In the online course "Evolution of Corona Viruses" of the zdi student laboratory teutolab-Biotechnologie, students learn what is behind the corona virus and carry out molecular genetic analyzes independently. The winner was the zdi student laboratory at Bielefeld University now the 1st prize in the category "Experiment of the Year" at the LeLa Prize 2022.
Since 2020, a new type of corona virus has determined our everyday life. In a short time, the zdi networks and zdi student laboratories have developed online offers for students in their region. A special challenge: Experimenting in the digital space. The zdi student laboratory teutolab-Biotechnologie mastered this challenge particularly well with the online course "Evolution of Corona Viruses", in which the students carry out genetic and phylogenetic analyzes independently. Within four hours, the participants will find out how SARS-CoV-2 possibly came about, how it (did) change genetically and how the genetic information can be used. Original RNA sequences (or DNA sequences) and a freeware program for creating family trees are used.
The course is aimed at biology courses in high school and is taught from the student laboratory using the video conferencing tool Zoom. The course is based on three components: self-organized learning, lectured content and working with the analysis software MEGA (molecular evolutionary genetics analysis). The goal: The students should be able to classify and apply scientific knowledge, to recognize relevant questions and to deal critically and evidence-based with scientific events. This is an important contribution, especially in times of the corona pandemic, which is surrounded by myths, fake news and numerous conspiracy theories.
With the LeLa Prize, outstanding achievements by student laboratories are recognized by the Federal Association of Student Laboratories LernortLabor. In 2022 there were 5 categories: experiment of the year, digital student laboratory, STEM education by teachers, innovative student laboratory and student project of the year. In addition to the teutolab biotechnology, two other student laboratories from North Rhine-Westphalia were also awarded a LeLa prize: The Bielefelder teutolab chemistry takes third place in the category "digital school laboratory" and that Participation laboratory EMA in Bornheim took first place in the category "MINT education for teachers". At the Federal Association of Student Laboratories LernortLabor, the zdi student laboratories are represented by the zdi state office. Before the teutolab biotechnology, other zdi student laboratories were already awarded the LeLa prize for their outstanding achievements, and the teutolab was also awarded awarded a LeLa prize .