In the present study, we designed a student laboratory experiment for a DNA extraction. At the first step, Bacillus natto cells were isolated from a traditional Japanese food “natto.” By using the isolated bacterial cells, Gram staining was carried out to confirm the Gram stain type. Then, DNA was extracted from the bacterial cells after lysing the cells with lysozyme. The laboratory experiment developed in the present study was tested in some in-service training courses for biology teachers in Osaka Prefecture, and positive evaluation was obtained from the attendees. The laboratory experiment was implemented in a senior high school advance biology class which was offered as an elective subject to the third-year students whose majors were science and mathematics. The implementation was successful. Therefore, the laboratory experiment developed is suitable for an inquiry activity in advanced biology classes.
The Japanese national curriculum for elementary school and junior high school was reviewed in 1998 and that for senior high school was reviewed in 1999. The school hours and teaching contents were reduced by about 30% from the former curriculum. From a historical viewpoint, we examined the contents concerning “Ferns” in each version of the Japanese national curriculum and the science textbooks. Ferns were contained in some chapters in textbooks for both elementary and junior high school until the last revision. As a result of the latest revision of the textbooks, the fern was eliminated from the chapters “Investigating Plants in All Seasons” in elementary school and “Life of Plants and Their Kinds” in junior high school in which the fern had been contained. In almost all senior high school science textbooks, the fern has been used in the chapters “Structure” and “Life Cycle,” so we developed new teaching materials on fertilization and cell division, because experiments of fern were only culture of spore and observation of vascular system. As a result of new teaching materials, we found that ferns could also be used in other chapters besides “Structure” and “Life Cycle,” and we therefore can conclude that ferns are valuable plant material in biology education.
To ensure sustainable development of our environment, it is important to maintain its health. We, therefore, need indicators or markers that tell us if our environment is stressed even before actual deterioration of its quality takes place. Measuring the physico-chemical changes in an environment is one way of determining environmental quality. However, these usually do not have much meaning unless they are measured in relation to the biological health of the living organisms in that environment. Fluctuating asymmetry appears to be a good bioindicator of the state of environmental quality. This is an easy to do and inexpensive way of determining if the environment is capable of sustainable development. Preliminary data measuring the fluctuating asymmetry of the gill rakers, pelvic fins and pectoral fins of the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus from two lakes in the Philippines indicate that fluctuating asymmetry may indeed be a good bioindicator of the quality of an environment.
The movement toward a sustainable future has begun in many parts of the world, as the seriousness of the environmental problems faced by the planet become more widely recognised. Waste reduction, improved efficiency of energy use, water sav ing devices and changes in modes of transport are the first steps in the transition to a sustainable future. The students of today will be the decision makers of tomorrow and, thus, can have a significant effect on future development and the environmental impacts of that development. If students today are to become active participants in the environmental decision-making process, education for sustainability becomes a key component in ensuring sustainable futures. There is a need to establish data describing students' attitudes toward environmental and resource sustainability issues so that challenges to implementing sustainable development policy can be better recognised. The aims of this study were to identify the perceptions of students in the south west region of Victoria regarding environment and resource sustainability, and to identify their level of participation in sustainable behaviours. A survey of students has found that global environmental issues perceived by students as being in urgent need of attention were access to freshwater, loss of tropical rainforest and ex haustion of natural resources. At the local level the most urgent issues identified were water pollution, salinization and soil degradation, and clearing of native vege tation. Students perceive that Australians are overusing natural resources. They in dicated particular concern for the sustainability of fossil fuels, water, coastal envi ronments and fisheries resources. The results of this study indicate that students are responding to concerns for the environment and resource sustainability by embracing some forms of sustainable behaviour. However, as educators we need to ensure that the link is made between environment and resource sustainability and the implemen tation of policies that will further encourage sustainable behaviour.
In Japan today, the importance of nature experiences activities (NEA) has been recognized in school and social education. Recently, about 1000 Nature Schools (NSs) have come into existence in Japan. Most of the NSs have a function to provide opportunities for NEA for the general public, especially for the young generation. This paper presents a brief discussion on the reasons why the number of NSs is recently increasing in Japan and on the current state of NSs. The work was conducted along the following lines: (1) Brief summary of educational reform; (2) Present situation of the relationship between Japanese children and NEA; (3) Current state of NSs in Japan.
Recently, teachers have begun to focus on web teaching materials that would be effective in class activities. So, we have developed web teaching material which is accessible by a cellphone through the Internet. It helps teachers and students to collect liverworts in the field. We could refer to the following four advantages of the teaching material for cell phones. 1) Possibility of collecting liverworts throughout the year, 2) Possibility of using the teaching material anywhere, even in field activities, 3) Relation to classroom activities, 4) High accessibility for teachers and students. We compared this teaching material for cell phones with the other teaching materials. We found other advantages and disadvantages to it. As for advantages, the cellphone is easy to carry, teachers and students are able to exchange information and research data anywhere, and they can use the material provided in the classroom or in field activities. One of the major disadvantages is the limited memory of cell phones to download a heavy page from a website. In addition, as the markup languages have not yet been standardized among Japanese cellphone companies, we needed to develop different file adapted to each different cellphone company.
Tiger shrimps (Penaeus monodon) were exposed to various concentrations of cadmium as cadmium chloride (CdCl2·2½H2O) for 96 hours. Survival rates and the lethal concentration fifty (LC50)of shrimps with cadmium concentrations of 0.0, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 mg/l within 96 hours were 100%, 100%, 100%, 90%, 67%, 17%, 13% and 0%, respectively, and the LC50-96 hours was 2.42 mg/l. Cadmium also reduced rates of oxygen consumption (Mo2). The rates of oxygen consumption of shrimps reared in seawater for 1 month with cadmium concentrations of 0, 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 mg/l were 6.21 ± 1.53, 6.92 ± 1.21, 4.87 ± 1.24 and 4.37 ± 1.28 µmol/g/h, respectively. The concentration of cadmium in the reared shrimps was found to be higher in the head region than that found in the body. The concentrations found in both regions increased with the concentration of cadmium. From the results, it is indicated that shrimps did not abruptly die after exposure to cadmium. But the cadmium may accumulate in shrimps and result in changes to their physiology. The changes in the rates of oxygen consumption may reflect the changes in environmental pollution which occur in habitats where shrimps live.
As a result of the latest reform of the national curriculum framework, the Course of Study (CS), by the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT), some problems have occurred in biology education at the primary and secondary school levels. The ma jor problems are as follows: (1) The contents of study have decreased because the time allotted to science classes was reduced. This has resulted in the incomplete bi ology education at the compulsory level. (2) In upper secondary schools, students are required to take one of the 2-credit general science subjects, and to select at least one subject among the individual 3-credit science subjects. Therefore, many stu dents possibly do not study enough biological topics to understand the current issues related to life and environmental sciences. (3) Some very important concepts in biological science such as evolution and the continuity of life have lacked from the contents of study not only at the compulsory level, but also in ordinary biology course in upper secondary schools. Molecular biology has also been missing from ordinary biology course in upper secondary schools. (4) Some important concepts related to biology education in other areas of science education such as ions, energy, the characteristics of light, atoms and molecules, etc., have been transferred from the lower secondary school level to the upper secondary school level. Thus, these top ics have to be covered in biology education in upper secondary school. (5) The process of textbook “authorization,” which is the screening of textbooks for primary and secondary schools carried out by the officers of MEXT, makes the issues more serious. The contents of each textbook are checked severely to see if they deviate from the CS and its guidelines. As a result, the explanations of some important bi ology concepts and of the concepts in other science areas which might be required for understanding biological phenomena were requested to be deleted from biology textbooks. This results in restricting biology education and makes it more difficult.
The dipteran fauna in a mangrove forest at the mouth of the Bangpakong River in Thailand was sampled at intervals of approximately two weeks throughout one year. Samples were collected during the hours of daylight and darkness. A total of 390 samples were examined, in which 73 species were identified representing 3 suborders, 18 superfamilies, 32 families and 32 genera. Diversity of these insects was greatest for mosquitoes and punkies with 14 and 11 species respectively present. The importance of these taxa to medicine, veterinary and forestry was discussed.