2016-2017 Archives BSGE by Novaleen A '20 by Tri W '20 News Student Life

Chemistry and Biotechnology: A Comparison

What is biotechnology and how important is it? “The biotechnology course is designed to give students background on the essential fundamentals that will implement students on future science courses,” said Dr. Helfenbein, BSGE’s biology teacher. In essence, the course educates students on the ways we conduct our in-depth investigations on the workings of the natural world.

Have you ever wondered why the world works the way it does? How things connect and correlate with one another? Chemistry encompasses all of human life. It helps students become more aware of the world around them through their senses, as well as learn about themselves as a functioning being. Learning chemistry is a key element to our society. It can even aid technological advancements, develop the medical field, and assist in biological breakthroughs!

A few students from BSGE answered questions regarding their opinions on biotechnology and chemistry. The students whom have taken or are currently taking one of the two curricula were asked what they enjoyed the most and the least. “I liked chemistry because it goes down to the basics of what things are made of and how the world works at the smallest scale,” said Emily Costa ‘17, a former IB Chemistry student. A ninth grader also commented, “What I like most about biotechnology is learning about the tools. What I like least…is making tables and, more specifically what I least like about making the tables is deciding on what the title is.”

When it comes down to which subject is preferred, students who took both biotechnology and chemistry courses had differing opinions. “I prefer chemistry, as it is more math based, the applications are more widespread, and the subject seems more interesting, as we investigate the very basics of life itself,” said Erik Karhan ‘19. On the other hand, Tatiana Economopoulos ‘18 said that she prefers “biotechnology because chemistry is very math related while biotechnology is more conceptual.”

There were also students who have not yet taken either course, who were asked which one they would prefer to learn. Ashiqa Panjwani ‘21 replied “I would want to learn biotechnology because the study of biotechnology is very interesting. You get to learn how to manipulation of different bio agencies. Plus in recent years there has been a huge spike in biotechnology.” A 7th grader responded to the question by saying, “Chemistry, because I like experimenting with different substances that can make something useful for future use.”

Of course, both subjects are going to impact our lives one way or another. The students were asked which of the two courses that they think are going to impact their lives the most. “I think that Forensics (Biotechnology) had the greatest impact on my life because I learned a lot of practical skills in it. Although I think that what I learned most were good study skills, time management but that also came with being in the 9th grade,” said one 11th grader. A 9th grader said, “Biotech, since I use information on the human body daily but not about chemicals and elements and compounds.” Another 9th grader replied, “I believe chemistry would impact my life the most because, in the future I’d like to be either a pharmacist/a pediatrician, Additionally, I believe chemistry is more applied within those jobs than biotechnology is.” Last but not least, Erik Karhan ‘19 answered “Chemistry, as I am into engineering, technology, math, and other such disciplines that work well together. Chemistry also helps us understand the basis of life and how our world works.”

Although the differences between biotechnology and chemistry remain prominent in BSGE, we must consider their mutual benefits to the students’ learning process and futures. More importantly, we should appreciate the opportunity of learning and hopefully mastering these courses for our own needs in our lives.


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