Since 2016, pgEd has been working on a school-based project, called ARC (Building Awareness, Respect, and Confidence through Genetics), through a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program. The aim ARC is to (1) develop curricula on genetics and identity and (2) provide professional development that supports educators in bringing the topic of genetics to their classroom, regardless of what discipline they teach. Teachers, we’re honored to work with you to move this forward!
Curriculum on genetics, identity, and respect for diversity
As part of ARC, we have been developing a series of lesson plans on genetics and identity with science, social science, and language arts teachers in mind. We’re bringing our balanced and accessible approach to lesson plans that aim to get students thinking about hot topics in genetics.
New lesson plans
- NFL and genetic tests at the stadium – Mini-lesson on consumer genetics and informed consent. (2017)
- Sickle cell disease and genetic engineering – Mini-lesson on clinical trials for gene therapy, informed consent, and the legacy of mistrust from past abuses in medical experimentation. (2017)
- Claims of CRISPR being used to edit genomes of twin girls born in 2018 – How can we navigate news headlines to understand emerging genetic technologies and their social and ethical implications? (2019)
- Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy – the science, benefits, and implications of a new reproductive genetic therapy – Mini-lesson (2019)
- Engineering the World Around Us: Genome editing and the environment – How might genome editing be used to address the environmental issues we are facing? (2020)
Updated lesson plans
As part of ARC, pgEd is revamping several of our lesson plans to be more inclusive of diverse voices, more interdisciplinary, and up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.
Revised in 2018:
- Consumer Genetics – What are the potential benefits of and concerns about genetic tests being sold directly to consumers?
- Personalized Medicine – How might personalized medicine impact healthcare?
Revised in 2019:
- Introduction to Personal Genetics – How might new advances in personal genetics impact our lives, our medical decisions and society?
- Genetics, History, and the American Eugenics Movement – How can we as a society avoid the mistakes of the past to take advantage of the promise of genetics?
- Reproductive Genetic Testing: Technology, access, and decision making – How does genetic testing of embryos and fetuses offer hope to individuals wishing to have children, and what are the ethical implications of that testing?
- DNA, Crime, and Law Enforcement – How will advances in DNA technology impact individuals, law enforcement and society?
Revised in 2020:
- Genome editing and CRISPR – How might advances in our ability to change genomes impact individuals and society?
- Using Primary Sources to Examine the History of Eugenics -How can we use primary sources to discover how the eugenics movement became popularized in the United States and Europe?
Curriculum in development
We are hard at work to bring you new lesson plans that address questions that students often ask during their unit on genetics. We have already piloted some of these new lessons with teachers and students. Working titles include:
- Sex, genetics, and athletics
- Ancestry, race, and DNA: Health implications
- Complex measurements: Intersection of genes, environment, and intelligence
Please email Robin Bowman at email@example.com if you’re interested in contributing to the new lessons or signing up to pilot one or more of them in your classroom.
Bringing interdisciplinary professional development on the road
We’ve also launched a new series of interdisciplinary professional development workshops. Over the past few years, we’ve held workshops in:
- Boston, Massachusetts (at Harvard Medical School)
- Brockton, Massachusetts (in partnership with Brockton High School)
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota (in partnership with Sanford Research and Harrisburg High School)
- Brunswick, Maine (in partnership with the SEPA team at Jackson Laboratory)
- Hartford, Connecticut (in partnership with the SEPA team at Jackson Laboratory)
- Kerrville, Texas (in partnership with the SEPA team at Texas A&M Health Science Center
- Huntsville, Alabama (in partnership with the SEPA team at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology)
- Omaha, Nebraska (in partnership with the SEPA team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center)
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin (in partnership with the SEPA team at the Milwaukee School of Engineering)
In summer 2020, we are excited to continue and expand collaborations to bring our PD to Alabama, Maine, Nebraska, Texas, and Washington. It has been pgEd’s privilege to visit all these communities, meeting with teachers and working together to bring the topic of personal genetics to biology, social studies, and language arts classrooms and beyond, and we look forward to making more new connections in the coming months and years.
Interested in a workshop? Please email Robin Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can keep you in the loop about upcoming events or plan a visit.
This project is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Institutes Of Health under Award Number R25GM129172. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.