Personal Genetics Education Project


Since 2016, pgEd has been working on a school-based project, called ARC (Building Awareness, Respect, and Confidence through Genetics), 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, including genome editing/CRISPR, de-extinction, and the broader application of genetic technology to health and environmental issues. We’re also developing modules on sex and gender, race and ancestry, and intelligence and cognition, topics that teachers tell us students often ask about during their unit on genetics. We have already piloted some of these new lessons with teachers and students. Some of our new or updated materials that have been published or are in the works include:

  • revamped version of “Introduction to Personal Genetics” lesson, updated with the latest developments in the field, more interdisciplinary, and more inclusive of diverse voices (coming early 2019)
  • revamped versions of lessons on consumer genetics and personalized medicine (published 2018)
  • mini-lesson on NFL, DTC genetic testing and informed consent (published 2017)
  • new lesson on genome editing (published 2017)
  • mini-lesson on sickle cell disease and genetic engineering (published 2017)
  • mini-lesson on the claimed birth of twins who were edited as embryos using CRISPR (published 2019)
  • issue brief on genetics, ancestry and health (published 2018)
  • issue brief on sex and gender (published 2019)

Please email Dana Waring at if you’re interested in contributing to the new lessons or signing up to pilot one or more of them in your classroom.


2017 Summer Institute for teachers, Brockton, MA

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 focused on genetics, history and social justice in Boston (at Harvard Medical School); Brockton, MA (at our SEPA partner, Brockton High School); Sioux Falls, SD (with our other SEPA partners, the Sanford Program for the Midwest Initiative in Science Exploration [PROMISE] and Harrisburg High School); Kerrville, Texas (at the annual Summer Institute For K-12 Educators organized by the SEPA-funded MENTORS project at Texas A&M Health Science Center); and Huntsville, AL (HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology). We have also been partnering with the SEPA project based at the Jackson Laboratory to provide workshops in Maine, Connecticut and California. In summer 2019, we are excited to bring our PD to Omaha, NE, in collaboration with the SEPA project at the University of Nebraska. 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, so we can keep you in the loop about upcoming events or plan a visit.


This project is supported by the Office Of The Director, National Institutes Of Health under Award Numbers R25OD021895. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Upcoming Workshops:

Jun 23

2019 Teaching the Genome Generation – New England

June 23 - June 28
Brunswick ME
United States
Jun 25

YES Teacher Workshop

June 25, 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Omaha NE
United States