Personal Genetics Education Project

Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram, Maine – Thank you!

pgEd continues its winter travel adventures, this time in Hiram, Maine (where the car thermometer showed it was -11 degrees that morning). Dana visited with several classes, including Mr. Peter’s 9th grade history class that is in the midst of learning about World War II and the holocaust. We talked about the history of the American Eugenics movement, and the students were great – comments and questions were much appreciated! We used a clip from a documentary called the War on the Weak. A lesson plan, aimed at history teachers, is coming soon to – check back in early Feb. if you’d like to use it, or email Dana for a draft version in the meantime!

We also spent time with 2 classes of biology students in Mrs. Neville’s room.  We covered a huge range of topics – genetic testing as it relates to athletic performance and injury risk, questions of consent and who you might (or might not) talk with before learning about your DNA, and in one class, at least, we managed to talk a little bit about ethical and scientific issues in reproductive genetics.  Despite having nice, long stretches of time with the students, there were many things we didn’t get to cover.

The biology students at Sacopee Valley were very engaged and very well informed.  Some students may want to share some of these links or articles with family members who are always asking ” What did you learn at school today?”. If you enjoyed the ethics discussion and love science, you might want to check out  Mount Desert Island Bio Lab’s Summer Course in Genomics, which is a week-long, fully funded experience for Maine high school students looking to get into a lab and do some experiments. Charlie Wray is the course director, and Dana teaches the ethics component of the course.

Genome: The Future is Now – From Necessary films, this is the clip we watched in class.

The promises (and pitfalls) of sequencing children’s genomes – one of several thought-provoking articles in a recent Time Magazine series.

Our Time to Lead – A package of articles and videos (don’t miss the videos!) from a Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail

Cracking Your Genetic Code – Nova’s hour long special tackling the science and ethics in personal genomics.  A wonderful resource.

Thanks again. Students, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions. You can also join our mailing list – we send out about  4 emails a year, total, so we won’t clog up your inbox!

Upcoming Events

Thu 18

CRISPR Workshop III: Public outreach, education, and engagement

January 18 - January 19
Berkeley CA
United States
Thu 25

Introduction to personal genetics and society

January 25, 8:00 am - 1:00 pm
Feb 01

Hot Buttons, Cool Conversations

February 1, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Newton MA
United States

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