The Genome Science Education Program seeks to increase understanding and awareness of genomics research its applications to health and medicine and related societal issues. The program focuses on developing and disseminating Internet-based curricula for students (grades 7–12) and on teacher professional development.
Curriculum modules are developed in collaboration with a cohort of 16 secondary life science master teachers who also pilot test materials in their classrooms. Each module includes animated and interactive online activities as well as “print-and-go” classroom activities; all are available on the Genetic Science Learning Center website.
Completed modules include “Stem Cells in the Spotlight,” “Cloning in Focus,” “Gene Therapy: Molecular Bandage?” and “Pharmacogenomics: Drugs Designed for You.”
The learning center’s website receives over 90000 visitors per week. Professional development programs for additional teachers aid in disseminating the curriculum modules. These include workshops at state and national science education conventions and as part of courses.
In Fall 2004 the master teachers presented workshops utilizing the curricula they developed as part of a regional two-day “Genetics in the 21st Century” conference. Several programs seek to educate the adult public about the science of stem cells. Lecture series are presented each year with additional lectures to interested community groups. The learning center is collaborating with the Utah Museum of Natural History (UMNH) to develop a new exhibit “Stem Cells and You” that will be shown in Spring 2005. The exhibit will be available to travel to other venues after its run at UMNH.
This project will expand existing genetics education programs at the University of Utah to increase understanding and awareness of genomics research its applications to health and medicine and related societal issues. The program will create an Internet-based curriculum for students (grades 7–12) and teachers teacher workshops a master teacher program and education programs for the public conducted jointly with the Utah Museum of Natural History. Inquiry-based interactive educational materials that survey the basics of molecular biology and genetics and also more advanced topics will be published on the Internet.
The completion of the first draft of the human genome sequence has brought public attention to genome science raising questions about how advances in this field will affect health personal and societal issues. With current research evolving at an extraordinary pace however the gap between leading-edge research and the scientific literacy of the general public continues to expand. Located in the midst of genome proteome medical genetics and classical genetics and classical genetics research at the University of Utah the Genetic Science Learning Center (GSLC) is an established education program for teachers students and lay audiences. The goal of the GSC is to bridge this knowledge gap combining Internet-based educational materials with teacher professional development workshops and public courses to increase genetics literacy and enabling individuals to make informed decisions.
The Genome Science Education Program (GSEP) represents a continuation of this effort. This multifaceted approach to genome science education and awareness will explore genome science research and its applications in medicine and society providing a rich educational experience for teachers students in grades 7–12 and the lay public. Multidisciplinary working groups will develop the programs in layers with up-to-date units presented yearly in the areas of genome science technology genomic approaches to common disease and human traits genomic approaches to evolution studies and ethical legal and social issues related to genome science. Inquiry-based interactive educational materials that survey the basics of molecular biology and genetics and delve deeper into more advanced topics will be published free of charge on the Internet. In-house and outreach teacher training workshops will utilize and supplement Internet materials to further professional development of science teachers in Utah the Intermountain region and nationwide. Public courses conducted in partnership with the Utah Museum of Natural History will bring a human face to genetics research presenting genome science in an accessible and engaging way.
Built-in formative evaluation at every stage of the program will provide critical feedback for improving content delivery and usability of educational materials. The GSEP project represents the development and functional testing of an innovative model for improving the science literacy of teachers student and the lay public.
Secondary school teachers and students, general public
Genetics, genomics, stem cells, cloning, designer drugs
Associated SEPA Project(s)
Scientific Thinking and Internet Learning Technologies
R25RR015650 : 09/30/2000 - 08/31/2005
Genome Science for Health: Web-based Curricula for Biology – Phase I & II
R25RR023288 : 09/15/2006 - 06/30/2011
Inside Your Body: Web-based Curricula for Secondary Science
R25RR032174-01 : 08/01/2011 - 04/30/2016
Genes and Microbes: Engaging Students and Teachers in NGSS-aligned Curricula and Professional Development
R25OD021903-01 : 06/01/2016 - 05/31/2021