Presented By: Linda L. McCabe, Erica Stanley, Tony Huynh, Jessica Martinez, Jillian Theil, Jennifer Truong, Elani Streja, and Edward
UCLA Center for Society and Genetics, Los Angeles, California
Background: The UCLA Center for Society and Genetics (CSG) investigates the interface of science and society. CSG is intensely cross-disciplinary, and includes faculty members and students from seven professional schools, 29 departments, and all of the four instructional divisions of the College. CSG developed an undergraduate minor in Society and Genetics and one of the required courses is DNA: Promise and Peril (based on the McCabes’ book by that title), which describes how genetics and individuals interact. Objective: To determine if we could develop team teaching materials for high school students based on DNA: Promise and Peril. Methods: UCLA in LA provided grant funding and an introduction to Dr. Woods, Principal, King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. Dr. Woods welcomed us to her school and introduced us to her teachers. Results: During the first year, the UCLA team developed eleven, 90 minute discussions for a class of 34 ninth graders. The students were actively and enthusiastically engaged by the debates, discussion questions, games, plays, powerpoints, videos, and writing exercises. The second year, the UCLA team developed five 50 minute lectures paired with 50 minute activity sessions for eight classes of eleventh graders, representing more than 200 students. Conclusions: Ninth graders and eleventh graders are able to master genetic concepts and consider the broad role that genetics plays in their lives. The stories we used provided a context for the science and encouraged the students to apply genetics in their own experience.
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