Education Outreach

Biology and medicine are changing dramatically as we begin the 21st century. Sequencing the human genome, the blueprint for human heredity, has lead to fundamental changes in the way science and medicine are practiced. New information from the Human Genome Project present striking social and ethical challenges as well as unique opportunities that require citizens to understand science to make informed decisions. To prepare society for these challenges, we need to develop state-of-the-art curricula in both science and ethics for K-12 schools.

The Department of Genome Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle develops innovative programs that bring leading-edge science to teachers and students in K-12 schools. These programs provide interdisciplinary, hands-on science curricula, teacher training, equipment, and support to promote systemic change in schools. 

Our Programs
StarNet Project The StarNet Project involves teachers and students in authentic research related to drug abuse. Students have acted as scientists in helping to carry out a research investigation of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to smoking behavior. In their classrooms, students have helped genotype DNA from study participants and are now analyzing both genetic and environmental data by querying the Smoking Behavior Research database. Teachers can receive training on the StarNet curriculum by attending summer workshops.
Exploring Databases Through Exploring Databases, high school students will conduct authentic research using a database containing genetic and environmental data from smokers and non-smokers. They will use the Smoking Behavior Research database to pose their own questions about what factors are associated with becoming a highly addicted smoker.Through this research experience, they will learn about genetics, neuroscience, bioethics, the nature of science, and careers in science and technology.

Past Programs
High School Human Genome Program The High School Human Genome Program provides professional development in the fields of DNA sequencing, genomics, and biothics for high school teachers. Participating teachers in the Seattle area are provided with the necessary training, equipment, and supplies to conduct DNA sequencing in their classrooms. During our one week summer institute, we also include teachers and scientists from other regions who are interested in developing DNA sequencing programs in their communities. A 6-8 week summer teacher research experience in a University of Washington lab is also available.
The GENETICS Project The GENETICS Project fostered excellence in K-12 genetics teaching in Washington state. We provided professional development to elementary, middle, and high school teachers and identified and developed outstanding genetics instructional materials.
Genetics Education Partnership The Genetics Education Partnership is a web resource that contains genetics curriculum and resource reviews, classroom genetics activities and cool tools, outreach program listings, and more!

Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington
last updated 2/24/2010