A New Genomic Framework for Schools and Communities
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This project is a partnership lead by the Michigan State University’s CREATE for STEM Institute in partnership with the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health and Community Genomics, MSU BEACON Center, the Concord Consortium, Flint Community Schools, Detroit Public Schools Community District, Community-based Organization Partners of Flint, Sloan Museum, Flint Public Library, Charles Wright Museum of African American History, Michigan Science Center, Detroit Public Library, and Friends of Parkside. The project is funded by the National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA). We are developing a new framework for the learning of genomics, gene-environment relationships and evolution by middle school students and are designing and testing the curriculum in Flint and Detroit schools. In the first unit, students study the phenomena of Type 2 diabetes in science class as part of a new curriculum called, “Health in Our Hands: What Controls My Health?” Through their studies, students discover how genetic risk factors and environmental factors, such as poor diet or lack of exercise, put them at risk for disease. For their final projects, students conduct an action research project to improve their school or neighborhood to help prevent or reduce diabetes. The curriculum features project-based learning, rich in technology and aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. Student learning is strengthened by a variety of informal science education activities in each community culminating in a district-wide final presentation back to report their results to their community. These informal science education activities are also aimed at parents and other adults in the community, to share learning and encourage parent-child discussions. CREATE for STEM Institute coordinates all project activities and develops and assesses the curriculum materials.