ERIC Number: EJ758991
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
A Web-Based Genetic Polymorphism Learning Approach for High School Students and Science Teachers
Amenkhienan, Ehichoya; Smith, Edward J.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v34 n1 p30-33 Jan 2006
Variation and polymorphism are concepts that are central to genetics and genomics, primary biological disciplines in which high school students and undergraduates require a solid foundation. From 1998 through 2002, a web-based genetics education program was developed for high school teachers and students. The program included an exercise on using freely available bioinformatics tools on the Internet to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms in genomic DNA and gene-based sequences to evaluate variation or polymorphism. Similar tools were also used to show the functional effect, if any, of the single nucleotide polymorphisms. A total of 25 science teachers and 60 students from high schools in Alabama and Virginia participated in the program that ranged from 2 to 4 weeks. Seventy percent of the teachers have now developed a web-based module to teach at least two lessons involving DNA variation and how it influences other disciplines, including evolution. Among former high school students, five are in Ph.D. programs in genetics or related subjects, and 80% are in medical school or in college in a biology or pre-med major. The exercise is simple to implement, and the cost is relatively low, requiring only a computer with an Internet connection. It also provides a foundation for introducing students to the theory of evolution, a concept that remains controversial in high school science curricula. Similar programs, if properly implemented, may result in fostering more interest in the biological sciences among prospective college students and ensure a good foundation in the pipeline for career biologists and scientists.
Descriptors: High Schools, Secondary School Teachers, Science Instruction, Internet, Science Teachers, Medical Schools, Genetics, Evolution, High School Students, Scientific Concepts, Web Based Instruction, Teaching Methods, Controversial Issues (Course Content), Doctoral Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama; Virginia