Genetics Gets Personal with the ISKME & 23andMe Learning Challenge

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers; he's the one who asks the right questions.

- Claude Lévi-Strauss

Do you remember studying genetics in school? Perhaps you built a double helix model or filled in a Punnett square. The field of genetics is vast and offers many possibilities for in-depth study, such as the Human Genome collection on OER Commons with over 5,000 genetics educational resources.
Innovation in genetics research is opening up opportunities to access rich data and personalize learning. 23andMe (named for the number of chromosome pairs in human DNA) is a personal genomics and biotech company whose mission is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. The company’s simple spit-in-a- tube genetic testing kits were awarded Invention of the Year in 2008 by Time magazine and its research efforts have advanced the way Parkinson’s disease is studied.
Inspired by 23andMe and its interest in supporting the way genetics is taught in schools, ISKME partnered and launched the ISKME & 23andMe Learning Challenge at Big Ideas Fest. The challenge invites middle school and high school educators to submit their ideas to study life and/or social sciences using personal genetics. To participate, educators need to submit their application by March 31, 2015, which includes describing the learning goals and instructional design plan for their proposed curriculum. The ten winners selected will receive 23andMe kits and training that will enable them to design, implement and share their genetics curricula as open educational resources.
Here are a few examples of how educators are already designing, implementing and sharing their genetics curricula online inspired by 23andMe:
Innovative DNA analysis is also being used to tell stories and make connections with the popular PBS television series “Finding Your Roots,” which looks at ancestry through genetic testing. The clip below explores pre-slavery African ancestry.
With so many possibilities to explore concepts in biology, anthropology, geography, bioethics, art and storytelling, we want to hear your ideas for how might you use 23andMe to reimagine the way we study life science or social science. Share your ideas here to enter the ISKME 23andMe Learning Challenge.