CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University (MSU) in collaboration with the School of Public Health at University of Michigan and other partners, has received a $1,240,843 Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a new generation of learning materials that blends school and community learning experiences to teach genomics (including gene-environment relationships) and evolution. This five-year project is developing and testing new learning materials that blend formal classroom instruction and informal community-based learning to give both students and community members opportunities to apply ideas about gene-environment interactions, natural selection, and evolution to their lives.
Based on the latest research about the teaching and learning of science from the National Research Council’s 2012 report, Framework for K – 12 Science Education, these materials include a middle school curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). NGSS require learners to build deep, applied understanding of disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and scientific and engineering practices and demonstrate “knowledge-in-use”.
This project builds on earlier SEPA project, Education for Community Genomic Awareness, which produced a high school curriculum addressing molecular genetics and genomics working in partnership high schools in Detroit and Flint. From this project, we learned that high school students would gain from more understanding of basic concepts in the gene-environment interaction. Thus, the development of a middle school curriculum was proposed.
By learning about the gene-environment interaction and how it applies to their everyday lives, students are better prepared to use this knowledge to explain phenomena and solve problems.
- Joe Krajcik, director of CREATE for STEM Institute and principal investigator of MI SEPA