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Professional Development to Support a More Humane Genetics Education

BSCS Science Learning is conducting a National Science Foundation-funded study exploring whether learning about the multifactorial causes of human variation reduces racial bias among middle and high school biology students. We are looking for interested teachers to participate in the study. We will prepare teachers for this study through a free five-day summer institute. 

About the Study

As a participant, you would teach your standard curriculum on molecular genetics for a week. Afterwards, over the following four weeks, your students would learn about Mendelian genetics and multifactorial genetics in different orders. In half of your classrooms you would teach Mendelian genetics and then multifactorial genetics. In the other half you would teach multifactorial genetics and then Mendelian genetics. The BSCS research team will explore how these units affect students’ quantitative reasoning in biology and their knowledge of genetics, and whether this learning, in turn causes reductions in cognitive forms of racial prejudice. For more on our work, visit Towards a More Humane Genetics Education.

About the Summer Institute

Participating teachers would attend a free five-day summer institute at BSCS Science Learning in Colorado Springs, Colorado to learn about how to use these genetics instructional materials to teach genetics to reduce racial bias. BSCS will pay for all lodging, food, and travel for participating teachers. Also, BSCS can pay districts up to $300 dollars per participating teacher to cover the costs of a substitute if needed. We will select a total of twenty teachers for the study. Preference will be given to teachers who:

  1. Can provide BSCS with a letter of support from their principal confirming that they support their teacher’s participation in the study provided their school district approves of the study.
  2. Can attend the five-day institute during the summer (dates TBD) at BSCS Science Learning in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  3. Teach at least four sections of biology at the same grade and level (e.g. all introductory biology, or all honors, or all AP, or all sheltered).
  4. Are interested in participating in the research in upcoming school years.
  5. Are committed to carrying out this study with diligence, which means meeting all deadlines, managing paper work, and paying careful attention to study details.
  6. Are interested in learning how to teach for social justice in biology education.