Genetics has been traditionally taught in the high school with Gregor Mendel and his pea plants. But the staff at the Science Education Partnership (SEP) at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center believe that today's high schoolers really want to know the science behind race, racism, and genetics. And high school teachers are desperate to figure out how to teach this complex subject.
SEP has put together a curriculum unit called Race, Racism, and Genetics that is made to help high school science teachers navigate the challenging subject of race and genetics. SEP's eight-lesson sequence on the topics, for use in classrooms or remote learning, is just one of a number of free, open-source lessons that team has created. SEP had be providing Washington State high school biology and biotech teachers with tools, such as loaner lab kits since 1991. When the coronavirus shut down the labs and classrooms, SEP put its lessons online, and the program went national.
Dr. Jeanne Chowning, senior director of science education at the Fred Hutch, says that the unit is not designed to replaced Mendelian genetics, but to try to address "some of the complexities of human genetic variation".
In addition to this curriculum unit, the SEP offers a number of other fascinating units that could really help bring the complex world of biology to your classroom. Take a look and see what might work for you!