Science Tools in the Classroom

Elementary and middle school teachers participate in a multi-day summer professional development workshop. During the workshop, teachers refresh and expand their knowledge about life sciences content related to DNA. They design their own DNA-based classroom activity to run in their classroom during the academic year. Field-tested activities are disseminated on the project website (, for other teachers to use in their classrooms.

Bioinformatics and genomics are transforming medicine and basic research at a rapid pace challenging K–12 students and teachers to keep up. There have been several calls to introduce these concepts earlier in the curriculum. However it is not just modern science that is failing to reach our students. Our students are not succeeding in basic science particularly students who are traditionally underrepresented in scientific fields. Teachers who do not have comprehensive or up-to-date scientific background contribute to this problem as does a steep decline in student science interest during middle school. The result is a scientific workforce that does not mirror U.S. diversity and a population that does not appreciate the importance, relevance or excitement of science.

This project reinforces basic science concepts, sparks interest, and prepares students for personal academic and professional encounters with bioinformatics and genomics. The project provides a partnership model involving teachers, scientists, and pedagogy experts to develop bioinformatics-enhanced instructional units. Teachers will work collaboratively with scientists and pedagogy experts to design bioinformatics-based units and then implement the units in their classrooms. A mixed methods approach is used to analyze and evaluate outcomes. Teacher and student learning is analyzed using quantitatively and qualitative methods to assess the impact on teacher and student interest and engagement.


  • M. Chadiarakou, A. Sundararajan, I. Lindquist, G. DeFrancesca, M. Kwicklis, D. Lighthall, N. Farmer, M. Shuster and J. Mudge.
    MRSA in the NICU: Outbreak or Coincidence?
    National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science,, 2018
    INBRE  Science Tools in the Classroom 

About NCGR

The National Center for Genome Resources is a not-for-profit research institute that innovates, collaborates, and educates in the field of genomic data science. As leaders in DNA sequence analysis, we partner with government, industry, and academia to drive biological discovery in all kingdoms of life. We deliver value through expertise in experimental design, software, computation, data integration and training a skilled workforce.



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