Along with a fellow molecular biologist I have started an effort to put DNA science in the hands of more people. We work actively with science outreach groups in MA, NY, and CA to bring DNA science to K-12 classrooms.
We all live in a world revolutionized by DNA. DNA technology has changed the way we diagnose and treat disease, the way we solve crimes, and the food that we eat. Yet we still struggle to teach DNA science in the classroom. This is because DNA technologies designed for high-end research labs are hardly the best tools for teaching biotechnology. And science is best learned hands-on!
To transform the way we teach DNA science, we have developed a novel, very small PCR machine that is transparent and friendly, easy to operate, and 5-10x more affordable, along with educational apps and lab protocols that put experimental DNA science entirely in the hands of students. Check it out at www.minipcr.com.
For examples of how DNA technology can be used by students, please check out the MassBioEd website (http://tinyurl.com/qhsxyfj) and read about how we bring free reagents to schools in partnership with New England Biolabs (http://tinyurl.com/k532lgv). Students can solve crimes, assess the microbiological safety of ground beef, examine their genes and their genetic diversity, and much more....
Our efforts include professional development for teachers and hands-on workshops for students in partnership with schools, colleges, and educational foundations. Check us out at www.minipcr.com, including our blog and teacher's resources.
Projects such as http://www.edutopia.org/high-tech-high-biotech-video can become much more widespread using miniPCR technology. Also teaching DNA barcoding, synthetic biology, cloning, among other cool science.
We are eager to hear stories from other educators bringing cutting-edge DNA science into their schools. We are in the post-genomic world after all...!!
Do you currently do PCR in your classroom? Or what is holding you back? We'd be happy to answer questions through this discussion.
Hoping to hear from you soon!
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