Life science classrooms often emphasize the exception to the rule when it comes to teaching genetics, focusing heavily on rare single-gene and Mendelian traits. By contrast, the vast majority of human traits and diseases are caused by more complicated interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Research indicates that students have a deterministic view of genetics, generalize Mendelian inheritance patterns to all traits, and have unrealistic expectations of genetic technologies. The challenge lies in how to help students analyze complex disease risk with a lack of curriculum materials. Providing open access to both content resources and an engaging storyline can be achieved using a “serious game” model. “Touching Triton” was developed as a serious game in which students are asked to analyze data from a medical record, family history, and genomic report in order to develop an overall lifetime risk estimate of six common, complex diseases. Evaluation of student performance shows significant learning gains in key content areas along with a high level of engagement.
The Biotechnology Discoveries and Applications guidebook aims to provide teachers with an overview of the recent advances in genetics and biotechnology, allowing them to share these findings with their students. The annual guidebook introduces a wealth of modern genomic discoveries and provides teachers with tools to integrate exciting content into the classroom. Released annually by the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama, the guidebook presents new findings in jargon-free, student-friendly language. The guidebook is introduced along with strategies for classroom use.