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Six Star Science Teacher-Recommended Collection: Bioinformatics

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Description Collection Description
This collection of resources will help to introduce the topic of Bioinformatics, from the start of DNA extraction to PCR to DNA sequencing. The collection includes an animation about DNA barcoding using the COI region of mtDNA, as well as resources about the Human Genome Project.

How were the items in this collection used?
Students will use DNA sequences to answer scientific questions such as: “What species did this piece of meat come from?” or “How does this gene mutation affect the synthesis of proteins?”.

Who used this collection?
For high school student who have a background in genetics and molecular biology, this is the next step in using the information gained from sequencing the DNA.

Student-centered instruction
Student can use case-based studies to understand how genetics can be used to answer questions about species identity, gene mutations, and genetic variation between species.

Valuing diversity
Students can start with the animations which will help them to understand the processes need to complete in order to obtain the DNA sequences used in bioinformatics studies. The activities relate to species identification, to gene mutations and cancers. This allows the student to choose the area of study they would like to learn about and most of the activities can be done in the classroom or at home (with access to a computer).

Integrating technology
The collection relies on internet access as most bioinformatics activities use an online database of DNA sequences to make comparisons and infer relationships between sequences. The information from the database can be mimed and used to create phylogenetic trees. There is not much social networking utilized in the site, but students can compare results with other classes if possible.

Authentic assessment
The resources in collection rely on the students understanding the basics of molecular biology, and build on the knowledge to allow the student to see how the data collected from gene sequencing can be used to answer scientific questions.

Utilizing accurate and timely content information
Bioinformatics is a relatively new scientific field and new resources are constantly being created using cutting edge science. By starting at the beginning with the Human Genome Project and continuing to DNA barcoding of new species, student can gain an understanding about how Bioinformatics has evolved over the course of ~15 years.

Reflecting on teaching and learning
My position as a teacher is an outreach position as the Outreach Scientist for the NMSU-HHMI Mobile Molecular Biology Lab (MML). The program has set labs that we bring into the classroom, so I don't have many opportunities to bring other resources into the classroom. I created this collection in order to provide these resources to the teachers who host the MML to build on the concepts that I introduce to the students as part of the laboratory activities.

Please enter suggestions for colleagues.
The resources in this collection can be done mostly on a computer, and some can be used as take home activities (if students have access to computer at home). If you have a section on what job opportunities there are for this area of science; one of the powerpoints has information that can be passed along to students.

Type of Resource Annotated Collection
Format Multiple Formats
Raena Cota, New Mexico State University
Grade/Age Levels High School lower division (Grades 9-10)
High School upper division (Grades 11-12)
Learning Time 4-6 hours
Languages English, Spanish
Cultural Aspect Historical (specific eras)
Type of Review Reviewed by Partner Organization

Resources in Collection
Click on any teaching resource's title for detailed information.
Web Site Links
Bioinformatics Activity Bank
This site provides activities relating to bioinformatics. The activities rely on genetic sequencing to help answer scientific questions.


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