SiS Partners with Wendell Phillips Academy for Silverstein Genetics Curriculum

Science in Society
March 27, 2015

In March, Science in Society (SiS) launched a new initiative in partnership with Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois. Through the support of The Herman M. and Bea L. Silverstein Foundation, Science in Society has developed and implemented a genetics curriculum for high school students in two honors biology classrooms at Wendell Phillips.

The curriculum explores the latest medical advances in genetic testing as a method for diagnosing disease, and also examines the ethical issues surrounding the practice. As part of the curriculum, the students are learning how to study DNA through hands-on activities using real laboratory techniques.

Over the course of four weeks, the students will work their way through a made-up case study in which the young child of a pilot is diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, a rare epileptic disorder. The students, through simulated genetic tests, will have to determine if the father also has the genetic variant associated with Dravet, and if this variant could make him a liability for his company.

The curriculum will culminate with an in-depth discussion about the ethics of revealing genetic information, and how this knowledge can affect other aspects of people’s lives.


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