Essays on Science and SocietyIBI* Series Winner

Students Propose Genetic Solutions to Societal Problems

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Science  27 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6153, pp. 1467-1468
DOI: 10.1126/science.1230002

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Summary

In the Foundations of Biology sequence for entering biological sciences majors at the University of Minnesota, inquiry-based learning is woven throughout the classroom and laboratory. During the first semester lecture and discussion, students work in teams on a Genetic Engineering Proposal in which they propose a gene-based solution to a societal problem of their own choosing. Instructors coach the teams throughout the semester on experimental design and resources, as well as on data analysis, presentation strategies, team work, and research ethics. On the basis of outcomes from the nearly 3000 students who have taken the course over the past 6 years, the project has succeeded in engaging students in the intellectual work of biologists and the experience of science as creative inquiry.