Bioinformatics for middle school aged children: Activities for exposure to an interdisciplinary field

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, there has been a push for better exposure, recruitment, and training of United States adolescents to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) related fields. Educators are working to empower youths with early exposure to STEM topics to engage in the hard sciences in their futures. Among these topics is bioinformatics, an interdisciplinary focus with roots in computer science, molecular biology, genetics, and mathematics. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, bioinformatics requires a large learning curve. It is difficult to design programs for exposure and recruitment in bioinformatics for students below the college level, so much so that there are only a handful of activities appropriate for high school aged youths, and veritably none for middle school children. Despite this difficulty, we have created a program for bioinformatics exposure in middle school aged children and implemented a number of novel activities designed to teach basic bioinformatics concepts such as using biomedical databases, phylogeny, and sequence assembly. We implemented this program as part of a pilot program in iSTEM (Innovative, Interdisciplinary, Information Technology-Enhanced STEM), an after school program for middle school students (5th through 8th grade), and are encouraged to find that these young student participants found these activities fun, exciting, and enhanced their desire to perform similar activities in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationISEC 2017 - Proceedings of the 7th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages1-9
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781509053797
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 24 2017
Event7th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference, ISEC 2017 - Princeton, United States
Duration: Mar 11 2017 → …

Publication series

NameISEC 2017 - Proceedings of the 7th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference

Other

Other7th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference, ISEC 2017
CountryUnited States
CityPrinceton
Period3/11/17 → …

Keywords

  • STEM
  • bioinformatics
  • education
  • exposure
  • hands-on learning
  • information technology after school
  • middle school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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  • Cite this

    Cooper, K., McGraw, A., & Khazanchi, D. (2017). Bioinformatics for middle school aged children: Activities for exposure to an interdisciplinary field. In ISEC 2017 - Proceedings of the 7th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference (pp. 1-9). [7910217] (ISEC 2017 - Proceedings of the 7th IEEE Integrated STEM Education Conference). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ISECon.2017.7910217