Evolution and Genetics

Program Overview

How can a better understanding of genetics allow you to formulate solutions to real-world problems? Why does the theory of evolution and its relation to speciation impact the acceptability of engineered solutions? Over the course of eight weeks, participants in this program will dive into specific subtopics within evolution and genetics to answer these questions by working through an actual case study project. The course will provide a unique experience to not only develop research and self-learning skills, but also to apply newly developed knowledge to solve an actual problem.

Participant ages and cohorts

This course is open to students that are between 11 and 18 years old. There will be separate cohorts for middle school (11-13) and high school (14-18) participants so we can structure the program in an age appropriate manner for both groups.

Course delivery

The program will be run completely online and asynchronously over the course of eight weeks to allow individuals with varying scheduling constraints to participate. Students will be provided accounts on our course learning management system (LMS) where they can access materials as well as interact with instructors and peers.

Applying what you learn

As part of this program, students will be tasked with a case study which will require them to apply what they've learned to solve a specific problem. However, formulating a potential scientific solution is just one part of the case study. As a cohort, students will have to deliberate on the merits of the solution given potential social and environmental implications of pursuing it. Examples of questions we expect students to consider as part of their project include:

  1. Technical feasibility: - Is the solution likely to be technically / scientifically feasible?
  2. Social implications: Does the solution benefit society in a fair manner or negatively impact a specific population both in the present and in the future?
  3. Environmental impact: Will the solution potentially create undesirable environmental issues, and if so, who is mostly likely to be negatively impacted by them?

Weekly objectives

While the course is asynchronous, cohorts for both age groups will be expected to submit assignments on a weekly basis (estimated commitment of 2-3 hours per week). All assignments will be group-based:

  • Research weeks (weeks 1-5): Students will be broken out into groups, and each group will be assigned a specific question. Students must collect (high school) / use provided (middle school) reference resources to collaboratively create a written response to the question. Participants will review work from other groups to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and peer-feedback.
  • Case study weeks (weeks 6-8): In the second segment of the course, students will work in groups to formulate (high school) and select (both age groups) a potential solution to the case study problem. By the end of the course they will be tasked with coming to a consensus on whether they would recommend pursuing the solution and defending their choice.

Interested in joining the cohort?

Students interested in this program will be asked to complete a short application assignment. Apply today to ensure you have adequate time to finish the process before the program launches!