Playing with DNA blocks

Brandeis works with teachers to make science education more hands-on and enjoyable for kids.

Anna Hartmann with teacher working with kit.Photo: Mike Lovett

Graduate student Anna Hartmann works with Waltham middle school teachers.

As part of its educational outreach program, Brandeis scientists on Thursday showed a group of Waltham middle school teachers one way to make learning about DNA fun. It involves playing with small plastic parts that click together like Legos.

For about an hour, in a classroom at Waltham High School, the roughly one dozen middle school teachers built models of peptide bonds, nucleotides, amino acids, DNA and genes. The expectation is that they will try the approach out on their students.

Nate Tompkins, PhD '15, assistant director of research and education for the Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC) and graduate students Anna Hartmann, MS '13, and Gabriel Bronk '11, MS '17, conducted the teacher training session along with Amanda Mayer from MIT's Edgerton Center. The Edgerton Center developed the DNA kit.

Next week, Brandeis will hold a similar session for Waltham’s high school teachers.

Categories: Science and Technology, Student Life

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