Exploring Difference in the Biology Classroom

"Exploring Difference in the Biology Classroom: Bringing together educators and researchers for conversations about the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genetics" is a collaboration between pgEd (Personal Genetics Education Project) and CERA to present the latest ELSI research as a resource for educators to use in the classroom. Each of the four events in this ELSIconversations series will have one or more ELSI researchers presenting new material followed by a discussion and a Q&A session.  

Please register for the first event below. 

Session 1: How to represent wide-ranging family structures and personal identities using the latest pedigree nomenclature 

Date: December 1, 3-4 pm PT / 6-7 pm ET

Speakers: Ina Amarillo, PhD & Robin Bennett, MS, LGC, PhD Hon

Co-Moderators: Marnie Gelbart, PhD & Nadine Vincenten, PhD

Pedigrees are a widely used tool in medicine, research, and teaching. In the classroom, pedigrees are a helpful tool for students to learn about genetics and the various ways in which genetic traits can pass through families. Traditionally, what most people have learned about pedigrees in school is that squares are for males, circles are for females, and lines indicate connections between parents and children across generations. Family structures and personal identities are wide ranging and so, for many people, this nomenclature will fall short. For example, people who were adopted or conceived by donor sperm may grapple with how to accurately portray their family relationships. And people whose gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth may find these symbols inadequate. How can educators create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all students, while still being able to clearly convey genetic concepts?

Our program will explore this question with two healthcare professionals who are experts in providing clinically and genetically meaningful information to their patients that is informed by and respectful of their personal identities and family structures. This session will include an introduction to latest guidelines in pedigree nomenclature, terminology and best practices for talking about sex and gender in the biology classroom, and ample time for Q&A with the panelists. After the session, participants are invited to join pgEd for a 30-minute discussion about resources, experiences, opportunities, and hurdles for including this content in the classroom.

Live captioning services will be provided by a certified Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) captioner and available via closed captioning. Closed captions will also be available for recordings.