An understanding of genetics and heredity is essential for 21st-century scientific literacy. In the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), genetics is introduced in elementary school and builds in complexity through high school. A fundamental understanding of genetics is required for students to be able to assess these new technologies and their ethical implications, such as research on cancer and genetic diseases, genome definition, transgenic and genetically modified organisms, and cloning. Genetics provides an excellent opportunity to bring current scientific research and debate into the classroom.

This basic genetics content and pedagogy course is intended for teachers who may not have taken genetics in college or graduate school or those who would like fresh ideas for teaching genetics. After taking this course, teachers will have concrete methods and content to engage students in genetic understanding and application, enhance their scientific literacy, and be able to critically evaluate bioethical issues. The teacher will also be able to provide insight and possess the foundational knowledge to analyze the rapidly changing developments in the world of genetics and their impact on society in the future.