Assignment has some Asheville students searching their DNA
Some middle school students in Asheville are getting hands-on experience that is usually only found in high school or college.
Lab work is underway at Montford North Star Academy, where students are sampling their DNA in search of a gene that can be a life-saver.
With the help of UNC Asheville instructor Dr. Jennifer Ward, the students are isolating their own DNA. Ward has already run some of the gel slides and identified the students who do and do not have the gene to taste bitterness.
Teachers said the assignment is a great opportunity for students.
"As a project-based learning assignment, we're going to take this lab and connect it to math, ELA and social studies and incorporate all of these core contents into one project so the relevance sticks longer and that it means something to them. So, they're not just learning individual subjects, they're connecting it all together," seventh-grade science teacher Michelle Berzack said.
Berzack said this is the first step in a really large project that all seventh-graders at the school will participate in. She said this activity was made possible thanks to a grant from the Roots Foundation as well as the National Science Foundation.