SEP Curriculum

At Fred Hutch, we support engaging, challenging and relevant classroom learning experiences for all students by providing access to high-quality instructional materials developed by teachers and scientists. Our free, open-source lessons and units are geared towards high school biotech and biology teachers and focus on giving students opportunities to explore biotechnology and the social dimensions of research science.
 

Elephant

Elephant Conservation: Ivory Cache

Students follow a storyline that highlights both scientific and sociopolitical aspects of the elephant poaching problem. Students also become detectives, using gel electrophoresis to determine the source of a mock illegal ivory cache. This unit culminates in a stakeholder discussion and student proposals for solutions to poaching that demonstrate consideration for the needs of various stakeholders.

DETAILS
12 Lessons
Remote or In Classroom

KITS NEEDED TO TEACH UNIT:
Gel Electrophoresis Kit
Elephant Trunk Accessory Kit

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Photos of people of diverse ethnicities and ages

Race, Racism, and Genetics

What is race? Students learn about the role of race as an important part of social identity before examining race as a social and political construct influenced and reinforced by bias and structural racism. Analysis of human variation demonstrates that there are no genetic features that are present in all members of one "race" group and not in others. While race is not a genetically meaningful category, it can still impact biology through the enactment of racist policies and practices - which result in inequities in areas such as healthcare. 

DETAILS
10 Lessons
Remote or In Classroom

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Illustration of COVID-19

COVID 19 Testing and Inequities

In this unit students learn about the various testing methods for COVID-19 (molecular and antibody testing) through case studies and evaluate bioethical concerns of the current pandemic. Students also look at real data related to COVID-19 health inequities to reflect on what drives those disparities and deepen their understanding of systemic racism in exacerbating the effects on the pandemic on communities of color.

DETAILS
6 Lessons
Remote or In Classroom

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Person of color behind bars

DNA Exonerations

This unit uses multiple real DNA exoneration case studies as a way for students to explore modern day forensics, the criminal justice system, and mass incarceration in the U.S. 

DETAILS
7 Lessons
Remote or In Classroom

KITS NEEDED TO TEACH UNIT:
Gel Electrophoresis Kit

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blood cells
Frontiers in Cancer Research

Intro to Cancer & Bone Marrow Transplantation

This unit investigates the case of Hina Marsey, an eleven-year old girl, who is diagnosed with leukemia. By exploring Hina’s case, students develop conceptual models on cell growth/development, cancer, and cancer treatments. Students have opportunities for collaborative model building, discussions about health inequities in cancer, and evidence-based argumentation.

DETAILS
Intro Biology
10 Lesson Plans
Remote or In Classroom

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Illustration of a t-cell attacking a cancer cell
Frontiers in Cancer Research

Immunotherapy

This unit focuses on the topic of cancer, leukemia, and immunotherapies as a way to explore concepts such as the cell cycle, cell growth, the immune system, and genetic mutations. Over the seven lessons, students are introduced to a case study featuring Kristin K., a woman diagnosed with a treatment-resistant form of leukemia and for whom a stem cell donor match could not be found.

DETAILS
Advanced Biology & Biotechnology
7 Lesson Plans
Remote or In Classroom

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Group photo of students extracting dna

A Twist on Strawberry DNA Extraction

This lesson challenges students to design their own experimental protocol to extract DNA from strawberries. By developing their own protocol and presenting their findings in a lab meeting, students learn the importance of making claims with evidence and reasoning and communicating those claims. 

DETAILS
1 Lesson
Remote or In Classroom

KITS NEEDED TO TEACH UNIT:
DNA Extraction Kit

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child covering eyes in front of a plate of vegetables

Taster PCR

In this lesson, students will predict their phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) Taster Gene status using a bitter food quiz and analyze their own DNA from cheek cells for the presence of the TAS2R38 gene variant that make them able to taste bitterness.

DETAILS
1 Lesson Plan

KITS NEEDED TO TEACH UNIT:
PCR Kit
Gel Electrophoresis Kit

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Classic SEP Lessons

This page contains all of the classic SEP lessons around biotechnology tools and techniques. Including various lessons on micropipetting, gel electrophoresis, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), and bacterial transformation. 

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Teaching Tools/Resources

Compiled resources for teaching science virtually and argumentation and discourse strategies for the science classroom. 

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Related Pages

SEP Teacher Sharing

We have set up a Google folder for teachers to share resources. 

  • The Google folder contains a several subfolders on SEP kit-related topics shared by SEP teachers. There is also a subfolder on CRISPR resources, videos, and lessons. 
  • Create new folders to add other resources you'd like to share but model the general structure in the CRISPR folder (for example, articles and videos are probably easiest to share in a hyperlinked document and SEP Teacher Lessons in their own folder).
  • Indicate your name on any lessons that you have developed.
Google Folder for Sharing

Kit Loan Program & Supplies

Program participants have access to the Kit Loan Program developed and maintained by SEP.  Fred Hutch and other funders provide these kits to teachers, free of cost.

These kits offer SEP teachers the opportunity to share hands-on laboratory experiences with students in their classrooms, giving students a unique chance to engage in an authentic, problem-solving approach to science using the same tools and concepts utilized by researchers.

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