Genetics tough topic to teach, but fun to learn at Scott Township Library
Gregor Mendel, the father of genetics, would have been proud of a small group of children at the Scott Township Library.
They tackled genetics head on, as participants in a week-long “Science in the Summer” program sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline earlier this month.
For Julia Teufel, 7, of Mt. Lebanon, the main message was clear.
“The mom may have one of the cells that the grandma had, and then maybe one that her dad had,” Teufel said.
She was referring to the DNA that makes up all living organisms.
Before the program started, the children had to pronounce deoxyribonucleic acid. Not an easy feat for a 7-year-old.
Michaela Williams, a staff educator with the Carnegie Science Center, explained genetics to the second- through sixth-graders. She used tools, including a version of the Punnett Square, a method that scientists use to categorize genes.
In her demonstration, gingerbread men and colored pom-poms took on the likenesses of parents and genetic traits. Williams then had the children mix and match the genes. The result was a visual of how genetic traits pass down from parents to offspring.
Children left the program with a favorite project in mind, such as a trait bracelet. Williams told them to pick a bead that corresponds with a certain trait, and place it on a bracelet.
“I liked making the trait bracelets,” said Evelyn Roberts, 9. “Mine says ‘I can't roll my tongue, I'm lefthanded, and I have brown eyes.'”
Williams said science “can be a very daunting and overwhelming. Our biggest thing is making it relatable, and always asking open-ended questions that make them think.”
Williams said genetics is a tough topic to teach, but said it relates to everyday life.
“I don't want kids to think, ‘This is some crazy unattainable equation I don't understand,'” Williams said. “Genetics and deoxyribonucleic acid sound scary. But that's how my hair grows, and determines my eye color.”
Sherry Small, youth services manager with the library, said there is plenty of interest in science in the community.
David Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5804 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Couple celebrates 61st anniversary on Christmas Eve
- Plenty of choices to ring in 2015
- 1904 grade separation plan provides insight into community
- Carnegie couple to celebrate 40th anniversary Dec. 21
- Carnegie church brightens Christmas with free meals
- For Crafton Elementary school students, loom business is booming
- Crafton Elementary teacher earns straight A’s from staff