Alabama high school teachers attend GREAT genetic resource workshop

More than 100 Alabama life science teachers learned about the latest in genetic and genomic research at the Genetic Resources to Empower Alabama Teachers (GREAT) workshop in Birmingham Sept. 29-30.

GREAT was developed by the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville in 2012 to keep teachers up-to-date in the field of genetics by providing them with information that is too new to be in textbooks and by educating them about what research is outdated. Since the workshop’s inception, 500 educators from more than 230 public high schools in Alabama have participated.

Led by the Educational Outreach team at HudsonAlpha, this round of content focused on cell division and cancer and how DNA sequencing is making new cancer treatments possible.

GREAT is made possible through funding by the Alabama Legislature for education initiatives.

“We are grateful for the support of the Legislature, which enables HudsonAlpha to provide professional development opportunities for Alabama teachers to update their knowledge of genetics and discover recent scientific findings,” said Neil Lamb, PhD, vice president for educational outreach at HudsonAlpha. “It is our hope that teachers leave the workshop feeling empowered, equipped and appreciated for the job they do for students every day.”

GREAT is a free, two-day workshop available to teachers at Alabama accredited public high schools. Teachers spend each day in small group sessions that are directly related to the current course of study and are lead by HudsonAlpha educators. Participants learn how to effectively translate each lesson into their classroom by using labs and activities such as the ChromoSock™ Meiosis Classroom Kit, an activity created to represent chromosomes and demonstrate the phases of meiosis and Mendel’s laws.

Educators who complete the two-day workshop receive a $70 substitute teacher cost reimbursement. Each workshop cycles across the state of Alabama and presents a new round of content each cycle. The next GREAT Workshop’s topic will focus on changes to the genetics content in the new Alabama Course of Study for Science, with the first offering in Auburn, Ala. Fall 2016. For more information on locations and dates and to register, visit: