I love to talk about the biology behind how life works with other people. Some of the best conversations I have ever had have been with fifth graders learning about DNA. I am amazed that they know an incredible amount of information relating to genetics, way more than I ever knew when I was their age.

I currently teach genetics and molecular biology to middle school students, high school students, teachers, and the general public. One of the greatest skills I have learned in my current position is the importance of engaging your audience and making the material you are introducing easy to understand. Instead of trying to impress people with fancy facts and complex ideas, I was taught to present information in a simple matter. In my initial observations of my fellow teachers, I was intimidated and thought that everyone around me had to be more intelligent. I heard one teacher describe the DNA in one cell as a cookbook and the genes as recipes. I was shocked at the simplicity of the analogy and went home to compare it with the complicated writing in my old textbooks. What I found was that the once foreign language of the textbooks was transformed. Not only could I grasp what they were saying with ease, but I was also able to identify the sections that were poorly explained. I felt empowered and began to search for new ways to describe biology in simple terms.

Getting the facts correct when teaching is equally important as enabling an audience to find a bridge between what they already know and what you are introducing them to. I continue to read about genetics from various resources and try to incorporate as much diversity into my lessons as possible. I enjoy using DNA from the Beginning to describe specific concepts and experiments. I recommend reading the descriptions and the checking out the animations for each section. Also, here are some of my favorite sites for introducing genetics and getting excited about DNA:

DNA interactive

The Human Genome Website: Genetics 101

American Museum of Natural History: The Gene Scene