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Last week, the fifth and seventh grades participated in a weeklong program called BIOEYES in a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania. Fifth grade students observed male and female fish and identified genotypes of wild type zebra fish and albino fish. Students then reared fish eggs and predicted the appearance of their fish larvae. This is an exciting program we have done each year in fifth grade as an introduction to genetics. Students were able to view the development of a zebra fish egg for several days under the microscope. It was amazing to watch students as they observed an animal's eyes or spinal cord develop and then watch as they saw the fish heartbeat right before their eyes.
Baldwin’s seventh grade built on the foundations of genetic principles they learned when they were in fifth grade by participating in more complex genetics and scientific inquiry with advanced zebra fish experiments. Although designed for high school students, our Baldwin girls dove in and had fun with hands-on learning and live fish! They explored heterozygous and homozygous mutations for a more in-depth Mendelian genetic experiment and discussed vertebrate embryonic development. This provided the foundation for our discussion on genetic engineering explored through our very own classroom fish, which were genetically modified to express fluorescent proteins. This rigorous scientific inquiry will continue to cultivate the development of our students as young scientists proficient in scientific method and help them to evaluate, synthesize and logically reason through information.