Announcing the ISKME & 23andMe Learning Challenge

ISKME and 23andMe invite educators to submit their ideas for ways to study life and social sciences using their own personal genetic information. Five winners will be selected to receive 23andMe kits ($99 value) and training that will enable them to create high quality education materials. Apply here.

The ISKME & 23andMe Learning Challenge aims to increase awareness of the rapidly advancing field of personal genomics among Middle School and High School educators and to inspire them to integrate personal genomics as a learning tool in classrooms.  Personal genetics and genealogy tools can be used to teach key concepts in biology, anthropology, geography, bioethics, and other subject areas.

Educators will be invited to submit proposals of instructional design plans to the following challenge:

How might you use personal genetics to reimagine the way we study life science or social science?
Selected educators will receive 23andMe DNA test kits and experience personal genetics by examining their own DNA. Educators will use OER Commons as a platform to create, curate, and share teaching materials. 
Proposal Form: Educators must submit their instructional design plans by Tuesday March 31, 2015 using the form here.
Inspiration & Resource Supports: 
Awards: A review panel, made up of educators, experts, and project partners will select up to five proposal winners using the criteria below. Each winner will receive two 23andMe kits and gain access to 23andMe learning resources to implement their instructional design plans in their classrooms.
Scoring Rubric Criteria: Instructional design plan proposals will be assessed based on the following criteria. Is the proposal’s approach to studying the human genome:
  • Innovative (represents a new or re-imagined approach)
  • Personal (infuses storytelling and real world connections)
  • Cross-disciplinary (incorporates more than one subject area: science, humanities, art, math, technology, etc.)
  • Engaging (provides students opportunities to interact in various ways)
Winter 2014-2015: Kickoff and Proposal Submission
  • December: Launch the Learning Challenge at Big Ideas Fest. 
  • January-March: Participants submit proposals. 
  • March: Proposals due on March 31, 2015

Eligability: 23andMe kits are not available for Maryland or New York residents because of current state regulations.


Spring 2015: Training and Sharing
  • April: Proposals assessed and winners announced. 23andMe DNA kits mailed to winners. Kick-off online training with teachers to share resources, answer questions, and support winners in finalizing and implementing their instructional design plans.
  • May: Winners implement their instructional design plans, and author and share their genetics curriculum using Open Author on OER Commons. Genetics curriculum will be featured on the academic program landing page and 23andMe blogpost.