Health in Our Hands (HiOH) connects the science classroom to the community to give youth and adults an understanding of modern concepts in genetics. Designed to meet the Next Generation Science Standards, HiOH curriculum uses Community-Inspired Project-Based Learning. Students investigate critical community health concerns and use these real-world contexts to appreciate the importance of both genetic and environmental factors in their risk for disease.

HiOH partners with family and community members to bring students’ cultural background and family experience into the science class as a resource and asset for learning. Biomedical research and health-related careers are introduced throughout the curricula. For their final project, students conduct an action research project to improve their school or neighborhood to help prevent or reduce disease. Students present the results and recommendations at a Youth Health Summit to their peers, family and community.

Features of HiOH curriculum:

  • NGSS-alignment (Lead states, 2013) engaging learners in learning goals, which integrate disciplinary core ideas (DCIs), scientific and engineering practices (SEPs), and crosscutting concepts (CCCs) to enable learners to explain phenomena or solve problems and thus improve learning.
  • Technology-rich including multiple simulations and online modeling to support instruction.  A new simulation was developed for this curriculum with partners at the Concord Consortium that uses sand rats as a model for studying diabetes (Lee et al., 2018).
  • Cultural relevance using Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) as a framework through which to develop the curriculum. CRP rests on three foundations: an ability to develop students academically, willingness to nurture and support cultural competence, and the development of a sociopolitical or critical consciousness (Ladson-Billing, 1995; Ladson-Billings, 2014).
  • Coherence that builds and deepens genomic literacy by experiencing multiple phenomena across time.


The curriculum is under development and being tested in classrooms but can be used with appropriate citations and recognizing that revised versions will be distributed in the future. To realize the full potential of the curriculum, professional development and support for teachers in the classroom is highly recommended.


License: CC-BY-SA 4.0 Modifications YES, commercial use YES, sharing required YES (CC-BY-SA-4.0) This resource is provided under the terms of the Creative Commons license linked below. You may remix, tweak, and build upon this resource for non-commercial and commercial purposes, as long as you provide credit to CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University and license your new creations under identical terms.

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