Zebrafish: Faster than Fast Plants
Presented by: Boston Children’s Hospital
Strand: K-12 Education
Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have collaborated with biology teachers at Boston Latin School to bring zebrafish into the classroom. This hands-on one-week program brings zebrafish into classrooms in order to enhance conceptual understanding of life science content while exposing students to the use of zebrafish as model organisms for scientific discovery.
Over the course of a week, students mate zebrafish, visualize genetic inheritance, and observe embryonic development. By crossing pigmented and unpigmented fish, students can test hypotheses about the parental genotypes based on observation of the pigmentation phenotype of the embryos, which is apparent within 3 days. Zebrafish develop from a single cell to a complete organism in 4 days, which allows students to observe all phases of embryonic development within the week. Furthermore, on the last day of the program, researchers were able to discuss the use of zebrafish as a model organism to study many aspects of biology. This program was implemented in all 9th grade biology classrooms at Boston Latin School and proven to be effective, as demonstrated by post-curriculum surveys.
At our exhibit, we will engage participants in the hands on activities that their students will experience. We will present the basic curriculum, observe fish, and attendees can count embryos and hypothesize on the genotypes of the parents. Additional embryos will be utilized for observation of the varying stages of growth and development. We will discuss ways of connecting with zebrafish researchers in order to bring this unique experience into schools across the state.