The National Science Education Standards and education research literature emphasize that students need to be engaged in the "process" of science—asking questions, forming hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting data, analyzing results, and drawing conclusions. To support this shift in education, the DNALC has developed robust methods that allow students to develop their own research projects while using common approaches. These programs aim to increase the understanding and interest of students in science by enabling them to design and carry out modern molecular research projects.
Just as the unique pattern of bars in a universal product code (UPC) identifies each consumer product, a DNA barcode is a unique pattern of DNA sequence that identifies each living thing. DNA barcodes can be used to identify and study species in many contexts, from biodiversity studies to forensic studies. DNA barcoding allows students to identitify species using DNA sequence information in these many contexts, making it an ideal common technique for multiple distinct student projects.
In collaboration with Stony Brook University (SBU), Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), the DNA Learning Center (DNALC) of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory announces Barcode Long Island (BLI). With funding from the National Institutes of Health, the project mission is for students to gain an intuitive understanding of the crucial interdependence between humans and the natural environment. Over the course of five years, BLI will use DNA barcoding to explore, document, and track the biodiversity on and around Long Island, through independent and distributed experiments by student research teams, led by trained Long Island educators. BLI will provide students with real and relevant research experience while they contribute to our knowledge of their environment.
The Urban Barcode Project (UBP) is a science competition spanning the five boroughs of New York City. In the Urban Barcode Project, student research teams use DNA barcoding to explore biodiversity in New York City. The UBP is the first large-scale effort to engage high school students using DNA technology to explore biodiversity in New York City. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supported the first round of the UBP from January 2011 through June 2012, and the competition continues today. Projects can use DNA barcodes to examine any aspect of the NYC environment.
The Urban Barcode Research Program (UBRP), is an initiative to engage high school students to study biodiversity in NYC supported by the Pinkerton Foundation. Students participate in workshops and conduct independent research projects with Scientist Mentors using DNA barcoding.