Using EteRNA with High School Students?

Hello EteRNA community! I am a high school biology teacher and I just discovered EteRNA after reading a WIRED article yesterday. I am entertaining the idea of using EteRNA with my Honors Biology students this upcoming school year. I will also be teaching a college credit course for our STEM students in the summer of 2013 on Human and Veterinary Medicine. Since one of our topics will be medical research I am brainstorming ways I might incorporate EteRNA into that curriculum as well. I am wondering if anyone in the community has any experience or ideas for using EteRNA with high school students. Are there any age restrictions for registering? I know I will need to develop clear expectations regarding content posted on forums and in the chat window. One idea I had is to instigate a friendly competition by offering rewards to the top three student scores.

Contact clollin. He is doing this with his students in a New Jersey school.

Hi Nbuyck!

Also try contact Nadine. She have had some 4 and 5 graders play Eterna with her plus entire classes.

You can find and contact them via message. Search for their name in the player field.

Dear nbuyck:

This sounds like a fantastic idea. There are no age restrictions on registering and high school students are welcome! Please let us know (by posting here in the comments, or by sending me a message in-game) if there’s any way we can help. Also, we would love to hear your experiences afterwards.

Hi Nbuyck, I discovered EteRNA on Wired on 7/13 and had the same thought! I am planning to use EteRNA in my Biotechnology Engineering class this year (2012/13). We do a long unit on DNA/RNA sequencing techniques. I think EteRNA will be an excellent resource!

I look forward to hearing how other teachers are using EteRNA.

Lets keep in touch!

We are receiving some requests from teachers at the university or graduate level for teaching material as well.

Also, I’m going to be setting up an EteRNA-based exercise to teach statistical mechanics and allostery to Stanford’s graduate level Macromolecules class, in spring 2013.

Perhaps the most powerful thing would be for us (EteRNA developers) to help collect any materials – slides, exercise sheets, videos – that teachers are developing, and then post them in the game itself (say under a heading, ‘EteRNA Academy’). As other teachers use those materials, we’d ask them to give credit to the originators and also to share any new materials.

Could folks who have taken these classes ask their teachers to contact us? Either a forum post in this thread or, better, a direct e-mail to me, rhiju [at] would be fantastic! If we have enough response, we’ll set up a site, perhaps as a wiki.

I discovered etRNA through Nova Science Now. I have brought it to the attention of my middle school science teacher, and she is going to put it in the curriculum. Super excited!

The developers have been talking more about this. One simple thing that would help teachers would be to set up groups/teams with teachers as team leaders so that scores can be compared in a class. This is now on our list! Thanks to Jack Treml for discussing this.

A second thing is that we are about to launch is a new wiki that will let us collect education content in a more organized way. For both of these efforts, all credit goes to Jee and a new programmer on the team, Diana, who has been doing amazing work.

The last thing that we’ve been discussing is partnering with some professional educators (incl. folks at Nova) to make videos & tutorials specifically for high school students. This is a really exciting initiative, and Adrien has heard recently that some folks at NovaLabs have been pursuing funding, with promising results. So stay tuned for that.

Please do continue to post here with further requests – or better, descriptions of how you are thinking of using EteRNA in the classroom!

This is amazing news, not just for the highschool students and their teachers. But for all of Eterna, especially our newer members. Thanks Jee and Diana for making this happen and Adrien too for working with Nova.

That’s cool! I’m a 7th grade student.

This is so cool. Thanks for playing!

wish this was around when I was in high school…

My school is actually working to make this into a community service project for the science oriented students that are really interested in it.

Amber: Let us know if you need something to make EteRNA playing count as community service. My guess is that the time spent by one student to guide another student in the community into the ‘lab’ and to get something synthesized should qualify!

What my school is trying to figure out currently is if there is a way that we could log active hours when working on a lab.

Hi Amber - we don’t have specific logging features other than player profiles right now… but that could change. Do you have specific activities you would like to track in your class? Please let us know.

Have you made any headway with EteRNA Academy? I’m teaching a bioengineering course in the fall (2013), and I’m interested using it in some way. At this point, I’m just planning on sending a link to the students.

Yes, we’ve started putting together materials, at least for a module in a graduate level course. Lots of lessons learned, and some very nice designs by students. In addition, we are working with NOVA labs to make a module for middle/high school students over the next year. At what level is your course at?

Freshman undergraduate bioengineers

I’ll work to have our materials up for a grad. level course. by end of July and post here. At the very least, we’ve found a set of puzzles to solve that nicely introduce concepts. Perhaps a worksheet asking students to answer specific questions about those puzzles could then serve as something handed in for a grade.