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Magnet teacher recognized with science teaching award
Amanda Baskett

Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology teacher Amanda Baskett and the Jackson Laboratory in Maine were recently recognized with the Inquiry-based Instruction award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Rockdale Magnet School is one of three magnet schools that partner with the Jackson Laboratory for an internet-based educational program in computational biology that explores genetic mapping. Baskett has been working with Magnet students, Jasmine Johnson, who now attends Stanford University, Gabe Kaplan and Chelse Steele.

Each month the AAAS, the world's largest scientific organization, recognizes an innovative educational program with the Inquiry-Based Instruction prize in its flagship journal, Science. The May 2013 winner, Quantitative Trait Mapping, grew from an educational outreach program at The Jackson Laboratory's Center for Genome Dynamics, which gives students an immersion experience as systems biology researchers.

During the school year, Center director Gary Churchill, Ph.D., and outreach coordinator Susan McClatchy "meet" once a week in a 90-minute online session with select students from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone, Maine; the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, N.C., and the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology in Conyers.

"We realized early on," Churchill said, "that we wanted to use that time for interaction with the kids, rather than lectures. These modules let the students work on the basic skills they need offline, with their teachers, Deborah McGann, Robert Gotwals and Amanda Baskett."

Churchill, McClatchy and their teacher-collaborators have published an essay describing the Quantitative Mapping Module in a recent edition of the national journal "Science" - "Students as Collaborators in Systems Biology Research."