Wilk, R., Ali, N., England, S.J., Lewis, K.E. (2018) Using Zebrafish to Bring Hands-On Laboratory Experiences to Urban Classrooms. Zebrafish. 15(2):156-178.
Zebrafish are widely used as a model organism for research. Zebrafish embryos are also a useful resource for teaching students about vertebrate development. Here we describe a collaboration between two high school teachers and two university professors that used zebrafish to bring hands-on laboratory experiences to inner-city students, with the aim of increasing tangibility, and improving student understanding and retention, of several fundamental scientific concepts, such as the scientific method, cell division, mitosis, and Mendelian genetics. We describe and provide supporting material for each of the four laboratory modules that we developed. We also discuss the obstacles that we encountered and include suggestions of ways to overcome these. This collaboration provides an example of how high school teachers with very little zebrafish experience can gain the knowledge and confidence to develop and implement modules such as these in a relatively short period of time. Owing to the wide availability of zebrafish resources, these laboratories should provide a useful resource for other teachers who are interested in integrating more hands-on, inquiry-based investigations using live animals into their classes. We also hope to encourage other zebrafish researchers to collaborate with local teachers in similar projects.