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Family history and science in one project.

Greetings to all. I just thought of a great way to get high school kids to get personally involved with history. Grades 10 - 12, it would be up to the school districts, to do a year report of their family genealogy. Including full reports of any interesting characters in their past. I know we all got them. Also have the submit DNA samples to help support this information. They would be learning about them and their family, history and science.
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    Almost all school districts (all that my kids and grandkids have attended) have their students do some family history research. So this has been going on for almost fifty years (yeah, my oldest child is 50 this year).

    This usually takes place while still in grade school around the fifth or sixth grade.

    As to spending a year, there are some subjects that are needed more than just finding out about one's ancestry, which are no longer actively taught in many school districts.

    A lot depends upon the state educational system and the local school district. Most of us who are active with Family History have grandkids.
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  • It would be a great thing if DNA could be a major tool for genealogy. But caution must be considered. For instance the great gift of the internet and see how some have corrupted it. The same for DNA sites, personally I would love to submit but I'm concerned like many others if such a data base acceptable to the corporate world think about ways it could be used. Just a thought if someone like Hitler had access to DNA information I'd expect a nightmare for humanity. No matter if a law for privacy is made laws can be changed like the wind can change direction.
    • At the present time DNA results are open to interpretation and interpreted differently by each company that performs the DNA.

      The only valid DNA tests that can be used are the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. Most of the admixture tests do not provide this information.

      There are instances where people are discovering that they did not have a biological link with one or both parents, and have been able to establish a biological relationship with the real parent(s).
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  • Nice thought but would quickly get bogged down in much frustration. We have fairly close family members where the mother does not know who the father is. Adoptees would run into similar situations. Many African Americans may trace their history back to slave situations where any trace of ancestry would hit major brick walls. DNA analysis is still pretty spendy, and not something that could be mandated of all students. While a worthwhile effort for a limited class project going back only a few generations, trying to mandate genealogy as a yearlong class project is just asking for trouble.
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    I agree, I don't see the need for any school district to have information on a child's DNA. I can see a lot of trouble arising with that. Although I think it would be great for a science teacher to delve into DNA with students interested in taking that class and taking it into the genealogy field. That might spark some further interest for the students involved.
    I would personally love to find a way to get the youth more interested in Family Search. One way would be for them to find interesting or 'famous' people in their family history, but having no way of knowing which students that will happen with is a guessing game.
    My granddaughter did this project a year or two ago and she was tickled to show the class how she had common ancestors with Tim Tebow, especially since she lives in CO. and he played for the Broncos at one time.

    It would be interesting to take family history the route that Find My Relatives has, for high school students, but I believe that is only available to church members, right?
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    DNA testing is much too expensive to mandate it for a school project, and there are also privacy concerns, but there is much education that could be (should be!) done about the topic. I think one could "bring home" the nitty-gritty complexities by simply studying a single person's DNA results -- perhaps the teacher's, or some other staff member's (who could even remain anonymous, although that would remove some of the personal connection that could help capture the interest of students).

    Likewise for mandating in-depth family history: families are too complex, and some students would be at an inherent disadvantage. A project that starts with a basic family tree for each student (just a few names and dates) would certainly be doable, but the details of documentation and research strategies and so on would be better demonstrated on a teacher's family tree. (I think the main point of such an exercise would be teaching about documentation, evaluation of evidence, and research sources. Side excursions into geography and world history would be an added bonus.)
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  • DNA testing is getting less expensive. During the holidays, I saw offers for DNA admixture tests down under $60. At that price, the company still makes money, so the test itself is reaching a point where an arrangement could be made with a testing company for all students to be tested.

    I'm not saying that I'm in favor of this, but I am also not against it.
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