Finding Your Roots Curriculum Project

Directors: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Nina Jablonski (Pennsylvania State University)

The Finding Your Roots Curriculum Project is rooted in Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s popular genealogy series on PBS, Finding Your Roots, which explores history through the personal stories of highly accomplished individuals of all ethnicities using cutting-edge genetic investigation and genealogical research. The overall aim of the project is to stimulate young learners to be excited about science, and possibly pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), by being scientists of themselves. 2016 saw the pilot of the first Genetics and Genealogy summer camps at the Pennsylvania State University and the University of South Carolina. With the experience gained from those camps leading to some moderations in curriculum and approach, a control group camp (Genetics & Genealogy Detectives) was held at Penn State during summer 2017, to test the theory that a personalized approach is more meaningful and relevant to middle school students. Teacher training and curriculum development continue with each phase of the project.