Each QUBES Resource of the Week highlights openly licensed materials shared by QUBES users and partners.

Equity, Social Justice and Biology: Demystifying Race with Genetics of Human Skin Color (Version 1.0)

By Vedham Karpakakunjaram

Genetics of Human Skin Color Poster


Module Description:

This resource is a poster on a case study on the genetics of human skin color. Race-based interactions in human societies were largely borne out of a social construct and has no biological/scientific basis (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opinion/sunday/genetics-race.html). Such interactions and racial bias often are strongly influenced by the variations in skin color between individuals involved in the interaction. In the case study that I will be writing, students in Principles of Biology I (BIOL 150), an introductory biology course for majors will synthesize the information available on the genetic basis of skin color patterns in human population to debunk the “race” idea. Montgomery College serves students from more than 150 countries and our classrooms have students from diverse cultures and economic backgrounds.


Teaching Setting:

This poster describes a case study that is designed for students in an introductory biology course for majors.


QUBES Citation:

Karpakakunjaram, V. (2018). EQUITY, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND BIOLOGY: DEMYSTIFYING RACE WITH GENETICS OF HUMAN SKIN COLOR. Wicked Problems: Investigating real world problems in the biology classroom (SW 2018), QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4SH8P


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Related Materials and Opportunities:

The case study described in this resource is still under development.  If you are interested in providing feedback on the case study, feel free to email the author at vedham.karpakakunjaram@montgomerycollege.edu.  We also encourage you to “Watch” this resource so that you’ll be notified when the author shares a new version with information about the completed case study.  

The author attended and presented this poster at the 2018 QUBES/BioQUEST Summer Workshop, Wicked Problems: Investigating real world problems in the biology classroom. The workshop had a large case component, and some participants began developing case studies at the workshop. If you would like to learn more about what to expect at a QUBES/BioQUEST Summer Workshops, check out these blog posts written by Lillian Senn, Mark Slabodnick, Jenny Hazlehurst, and Darcy Taniguchi, 4 future faculty volunteers who attended the 2018 Summer Workshop.

The 2019 QUBES/BioQUEST Summer Workshop, titled Evolution of Data in the Classroom: From Data to Data Science, will be held at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA on July 14-19, 2019 and will focus on data science for undergraduate biology education. If you are interested in attending, we encourage you to sign up for updates here

The 2019 workshop organizers are seeking four highly motivated future faculty volunteers who will help with the day to day logistics of the workshop in exchange for a registration fee waiver.  If you are interested in being a future faculty volunteer, learn more about the Future Faculty Program on the workshop website. Applications will open early 2019. 


If you adopt and adapt this module, you are highly encouraged to share your adaptation back with the QUBES community using the QUBES Resources System for sharing Open Education Resources.
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QUBES Resource of the Week: Issue 17