DNAZone is a K-12 educational outreach program organized by the Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology at Carnegie Mellon University. DNAZone attracts students to STEM by engaging them in hands-on activities. Through this program, CNAST fosters students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as well as cultivates an appreciation for collaboration and interdisciplinary work.
DNAZone works to improve student engagement, attitudes, and beliefs towards science through three distinct outreach endeavors. The program leads hands-on scientific demonstrations at university, community, or other local events. DNAZone provides professional development to Pittsburgh-area middle and high school science teachers. Finally, DNAZone loans free resources such as materials and experiment lesson plans to 4th-12th grade science teachers through its Classroom Kit Lending Library.
The DNAZone website acts as the distribution hub for STEM teaching and outreach tools. The website has links to teaching materials, including activities and demonstrations that the teachers can implement in their Biology, Chemistry or Physics courses. These materials are organized in a structure based on the Science Standards of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which the teachers in the Public Schools of the Allegheny County follow. The website identifies for the teachers the Curriculum Insertion Points for each activity and it also offers links to other resources they can use in the classroom in relationship to the topic that the activity illustrates.