BioEYES Gifted Enhancements

BioEYES is working with School District of Philadelphia schools who have identified gifted students. In Fall 2019 we began offering these schools "gifted enhancements" as add-ons to the regular BioEYES curriculum.

We are pleased to report that we were able to deliver gifted enhancements to 9 schools, 10 teachers, and 25 classes in Philadelphia public schools from November 2019 through February 2020.

These supplements can be available to other collaborators as well. Interested teachers should contact tracyn@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.


A UPenn graduate student visits a Philadelphia middle school to discuss her research. BioEYES educator Anthony Natale brings Drosophila fruit flies to a Philadelphia middle school. A Philadelphia high school student uses a special flashlight and goggles to view green fluorescent protein in zebrafish larvae.

Menu of Enhancements

(Typically a teacher will choose 1 to add-on to their regularly scheduled BioEYES week.)

  • Zebrafish habitat:
    Design a zebrafish habitat that includes abiotic and biotic elements. Evaluate why a local river would not make a good zebrafish habitat. Take a look at brine shrimp, a prey of zebrafish, under the microscope. (Suggested grade level: Elementary)

  • Introduction to Genetics:
    Dominant and recessive traits are introduced as students cross an albino zebrafish with a wild type zebrafish and raise the offspring. (Suggested grade level: Elementary)

  • Meet a Scientist:
    Graduate student visits and shares his/her research while also discussing their career path. (Suggested grade levels: Elementary, Middle, High school)
A UPenn graduate student visits a Philadelphia middle school to discuss her research.
  • Exploring Statistics and Graphing:
    Translate data into tables and/or graphs, then analyze. (Suggested grade levels: Elementary, Middle, High school)

  • Citizen Science Work Group:
    Students take their data collected and share it with other schools also doing BioEYES to look for similarities and differences. (Suggested grade levels: Elementary, Middle, High school)

  • Read Like a Scientist:
    Read and review a zebrafish article from a scientific journal with discussion prompts and vocabulary and data lessons. (Suggested grade levels: Middle, High school)

  • Experiment with the Environment:
    Raise embryos at different temperatures and evaluate how temperature affects the embryo’s growth and development. Students can contribute to the experimental design. Raise embryos at different temperatures and evaluate how temperature affects the embryo’s growth and development. Students can contribute to the experimental design. This is typically an additional week-long experiment. (Suggested grade levels: Middle, High schools)

  • Introduction to Embryology:
    In-depth look at the developmental stages a vertebrate embryo goes through. Suggested grade levels: Middle, High school

  • Using Drosophila as a Research Organism:
    Compare this model organism to a zebrafish. Fruit flies are brought in to the classroom to view under the microscope. (Suggested grade levels: Middle, High school)
BioEYES educator Anthony Natale brings Drosophila fruit flies to a Philadelphia middle school.
  • Introduction to Genetic Engineering:
    The 5 W's of genetic engineering are discussed (Who, What, When, Where, Why). Real-life examples of genetically engineered zebrafish are brought in to the classroom. (Suggested grade levels: Middle, High schools)

  • Make Observations Using Fluoerscent Microscopy:
    Introduction to fluorescent microscopy as a tool scientists use. Students try and view GFP zebrafish larvae using special goggles and flashlight. (Suggested grade levels: Middle, High school)
A Philadelphia high school student uses a special flashlight and goggles to view green fluorescent protein in zebrafish larvae.
  • Mutants in Research:
    What can mutations teach us? Students discover what the Nic-1 gene is responsible for by doing an embryo screen. Hint: it affects the nervous system. (Suggested grade level: High school)

  • Evolutionarily Conserved Genes:
    Highlights some of the genes that are conserved in both zebrafish and humans by having students work in groups to determine the role of bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs) in development. (Suggested grade level: High school)

  • Epigenetic Modification:
    Students will study epigenetic modifiers by designing an experiment using flowering time in Arabidopsis plants. This is typically an additional week-long experiment. (Suggested grade level: High school)
Topic Suggested Grade Level Description
Zebrafish Habitat Elementary Design a zebrafish habitat that includes abiotic and biotic elements. Evaluate why a local river would not make a good zebrafish habitat. Take a look at brine shrimp, a prey of zebrafish, under the microscope.
Introduction to Genetics Elementary Dominant and recessive traits are introduced as students cross an albino zebrafish with a wild type zebrafish and raise the offspring.
Meet a Scientist Elementary, Middle, High school Graduate student visits and shares his/her research while also discussing their career path.
Exploring Statistics & Graphing Elementary, Middle, High school Translate data into tables and/or graphs, then analyze.
Citizen Science Work Group Elementary, Middle, High school Students take their data collected and share it with other schools also doing BioEYES to look for similarities and differences.
Read Like a Scientist Middle, High school Read and review a zebrafish article from a scientific journal with discussion prompts and vocabulary and data lessons.
Experimenting with the Environment Middle, High school Raise embryos at different temperatures and evaluate how temperature affects the embryo’s growth and development. Students can contribute to the experimental design. *This is typically an additional week-long experiment
Introduction to Embryology Middle, High school In-depth look at the developmental stages a vertebrate embryo goes through.
Using Drosophila as a Research Organism Middle, High school Compare this model organism to a zebrafish. Fruit flies are brought in to the classroom to view under the microscope.
Introduction to Genetic Engineering Middle, High school The 5 W's of genetic engineering are discussed (Who, What, When, Where, Why). Real-life examples of genetically engineered zebrafish are brought in to the classroom.
Make Observations Using Fluorescent Microscopy Middle, High school Introduction to fluorescent microscopy as a tool scientists use. Students try and view GFP zebrafish larvae using special goggles and flashlight.
Mutants in Research High school What can mutations teach us? Students discover what the Nic-1 gene is responsible for by doing an embryo screen. (Hint: it affects the nervous system!)
Evolutionarily Conserved Genes High school Highlights some of the genes that are conserved in both zebrafish and humans by having students work in groups to determine the role of bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs) in development.
Epigenetic Modification High school Students will study epigenetic modifiers by designing an experiment using flowering time in Arabidopsis plants. *This is typically an additional week-long experiment

Proudly partnered for the advancement of science education
University of Pennsylvania
Carnegie Institution for Science
University of Utah
Monash University
Thomas Jefferson University