Each April Palms celebrates DNA Day, commemorating the discovery of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick.
In the months preceding DNA Day our students prepare for DNA Day with classroom studies on topics in genomics. Students learn about the structure and processes of DNA and the practical applications and they make posters you'll see around campus.
On DNA Day a group of about 60 Palms students visit UCLA for DNA Day activities hosted by graduate students and faculty of the Genomic Analysis Training Program. Activities include lectures, laboratory experiments, computer analysis, contests, and question-and-answer periods. After DNA Day the Palms students present the activities to their classmates. UCLA graduate students and faculty also make a visit to Palms to speak to Palms students and their families about topics such as medical genetics, nutrigenomics, and careers in genomics.
As DNA Day approaches, students make DNA models, DNA posters, prepare DNA presentations, and write research papers on genetics.
As far as we know, Palms is the only middle school on the west coast with a program like this!
Palms students have sometimes made DNA presentations at a Magnet/Gifted Parent Meeting.
An Award for Palms
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) gave one of its two 2012 annual awards to the Palms Middle School DNA Day partnership with UCLA.
The $10,000 grant supported transportation and instructional materials that let Palms continue to participate in DNA Day at UCLA despite budget cuts, and to expand the scope of the genetics education our students receive.