BLUE GENES: AFFECT YOUR LIFE!
Grades 6 - 12
The students will review concepts and definitions of genetics
and work in cooperative groups. The groups will actively research, analyze
and synthesize information on genetic diseases. This research-based unit
will introduce students to different information on genetics and will enable
them to personalize the impact that scientific developments can have in
people's lives. Each group will prepare a presentation for role-playing
the doctor/patient relationship, which will reflect the synthesis of their
research into a specific disease.
Our Human Body, #4: DNA: Life's Controller
Students will be able to:
- understand the concepts of DNA
- explain the basic concepts of heredity
- theorize causes of mutations and their consequences
- analyze a specific genetic diseases through research
- demonstrate a doctor/patient scenario through which they manifest
- Three handouts for each student:
- Video note-taking sheet
- Sample research subjects
- Disease basics
- Lab coat and stethoscope for role playing props
- Poster board for each group to graph statistical information
- Graph paper
Assign students to cooperative groups of three. Ask students
to define terms, used on the Video Note-taking Sheet (in bold), and then
write them on chalkboard. Later compare these preliminary answers to answers
Ask students what traits they have that might be due to genetic inheritance.
Consider the traits of teens due to genetic inheritance such as hair color,
eye color, hair traits (kinky, curl, wavy, or straight), left or right handedness,
and height. Students will compile these statistics from your class. Use
data gathering sheet to assist in recording facts. Graph different traits
as pie charts. In their cooperative groups, students will form a hypothesis
and speculate on which traits are dominant, recessive, or blended.
Explain that the class will be viewing the video, Our Human
Body, #4: DNA: Life's Controller. To give the students a specific responsibility
while viewing, explain that the video will be paused for note taking and
discussion, and to assist student's "capturing" key concepts.
Hand out the Video Note-taking Sheet. The students' first responsibility
is to define DNA which is the basis of their lives.
START video near the beginning at the twisting helix.
Tell the students to listen carefully.
PAUSE video at definition of term DNA, when helix is in the top right
corner of the screen. Tell the students to record this definition in their
handout. RESUME video.
PAUSE video at Science Fax question, "Can two brown eyed ...?"
before the answer appears. Solicit answers to predict outcome and reasons
from students. RESUME video for answer, then pause video immediately
for students to compare their own choices to video s answer. RESUME
PAUSE video at Gregor Mendel's name, and have students write down
his name with his contributions to biology. Mendel s theories are the beginnings
of our understanding of genetics. He deduced an explanation for the mechanism
of inheritance. He utilized the scientific method of observation to formulate
RESUME video at Mendel s green peas chart and PAUSE video
with chart on screen when term "gene" is defined. Students will
note definition of genes. Mendel demonstrated that the three- quarter: one
quarter ratio existed for characteristics of peas. RESUME video.
PAUSE video when word "chromosomes" is defined on screen
for note taking. These are the structures that carry our genetic inheritance.
Each plant or animal species has it s own unique chromosomes. RESUME
PAUSE the video for note taking as the cells divided and "46"
chromosomes are found in humans. Note that humans with a different number
of chromosomes are considered to have a genetic disorder. RESUME
PAUSE video at the Noble Prize winners: James Watson, Frances Crick,
and Maurice Wilkins for note taking about historical discoveries. RESUME
PAUSE video on question, "How many codes for genetic inheritance
are there?," before the answer is displayed. Have students predict
possible answers. (Answer is: One, a single system genetic code is shared
by all living things. It can send instructions to produce anything from
peas to presidents.) RESUME the video.
PAUSE video for note taking at full definition of nucleotides as,
"building blocks of phosphates and sugar." RESUME the video.
The section on the function of DNA will explain about human genetics and
PAUSE the video after RNA creates a protein chain, for definition
in students note taking. RESUME the video.
PAUSE video at blue round cells to define "heredity" for
note taking. RESUME the video.
PAUSE video for note taking, in section on human genetics, at fact
that humans have 46 chromosomes. RESUME video.
PAUSE video for note taking at fact that sex trait "xx"
is female and "xy" is male, when these symbols are on the screen.
PAUSE video at Science Fax, "How much of one's DNA is devoted
to genes?" before the answer is given. Students will predict answer.
RESUME video to compare answer and prediction.
PAUSE video for definition note taking at word, "mutation"
after phrase, "future generations." RESUME video at the
PAUSE video for note taking at flying insect and phrase "natural
selection" to define it. RESUME video.
Use the video's "Instant Replay" for review and for students to
confirm their definitions.
STOP video before "Science Search Questions." Students
may now discuss answers. Students should compare and contrast their anticipated
answers with their notes reflecting the video's content. Students should
observe what they learned. Reinforce that there will always be more information
to learn, since this field of genetics is still a dynamic area of scientific
Now students will be empowered to expand their basic knowledge
of genetics by delving into a small specific area of specialization. Using
their cooperative groups of three, students will do research in their school's
Library Information Center, utilizing the attached handouts:
- Sample Research Subjects
- Disease Basics
Research and write about famous people with handicaps and how
they dealt with problems.
Find out how laws, such as the American Disabilities Act, affect those with
Talk with special education teachers in your school about how students and
teachers deal with some of these disorders.
Science: Discuss how humans might still be evolving today and
in the future; consider, for example, ozone exposure, aquatic habitats,
lunar environments, hard radiation in space.
Language Arts: write letters to self-help and support groups for additional
materials, using the Encyclopedia of Associations and telephone books for
addresses. Display these materials in the nurse's office, or other relevant
location, for a student "self-help" resource area.
Mathematics: make a helix of yarn and create markers for traits.
Mathematics: shake beans to simulate odds for certain traits and graph results.
Social Studies: emphasis on Family of Mankind and what we have in common
in overcoming obstacles by working together.
Master Teacher: Jean Newcomb
Fairgrounds Junior High School, Nashua, NH
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online