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BLUE GENES: AFFECT YOUR LIFE!
Grades 6 - 12

Overview

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.
ITV Series
Our Human Body, #4: DNA: Life's Controller
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Materials

Pre-Viewing Activities
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 from video.

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.
Focus Viewing
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.

Viewing Activities
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 video.

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 his theories.

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 the video.

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 video.

PAUSE video at the Noble Prize winners: James Watson, Frances Crick, and Maurice Wilkins for note taking about historical discoveries. RESUME the video.

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 sex-linked traits.

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. RESUME video.

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 two-headed calf.

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 exploration.
Post-Viewing Activities
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:
Action Plan
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 genetic disorders?

Talk with special education teachers in your school about how students and teachers deal with some of these disorders.
Extensions
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

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