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In this lesson and the extensions provided the students should have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the relationship between the DNA molecule, genes and chromosomes, and how each of these play an important role in the processes of mitosis and meiosis. They will also have the opportunity to perform two different hands on activities that will simulate the process of meiosis and how genetic information is passed on from parent to offspring. Some previous background understanding of the structure of the DNA molecule and basic genetic terminology would be very helpful, to allow the students to more fully understand the transfer process of genetic information. This activity in addition to teaching genetic concepts could also provide several opportunities to work with mathematical probabilities as they relate to various genetic possibilities.
ITV Series
Our Human Body #3: What Are Cells Like?
Our Human Body #4: DNA Life's Controller
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Meiosis and Fertilization Activity
per pair of students
Phenotype Ratios with Two Traits Activity
per pair of students
Focus Viewing
To give students a specific responsibility while viewing remind them that you will be pausing the video several times for review. The video will have several places where a question will appear on the screen. Remind the students they will be expected to answer the questions plus teacher prepared questions at each of the pause locations.

Note to the Teacher: This video assumes students have a basic understanding of the DNA molecule and its relationship to genes and chromosomes. If the students background is such that they need to define these terms, it would be best to review them before starting the video.

Viewing Activities
BEGIN the video Our Human Body #4 near the beginning with sound and the title "Our Human Body; DNA: Life's Controller on the screen. PAUSE after they ask the two questions," Why do people have different colors of skin, hair and eyes?" " Why do so many different forms of life exist?" Allow students to respond to the questions. I prefer to accept all responses at this point.

RESUME the video and PAUSE when SciFax appears on the screen with the question, "Can two brown-eyed parents have a blue-eyed baby?" Allow the students to respond to the question. You may wish to show them on the chalkboard how this is possible, if they do not understand how genes are paired by this time. RESUME the video and PAUSE when the word chromosome appears on the screen. At this time ask the students what they think is the relationship between the terms DNA, genes and chromosomes. You may also wish to introduce the terms haploid and diploid at this point, if they are not already familiar with the terms. RESUME the video and PAUSE when SciFax and the question, " How many codes for genetic inheritance are there?" Allow the students to respond to the question. Some additional questions you may which to ask at this time:" How many yards of DNA does an average human cell contain?" " Who were the three scientists mentioned that received a Nobel prize for their work with DNA?" "Would a persons DNA reach to the sun and back?" Challenge the students to calculate the number of miles of DNA in a human body which may contain 60 trillion cells. FAST FORWARD to the point where Human Genetics appears on the screen. RESUME the video and STOP when the question, "How much of one's DNA is devoted to genes?" appears on the screen. Allow students to respond to the question. You may also choose to introduce the term karyotype at this point. Go to the next video Our Human Body #3, What Are Cells Like? Have the video cued to where the words "Cellular Reproduction" appear on the screen.

Teacher note: This is approximately 10 minutes into the video.
BEGIN the video with sound and PAUSE when the word "mitosis" appears on the screen. At this point review with the students the difference between asexual and sexual reproduction. RESUME the video and PAUSE when SciFax appears on the screen along with the question, "Are cells dividing in your body right now?" Remind students that millions of cells divide in your body every second. RESUME the video and STOP when the words "Instant Replay" appear on the screen. At this time lead the students in a discussion that will allow them to compare and contrast mitosis and meiosis. "How many chromosomes does each produce?" "What organisms may use mitosis?" "What type of reproduction uses the process of meiosis?" "Why is meiosis necessary for sexual reproduction?"
Post-Viewing Activities
Meiosis and Fertilization Activity

Meiosis is the form of cell division that produces the special haploid cells called gametes. In Meiosis chromosome are randomly shuffled. As a result those organisms that reproduce sexually, have a mixture of the traits from both parents. In humans, over 8 million genetically different gametes are produced. In this activity you will determine genotypes and phenotypes for gender, tongue rolling, earlobes, mid-digital hair, hairline and thumb shape. Use the following criteria for the determination of which genotypes you with to choose, in comparison to your lab partner. Hairline (widow's peak is dominant, (WW or Ww), to recessive (ww), no peak); Thumb (curves back is dominant (TT,Tt) to recessive (tt), straight); Tongue Rolling (Ability to roll tongue is dominant (RR,Rr), to recessive (rr), inability to roll ); Ears (Lobed (LL,Ll) is dominant to recessive (ll), attached); Hands (mid-digital hair (HH,Hh) is dominant to recessive (hh), lack of mid-digital hair), and sex (female is XX and male is XY).

Teacher Note: Pictures showing these traits may be helpful, or have the students see if they can identify each of the traits on each other.

In your lab notebook prepare a data table that will allow you to choose one of each of the above genotypes and phenotypes. (Use all six traits).

Have your lab partner do the same, but choose different gene combinations. Since you will be using these genotypes in a process representing fertilization, try to make choices that will produce as much variety as possible.

Select your six chromosomes and write the corresponding genotype on each chromosome.(See chromosome handout in appendix). Write the name of the characteristic in the line where it is labeled phenotype. Put your name in the parent space, to keep track of the chromosomes later in the activity.

Cut along the dotted line. Fold them in half and glue them together.

You and your partner should stand about one meter apart, facing each other.

Each should drop his or her chromosomes to the floor. Match the numbers on the chromosomes with each other. Example: Put both chromosomes labeled number one together. You should now have one of the following combinations (WW,Ww,ww). Record in your notebook, the genotype and phenotype of the combined chromosomes from each of the six pairs.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 two more times. Also record this information in your notebook. This should now give your three "children".

You may wish to name "your children" based on the genotype combination of the sex chromosomes.

Upon completion, answer the following questions:

Which step in the activity simulated the random assortment of genes that occurs during meiosis?

Which step simulated fertilization?

List the traits which ended up being homozygous recessive.

List the traits that were homozygous dominant.

Could two children in a row have the same genotype? Explain.

What is the probability of your three children, all being either male, or female?

Does the combination of genes in the first child change what genes will be available to subsequent children? Explain why or why not?

In genetics the probability of certain traits appearing in offspring is often expressed as a ratio. For example, parents that are both heterozygous for normal skin pigment(Aa) can produce two types of offspring, normal and albino. The expected ratio in the offspring is 3:1. This means that for every four children, three are expected to be normal and one is expected to be an albino. In this activity you will substitute marked coins to substitute for gamete cells and toss the coins to represent offspring.

Construct a Punnett square to represent the two characteristics, skin pigment and body height. The parents genotypes are AaMm and Aamm.

Assume that capital letters represent dominant genes.

A=normal skin pigment; a=albinism(no pigment); M=normal body height; m=short height(midget).

Determine the four phenotypes and how many offspring of each there are.

Based on the information in your competed Punnett square, complete the expected column for 16 offspring in the correct column. Results of Cross Between AaMm and Aamm

Phenotype Number Toss Results Total

combinations expected number

for 16 for 96 observed


Normal skin and

normal height

Normal skin

but midget

Albino but

normal height

Albino and


6. Mathematically determine the expected number for each trait and record your response in the expected column for 96 offspring.

7. Obtain two pennies and two nickels:
a. cover both sides of two pennies and two nickels with masking tape.
b. mark an "A" on one side and an "a" on the other side of both pennies.
c. mark an "M" and an "m" on one nickel, and an "m" on both sides of the other nickel.
d. toss the four coins, the pennies in one hand and the nickels in the other hand a total of 96 times. After each toss, record the phenotype that appears in the appropriate column.

Answer the Following Questions, Based on Your Data in the Above Table:

Explain how the number of expected offspring compares to the number of observed.

What was the phenotype ratio in your completed Punnett square.

Is this a typical ratio of a dihybrid cross? Explain your answer.

Which of Mendel's Laws would tossing the pennies and nickels represent?

Give the ratio of your results of observed to the nearest whole number ratio.

Explain how the observed and expected offspring ratio might have compared

if only 16 coin tosses were used instead of 96.

Explain the need for using large numbers of observed offspring when

attempting to prove that genetic totals of expected results do agree with observed results.

What is the advantage of tossing and reading properly marked coins over using living organisms?

If the ratio in #5 above is not 9:3:3:1, what could you do about the coin tossing to arrive at a closer ratio?

Would you get a closer ratio by doubling your numbers in the 96 times column, or toss the coins 192 times, and record the data? Explain.
Action Plan
Have a geneticist from the community talk to the class about new technologies in the field of genetics.

If a dairy farm is located in your community, have someone come to class and discuss the process of artificial insemination, and its advantages.

Visit a local nursery and have them explain the use of genetics in obtaining numerous varieties of flowers.

Invite a pharmacist to class to talk about the use of genetic engineering in the making of products such as insulin and the human growth hormone.

Invite a genetic counselor to class and discuss the probabilities of inheriting certain genetic defects.

Have students write to various organizations such as the March of Dimes and determine what new advances are being made in the battle against various birth defects.
Math: Do a variety of ratio and probability problems. Example: What is the probability that two people would have the same birthday in a class of 25 students.

Science: Research the progress of the human genome project.

Industrial Technology: Construct a scale model of DNA showing the double helix design.

Science and Social Studies: Discuss the possible benefits and hazards of genetic engineering.

Science: Make slides from an actively growing onion root tip, stain and observe under the microscope on high power.

Art and Science: Draw and label the various stages of mitosis.

Master Teachers: Dennis Reule and Cindy Yocum

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