Part of Unit: Mathematical and Scientific Concepts
Lesson Plan Overview / Details
This is a great activity for the beginning of the year. It serves as both an ice breaker and an review of Molecular Genetics. Students will discuss differences and similarities between themselves and their partner and connect these differences to their DNA. Then they will analyze their genetic traits and make "babies" with another student (on paper).
- 1 Class Period
California Career and Technical Education Standards
- HSMT.A.A1.2 Understand the role of biotechnology product development in curing genetic, envi...
- HSMT.A.A2.2 Understand the basic structure of a chromosome and the difference between a domi...
California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)
Objectives and Goals
- Classroom "team building"
- Understand that there is connection between DNA sequences and observable traits
- See inside a real biotech lab
Activities in this Lesson
- Observable Traits (warm-up) - Hooks / Set
Use the link below and then click on the heading Observable Traits, the third heading down on the left. This will pull up a slideshow comparing different traits (dimples, freckles, widows peak...). Show the picture and read the trait aloud. Ask the students to stand up (or raise hands) if they have that trait.
- Phenotypic Similarities & Differences - Group Work
Ask students to find a partner for this activity. Tell them that by the end of the class they will be making hypothetical children with their parter... so choose wisely!
First, they are to list the traits that they have in common and those that are different. The last question is a lead into a discussion about DNA.
They should have some understanding of heredity and DNA from previous biology courses. This activity will remind them that our traits come from our genes which are encoded in our DNA. And that our DNA was inherited from our biological parents.
To conclude this activity, you can ask if any students would like to volunteer to share their lists with the class.
- Phenotypic Ice breaker.doc [ Download ]
- Inside a Biotechnology Lab (Video) - Demo / Modeling
Take a look inside a USC research lab as they use grant funding to research heredity through generations. They use model organisms in their experiments, fruit flies and arabidopsis plants. They employ techniques of DNA sequencing to understand the organism’s genotype and compare that with the observed phenotype.
Their goal is to develop a biotechnological technique that compares geneotype and phenotype in these organisms so that they can eventually use it to understand disease genetics in humans.
The video is short but makes a good start to a discussion about genetics. I play the video once, then go over important vocabulary terms, then play the video once more.
Our geneotype is a set of alleles (one from mom and one from dad). These alleles can be dominant or recessive genes. A dominant allele is one that is always expressed if it is present. A recessive allele is only expressed in the absence of a dominant allele. The phenotype from the dominant allele will be expressed if the genotype is either homozygous dominant or heterozygous. The recessive phenotype will only be expressed if the genotype is homozygous recessive.
- USC Genetics Research Lab [ Go to Site ]
- Makin' Babies - Group Work
You will need 4 different color papers cut into small squares (about 2 x 2 inches.) Each student gets 2 of each color squares (8 squares total.)
Students work in pairs to complete the attached handout.
Most likely many students will need some teacher help to get started. This lesson is suggested as a begining of the year activity so this is a good way for you to be able to get to know some students as you go around the room and assist pairs of students.
- Student Handout [ Download ]
- Group Share - Closure
Ask for a few student volunteers to share their babies' phenotypes with the class. I like to draw my impression of the child on the board as they are describing it. I am a terrible artist, but this usually gets a few laughs and ends the class on a light note.
- Assessment Types:
- Projects, Observations,
Students are assesed based on their participation in the activity and by turning in their completed work (two handouts)