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Lesson Plans Library 9-12 > Life Science
Elements of Biology: Genetics
Elements of Biology: Genetics
Grade level: 9-12 Subject: Life Science Duration: 2 class periods
 



lesson plan support
Student Objectives
  • Describe the technologies make that make genetic manipulation possible.
  • Identify situations in which genetic manipulation could solve a problem.
  • Debate the positive or negative arguments of the ethical issues surrounding the use of genetic manipulation.
Materials
  • Elements of Biology: Geneticsprogram
  • Paper and pens or pencils
Procedures
  1. Begin the lesson by asking students to write what they might consider if they learned that a close friend or relative was pregnant with a child who has a genetic defect. Ask students what course of action they might suggest. Then ask them to put their suggestions away until the end of the lesson.
  2. Show students the segment "Making Babies Genetically Correct." Then divide them into groups to discuss the program. Encourage them to address the following questions:
    • What do you think about the parents' decision to have a baby who would help correct the problems of their daughter?
    • What technological advances had to be in place before such an option was even possible?
    • What do you think about the second couple's decision to have a child, even though the father has Huntington's chorea?
    • What other situations can you think of in which genetic manipulation might be considered?
    • What are some ethical implications of genetic manipulation?
  3. Give students a few minutes to discuss these questions in their groups. Then consolidate the groups into two teams. Have one team argue for the use of genetic manipulation and the second team against it.
  4. Give students time in class to prepare for the debate. In addition to the information in the segment, students can learn more about this topic on the following Web sites.
  5. After students have completed their research, have the teams write their opening and closing statements and arguments. Make sure that each team is well prepared to challenge the other team's arguments.
  6. Hold the debate during the next class period. Give each team a chance to present their position and at least one chance to rebut the other side's argument.
  7. Discuss the outcome of the debate. Do students think that one team made a stronger case for their position? If so, why? Why were the arguments more compelling?
  8. Conclude the lesson by asking students to revisit the suggestions they recorded at the beginning of he lesson. Based on what they have learned, would students still make the same suggestions? Or have they changed their ideas? If so, ask them to explain.

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Assessment
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
  • 3 points: Students described in-depth new technologies that have made genetic manipulation possible; identified a variety of situations in which genetic manipulation could solve a problem; and developed clear and persuasive arguments of the ethical issues surrounding the use of genetic manipulation.
  • 2 points: Students satisfactorily described new technologies that have made genetic manipulation possible; identified some situations in which genetic manipulation could solve a problem; and developed adequate arguments of the ethical issues surrounding the use of genetic manipulation.
  • 1 point: Students had difficulty describing the new technologies that have made genetic manipulation possible; could not identify situations in which genetic manipulation could solve a problem; and did not develop complete arguments of the ethical issues surrounding the use of genetic manipulation.

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Vocabulary
gene
Definition:A segment of DNA on a chromosome that contains the chemical instructions for a trait, such as height
Context:Gregor Mendel, a monk from central Europe, was one of the first scientists to discover that factors now known as genes determine which traits are passed from parents to offspring.

genetic disorder
Definition:A condition that is inherited through a faulty gene passed down from one generation to the next
Context:Sickle cell anemia, a disease in which the shape of red blood cells is malformed, is a genetic disorder.

genetic manipulation
Definition:The use of technology to replace genes or ensure that only certain genes are present in a fertilized egg so that genetic disorders are not passed on
Context:Some people oppose genetic manipulation because they think the medical and ethical considerations are too risky.

genetic testing
Definition:A means of finding a faulty gene, often through a blood test
Context:Genetic testing is available for many disorders, including Huntingdon's disease, cystic fibrosis, and some cancers.

in vitro fertilization
Definition:Creating a fertilized egg in a test tube
Context:After in vitro fertilization has been accomplished, scientists can test one cell to find out if faulty genes are present.

prenatal testing
Definition:A diagnostic test conducted in the early stages of pregnancy to determine the presence of a genetic disorder
Context:While prenatal testing can provide much information early in a pregnancy, it also raises serious questions, such as what should be done if a genetic disorder is detected.

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Academic Standards
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visithttp://www.mcrel.org/.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Life Sciences ? Understands the principles of heredity and related concepts
  • Nature of Science ? Understands the scientific enterprise
  • Technology ? Understands the nature and use of different forms of technology
  • Language Arts ? Viewing: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences provides guidelines for teaching science in grades K12 to promote scientific literacy. To view the standards, visit this Web site:http://books.nap.edu/html/nses/html/overview.html#content.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
  • Life Science ? Molecular basis of heredity
  • History and Nature of Science ? Science as a human endeavor

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