The Gene Scene

Contributor
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Experiment/Lab Activity , Game , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This is a three-part activity that introduces the concept of genetic diversity within a population. In Part I students will observe and compare human traits within their classroom population, demonstrating that each individual has a variety of traits that make him or her unique and that create a diverse population. In Part II they will discover through a quick, active demonstration that increased diversity contributes to greater survivability. Part III reinforces this idea that these same concepts can be seen in a white-tailed deer population coping with changes in the environment over time.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using simple probability statements and proportional reasoning to construct explanations.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Educators need to use the first lesson to introduce basic concepts of genetics through exploration. Allow the activity to lead to the understanding of these concepts. As the clarification states: "Emphasis is on using simple probability statements and proportional reasoning to construct explanations that demonstrate that greater genetic variation leads to a greater chance of survival." The students explore traits in humans with a human Genetic Wheel activity and then use these same concepts to explore a white-tailed deer population that demonstrate genetic variation and survival.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The three lessons build upon the premise that the more diverse the population the better chance of survivability. Lesson 1 reviews that a population has genetic variability, whereas Lesson 2 helps students understand that the more diverse their population was, the greater the chance it had of having at least one member survive at the end of several rounds. The educator should guide them to see that the more genetically diverse a wild population is, the greater its chances of surviving over time. This will be modeled in the Lesson 3: White-tailed Deer activity.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
These three lessons use both qualitative and quantitative data to show the relationship between variation and survivability. The educator can incorporate a graphing component in Lesson 1 for a visual representation of the data, whereas in Lesson 2 students understand that the more diverse their population was, the greater the chance it had of having at least one member survive at the end of several rounds. Students should write a summative analysis of results for each of the three lessons.The summative analysis could be written in the Claim/Evidence/Reasoning format.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
All three lessons must be used in order to demonstrate why genetic diversity is a component of adaptation and natural selection. Generally speaking, a more genetically diverse population is more likely to contain some individuals that have the traits necessary to survive and adapt to changes in the environment than populations that aren’t as genetically diverse. The educator must differentiate for the learner that the traits that are more advantageous are selected, creating a suppression of the less favorable traits.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
There is a direct correlation between different changes in the environmental factors, variation of traits, and resulting survival of the population. The cause and effect principle is demonstrated and should be reinforced during lesson 3. The changes in the environment is the cause and the resulting increase or decrease of traits within the population is the resulting effect.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource provides for grade‐appropriate elements of the science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concept), that work together to support students in three‐dimensional learning. The three-dimensions are used to construct explanations that demonstrate that greater genetic variation leads to a greater chance of survival. Elements of the disciplinary core are significantly addressed and use of the lesson provides an opportunity for hands-on exploration of the performance expectation, with the crosscutting concept of patterns is used to describe cause and effect relationship.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource provides limited guidance for teachers to differentiate instruction in the classroom to meet the needs of all learners. The educator can accomplish differentiation by adding peer discussion with guiding questions to supplement the questions at the end of each unit. The resource does provide opportunities for students to connect their explanation of phenomena to their own experiences.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The activities assess student proficiency using methods, vocabulary, representations, and examples. The assessment piece should be further developed by the teacher. There are great group questions included and these need to be stressed in cooperative student-centered groups. To further develop this type of assessment, the teacher can conclude the group work with posters and "exit tickets".

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -