Zebrafish Development (Phenomenon)

Contributor
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Phenomenon
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 two-minute video provides brief background on the use of zebrafish as a model in studying animal development, before showing a time-lapse sequence of a fertilized zebrafish egg developing into a larva.  The video includes some annotations that help orient the viewer during the time-lapse sequence.  Teachers might want to mute the narration beginning at 0:42 min to avoid giving students too much information.

 This phenomenon could stimulate the following driving questions:

  • How does the zebrafish develop from one cell to the many cells that make up the larva?
  • How do the zebrafish cells divide?
  • How are the developing zebrafish cells similar and different from each other?
  • If all cells in the zebrafish develop from the same original cell, then how do some cells develop differently than others?
  • How are cell division and growth related? 

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

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

Performance Expectations

HS-LS3-1 Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the phases of meiosis or the biochemical mechanism of specific steps in the process.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This phenomenon can help students develop the understanding that even though all the cells of an organism arise from a single fertilized egg, they develop different characteristics as different genes are expressed within the cells. The teacher might need to prompt students to think about the connection to genetics, for example: How does the genetic information compare among the different cells of the zebrafish?

HS-LS1-4 Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include specific gene control mechanisms or rote memorization of the steps of mitosis.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Observing the development of a zebrafish as a model organism could help students develop an understanding of the importance of cell division and specialization during the development of a multicellular organism. Early in the time-lapse video, cells can be seen dividing with little change in their shape or appearance. As development progresses, groups of cells take on different characteristics and develop into recognizable body parts.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students watching the video will notice that the zebrafish begins as a single cell, which then undergoes several rounds of cell division in which the cells become smaller but do not otherwise change in appearance. Then, cells visibly begin to differentiate to form different parts of the fish’s body. These changes will lead students to wonder how and why the process is happening. The teacher should prompts students to observe the phenomenon and to be prepared to formulate questions, based on what they view in the video.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
As students come to understand the role mitosis plays in development, they will be confronted with the idea that all the cells in the zebrafish must have the same DNA. Yet, the cells develop different characteristics at different locations in the embryo. Reasoning through this will lead students toward an understanding of differential gene expression.

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The video allows students to observe directly the process of development in a multicellular organism. The teacher can this use this phenomenon to prompt questions about how and why this process happens to help students build toward understanding this core idea.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
As students observe this phenomenon and others like it, they can be encouraged to look for patterns in their observations. As they do this, they will notice different patterns operating on different time scales. For example, early develop involves cell division with little growth or differentiation. Cell division continues during later development but is accompanied by growth and differentiation. This can lead to questions about how the developmental process is regulated.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: - none -

  • Instructional Supports: - none -

  • Monitoring Student Progress: - none -

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -