Heredity and Genetics (Investigative Phenomena)

Contributor
Chris Perez (New York Post) and Inside Edition (YouTube)
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Phenomenon , Image/Image Set
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.

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Most Recent Review

5 Short and Sweet

I like this lesson a lot. I broke it down into two mini group sessions (5 minutes each) then a full group discussion. We ended with a video and questions about genetic variation. It was a nice simple activity for a Friday!

Description

 

This news story describes a phenomenon that illustrates how traits are randomly passed from generation to generation. A photo in the story shows two young women whose physical traits are so different from one another that most people would say they are not related. The photo shows seemingly unrelated ladies that are not just related, but are twins. The video linked below tells the story of these two women to add additional information for the phenomenon without explaining the how and whys.

 

Either the video or photos can be used to engage students in thinking about variation of inherited traits. As a start, these photos can be provided to the students for their observations of variation in twins. Students can then explore genetics to explain how these young women can exhibit such different traits, even when they have the same parents.

This phenomenon could stimulate the following driving questions:

1. How can these twins look so different?

2. Why do some siblings look more similar than non-siblings?

3. How do chromosomes and genes play a role in the genetic variation of offsprings?

A video is also available for background information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIUK2KSbvvI

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • 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-LS3-2 Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using models such as Punnett squares, diagrams, and simulations to describe the cause and effect relationship of gene transmission from parent(s) to offspring and resulting genetic variation.

Assessment Boundary: none

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
The phenomenon shown in both the video and photos can be used to discuss and develop the ideas of genetic variation in siblings. The observations of both the twin’s parents and other siblings will open up discussions on the randomness of inheritance. For those middle school students that are ready for enrichment, it can be used to show that variation arises from other sources such as crossing over, and independent assortment!

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 and seeing the images can discuss how traits of the parents are expressed in the offspring, leading students to ask questions like, “How does the randomness of genetic variation occur?” Similarly to Page Keeley’s formative assessment probes, this can be used to begin the conversation of variation in heredity, after some lessons have been taught, or as a culminating activity.

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
To build towards this core idea, the video and images can guide the questioning to the inheritance of specific genes. It can also guide students to investigate the principles of variations due to the specific proteins synthesized such as the role melanin plays in skin pigmentation.

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
To build towards this core idea, the video and images can help students to understand how the different versions of alleles from each parent are responsible for the randomness of genetic variation in siblings.

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 they can be encouraged to look for the cause and effect. The relationship of chromosomes, genes, and alleles can be explored. Any of these relationships may help them see the cause and effect relationship between traits of parents and traits of the offspring.

Resource Quality

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

  • Instructional Supports: - none -

  • Monitoring Student Progress: - none -

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -