Biology students are finishing up their unit on DNA and heredity by researching a genetic disease to present to their class. For the genetic disease research project, students will provide a detailed description of the genetic disease they chose including the genes impacted by the disease and how the disease is inherited. After students complete their research, they are going to prepare a presentation with a slideshow using MLA citation. Throughout this unit, students explored the Human Genome Project, police and legal rights, and the sharing of genetic information for scientific purposes to acquire an in-depth understanding of DNA, its personal relevance, and the real-world application. Students started the unit by learning about DNA molecules. Students shared background information about their understanding of DNA and its purpose. They broke down DNA into the structure of its substances and were able to understand how DNA contains the instructions that code for creating proteins. To help students remember the bases that bond with each other, students used
the mnemonic device, “apples in the tree, cars in the garage” to remember adenine bonds with thymine and cytosine bonds with guanine. Then we learned about transcription and translation. Students were able to transcribe DNA code to RNA by remembering the mnemoni
c device for RNA, “apples under the tree and cars in the garage” to remember adenine bonds with uracil and cytosine bonds with guanine. Students then broke the RNA code into codons to find the amino acids needed to create a protein per the instructions given by DNA. Next, we went into the inheritance of traits. Students learned how each chromosome consists of a single DNA molecule and that each gene on the chromosome is a particular segment of DNA. We used this information to discuss what shapes personal identity and the concept of heredity. We used Punnett Squares to determine the probability of inheriting certain traits. Students discussed the potential issues that may arise from manipulating DNA to receive a specific trait. Students then were able to explain the controversy around breeding of white tigers and how it increased the incidence of white fur and genetic defects. This unit has been an enlightening look into the science of what makes us who we are.