Monday, May 16, 2005

Science Teacher Challenge:

Let's say you were designing a short unit on genetics & evolution, and that your students were in middle school and had very, very little background knowledge on these topics. Of the list of objectives below, which would you jettison? Which would you prioritize? And in what order would you teach them?

Students will be able to...

· Name the parts of the male reproductive system & their functions.
· Name the parts of the female reproductive system & their functions.
· Explain the process of mitosis.
· Describe and build models of the structure of DNA.
· Explain how genes are encoded in DNA.
· Explain that how the body translates genes into proteins.
· Explain that humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, and that each chromosome contains thousands of genes.
· Explain how sperm and egg cells are produced by meiosis so that they contain half the DNA of the adult organism (1 of each chromosome).
· Describe Mendel's experiments with bean plants, and how they led to the discovery of "factors," now known as genes.
· Correctly use terms including allele, trait, genotype, phenotype, homozygous, heterozygous, recessive, dominant, etc. to explain how (some) traits are inherited.
· Use Punnett Squares to calculate the probability of any particular genotype occurring in the offspring of a particular cross.
· Explain how gender is determined through the X and Y chromosomes.
· Explain how mutations occur during the transcription process and are passed on to offspring through the gametes.
· Explain why Darwin's voyage on the Beagle was significant to his later theory of evolution.
· Explain how natural selection works - competition and environmental conditions "select for" traits that increase the chances of successful reproduction.
· Provide examples of how natural selection has led to changes in organisms over time, and how it can lead to speciation.

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