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Introduction to Personal Genetics

Secondary

Description

This resource explores new advances in genetics and their potential to impact in significant ways, our personal lives, medical decision making and society. With information provided through video, slide presentations, print articles and case studies, students will gain an understanding of human genetics, genetic testing and personal genome sequencing. Significant attention is also given to the potential benefits, concerns and ethical issues surrounding the application of this rapidly changing technology.

A detailed lesson plan supported by a slide presentation is included for classroom / whole group implementation. Alternatively, the resource also provides the content in 10 smaller (15 minute) modules designed for individual or at home learning.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • the resource does an excellent job in presenting 'what's happening' in human genetics
  • the teaching/learning materials provided are outstanding
  • there is a substantial amount of background information for both teachers and students.
  • the resource is easy to use and can be adapted for in-class or at home learning
  • the resource is an excellent fit for high school biology units dealing with genetics in an STSE context

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource serves as an excellent companion to any study of human genetics and will be of particular interest to teachers of senior high school biology courses interested in a STS perspective.  It lends itself especially well to independent learning.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 30: Cell Division, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Anatomy and Physiology 12: Gene expression, through protein synthesis, is an interaction between genes and the environment
        • Specialized Science 12: Our evolving understanding of genetics has implications for health, society, and environment
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology: Mechanisms of Inheritance
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Genetic Continuity
        • Biology 122/121
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 3201: Genetic Continuity
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 30: Cell Division, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 12: Genetic Continuity
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cell Division, Genetics and Molecular Biology
        • Biology 30
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 11(College Prep.) Genetics
        • Biology 11(Univer.Prep.) Genetic Processes
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 12 (Univ. Prep.): Molecular Genetics
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Univ./College Prep.) Biotechnology
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 621A: Genetic Continuity
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 30: Genetics and Biotechnology
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Anatomy and Physiology 12: Gene expression, through protein synthesis, is an interaction between genes and the environment
        • Specialized Science 12: Our evolving understanding of genetics has implications for health, society, and environment

Themes Addressed

  • Science and Technology (3)

    • Alternative Ways of Doing Science
    • Analysing Conventional Science
    • Appropriate Technology

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The information provided is science based.  Lessons and activities dealing with the ethics of the application of human genetics encourage students to formulate and express their own opinions.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The environmental, economic and social implications from advances in genetic technology are made clear in this STSE resource.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good

The resource does a very good job relating the complexity of both the technology involved and the ethical questions it raises.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

The resources does not include action opportunities.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

The lessons dealing with bioethics in particular, require students to reflect on their findings and express their own beliefs.  As well, the discussion questions following each lesson often require students to present their own perspectives. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Students examine case studies of individuals suffering from debilitating genetic diseases as well as some of the victims of eugenic movements.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

One of the student modules focuses student attention on some of the negative impacts humans have on ecosystems and the role genetics can play in protecting endangered species.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Satisfactory

In the 'Four Corners' activity students consider the impacts of what they have learned about advances in human genetics in the context of their own lives.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The resource does a good job in allowing students to see the evolution of human genetics from science to technology over time.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

While the resource does present the application of human genetics in a positive light, it does expose past abuses and brings to light many ethical concerns about technology.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Poor/Not considered

The resource essentially supports the teaching of DNA / Inheritance / Human genetics in secondary science courses.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Students are provided with questions to consider and information in a wide range of formats.  The design favors students working on their own.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Poor/Not considered

Students review the information in the varied formats provided (web links, print articles, video, slides) independently and respond to guiding questions.  There is opportunity for cooperative work and sharing but it is limited.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Poor/Not considered

This is not an element of the resource.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Poor/Not considered

This is not an element of the resource.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

Discussion and guided questions are included throughout for use in assessing student understanding. The resource also includes tools for summative and formative evaluation.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

This is not an element of the resource.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

Case studies play a key role in providing students with information, promoting reflection and encouraging them to clairify their values.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

There are limited opportunities for students to choose elements of program content.  However, there are a number of interesting suggestions provided to students for further investigation.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.