During adolescence, the question of inheritance is being expressed in many different ways by students. Their minds are constantly engaged with questions and comments concerning their image and development. For example, “Why am I so short?”, “I wish I was as tall as my dad” or “What is responsible for my uniqueness?”
This curriculum unit is developed for biology students, seventh graders, with the hope of clarifying many of these questions and to provide them with a clear understanding and knowledge of human genetics—the chemical nature and arrangement of the DNA that makes up the genes. This unit will examine human genetics from the perspective of variability and diversity.
In this unit students will be introduced to famous scientists, namely, Gregor Mendel, James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Barbara McClintock and Rosalind Franklin, emphasizing the importance of their discovery to modern genetics. This will be followed by a description of the structure, chemical nature and how DNA replicates itself during meiosis. A discussion of mutation and how it can affect the physical appearance of an organism.
Next, cellular structures, including genes and chromosomes will be discussed followed by a description of the process of mitosis and meiosis. Emphasis will be placed on multiple alleles and a discussion of how inherited diseases are caused by defective genes.
Students will be informed about methods of prevention and treatment for genetic disorders. The students will gain an understanding of applied genetics as genetic engineering is discussed.
Objectives for lessons, together with related activities will be included in this unit. The duration of this unit is about five weeks.