The scientific and technological accomplishments of man during the twentieth century are astounding. With the development of specialized tools and perfected diagnostic procedures, research has surpassed what was thought possible a short time ago. The twenty-first century scientists will continue to make advances, especially in the field of biotechnology. This use of biological processes to manufacture new organisms and chemicals has transformed the area of science fiction into a reality.
Science education has metamorphosed from a strict content approach to one combining content and hands-on activity with the emphasis on hands on. Using the scientific method, students are taught to solve problems in an organized, methodical fashion. Viable research begins with observation/inquiry and proceeds to experimentation. It is through this process that scientists are able to address awaiting challenges in the areas of medicine and biology. This change will continue to motivate students and in turn begin the process of developing a scientifically literate population.
My unit, ”Brave New World,” will be used with seventh and eighth grade students as a supplement to the current curriculum. These two grades are divided into separate divisions of varying ability levels. The lessons developed can be modified to accommodate all students including the special education classes. This unit, consisting of a content/hands-on approach, will take about three to four weeks to complete and will be used along with the study of the cell and heredity.
“Brave New world” is divided into five sections. The first section, Genetics 101 begins with an introduction to cell structure and function, including detailed explanations of chromosomes, genes, inheritance and the work of Gregor Mendel. A student glossary will be included in this section.
Section two contains an introduction to an understanding of DNA. This begins with an explanation of the structure of DNA and the work of James Watson and Francis Crick.
After providing students with the basic concepts of genetics and an understanding of DNA structure, students will learn about the Human Genome project and the implications for future research. This section will prepare students for the portion of the unit, which deals with cloning.
The information presented next will include the history of cloning experimentation, how cloning is accomplished, why we clone and the future possibilities through its continued implementation.
Finally, student activities will examine the ethical implications of cloning and genetic engineering. Various case studies will be presented for analysis. This will tie the unit together and provide students with an opportunity to utilize decision-making and critical thinking skills through written activities.