Grade level:


Approximate Lesson Duration:

1-2 blocks

Unit/Lesson New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS):

(HS-LS3-1) Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring. [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the phases of meiosis or the biochemical mechanism of specific steps in the process.] 

(HS-LS3-2) Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using data to support arguments for the way variation occurs.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the phases of meiosis or the biochemical mechanism of specific steps in the process.]

Brief Summary of Cultural Competencies Related to the Unit/Lesson:

What makes this lesson culturally relevant?

Environmental factors and mutagens can cause mutations resulting in new genetic combinations. Students should synthesize information and cite specific evidence from texts, experiments, or simulations to gain a coherent understanding of and support explanations about the relationship between the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.  Students should be learn what are the current trends or focus and the scientists are involved in the research and application of genetics. Students should have an understanding of how science and engineering are influenced by society (e.g., need for cures for genetic diseases), and how society is influenced by science and technology (e.g., the bio-ethics and economics of genetically modified foods).

Lesson Overview:

Essential Question(s)

How are characteristics from one generation related to the previous generation? 

How does inheritable genetic variation occur?

Enduring Understanding(s)

DNA is the molecule that determines an organism’s traits.  

Variation is DNA result in different phenotypes that can be predicted with simple probability problems.

Potential Misconceptions

Learning plan, experiences, intstruction and learning activities:

What is Expected?
  • List the intentional learning objectives on the board.

Students will be able to:

  • Identify ethical issues involved in genetic testing. 
  • Apply their understanding of bioethical principles to a case study. 
  • Explain why someone would or would not choose to have the genetic test 

Today we will be working on…

What is expected?
How will we hook (Introduce this to) the students?
  • Activate thinking
  • Consider the language you will use to introduce the lesson (See example in the table)

Link to Engagement

Student should read a genetic testing dilemma for homework or in class independently.

Teacher asks

  • Would you ever consider having a genetic test done? Why or why not? 
  • Under what circumstances would you not want to have a genetic test done?

Students can write answers.
Student can turn and talk and share answers.

Teacher presents a case study/genetic disorder in which students will  create a list of questions to answer about the disorder and research the answers. 

Students will present their research to peers.

Students will write a letter to a couple ( in role as genetic counselor) about the genetic disorder and  make an argument for or against genetic testing.

What equipment, resources, or materials are needed?
How will we rethink or revise our thinking throughout the lesson?
  • What learning is confirmed?
  • What misconceptions are uncovered?
  • What is your new thinking?

Students can reflect on their original answers from opening questions to after the research project and share in a class discussion or writing task.

How will students self-evaluate and reflect on their learning?

Student can write an appropriate letter that meets the teacher guidelines.

How will we tailor learning to varied needs, interests, and learning styles?

Student can work independently or in pairs.

Students can select the genetic disorder.

Students can model a genetic counseling conference instead of a letter.

How will we organize the sequence of learning during the lesson?

Scaffold the Instruction


Teacher will demonstrate appropriate language and questioning with students. Teacher will facilitate class discussion.

Guided Practice

Student can utilize a graphic organizer for their research to show evidence of their work.

Independent Practice

Student will complete research and write letter.

Check for understanding:

(Formative evidence such as conferencing, group Q/A, teacher observation, exit-slip, etc.)

Student conferencing and feedback on work.

Teacher observation of student work and discussions.

Quiz/Test (optional):
(attach copy of assessment)

Performance Task/Project:
(attach rubric)

Student letter or other format to demonstrate learning (video, conference)


Supplemental Resources:

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in health coverage and employment based on genetic information. A handout prepared by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with information about GINA for researchers and health care professionals is provided in the Appendix. This handout is designed to provide a brief overview of what legal protections are now in place regarding genetic testing, genetic privacy, and genetic discrimination.


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Science Grade 10 Lesson 2 78.83 KB 4 downloads

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