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This challenging classroom resource offers hands-on, inquiry-based lessons that explore the subject of biotechnology by means of a 'real-world' simulation. Students follow Gena Karbowski’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment options to learn about gene therapy and genetic screening. The activities allow students to apply their knowledge of genetics, heredity and biotechnology as they are put in the role of scientist, health care provider, and friend to Gena and her family. This learning package requires students to have a strong background in cell structure/function, the structure of DNA and RNA, protein synthesis, genetic mutations, mitosis, meiosis, genetics and heredity. As such it provides a unique and valuable exercise to support high school biology programs.
Lesson One: What’s Up with Gena? (1 X 60min)
Students are introduced to patient Gena Karbowski’s case and asked to formulate an hypothesis for the problems she is experiencing.
Lesson Two: Genetic Testing (4 X 60min)
After students learn that Gena has breast cancer, they are introduced to methods of DNA extraction, sequencing and testing. Activities include performing a cheek DNA extraction, a restriction enzyme simulation and completing a paper electrophoresis lab to identify disease-causing genes. An on-line data base is used to link the results of the DNA electrophoresis lab to a known DNA sequence.
Lesson Three: Family Interviews (2 X60 min)
Students form medical research groups and after watching interviews of family members conducted by a genetics counselor, they create a family pedigree for Gena.
Lesson Four: Counseling my Genetics (2 X 60min)
Students do Internet research on the role of a genetic counselor. They consider why or why not a person should opt for genetic testing. After discussion, groups of students decide which members of Gena’s family should take part in genetic testing.
Lesson Five: Electrophoresis Discovery (4 X 60 min)
Students perform a gel electrophoresis procedure to test Gena’s daughter Elizabeth’s DNA for the cancer gene p53. The electrophoresis sorts out fragments of DNA to determine the presence of a mutated gene. This lab is part of a cancer gene detection kit which must be ordered and purchased separately.
Lesson Six: Recombinant DNA Technology (2 X 60min)
Students research new medical techniques that are being used to treat diseases using DNA technology and then take on the role of a molecular biologist by completing a paper lab simulation which explores the possibilities of the use of recombinant DNA . Reflection questions are provided for further discussion.
Lesson Seven: Phixagene Inc. (5 x 60min)
After reading background information on breast cancer genes, pharmacogenetics, pharmacogenomics, gene therapy, and stem cell therapy, students form research groups to propose and create a model for the treatment of a genetic mutation associated with breast cancer.
Lesson Eight: Biotechnology Career Exploration ( 3 X 60min)
After watching video of Pfizer scientists describing careers in biotechnology students complete a career exploration activity. Using suggested links they research jobs in the biotechnology industry in terms of educational requirements, job descriptions, salary, and related occupations. Their findings are then shared with the class.
This resource could be used in high school science and biology courses to address outcomes associated with cell division, genetics and molecular biology. Science and technology classes would benefit from the discussions generated from the descriptions of current medical technologies used in fighting disease. It could also be used as a springboard to evaluate different societal perspectives on the development and use of biotechnology.
The entire package could also serve as very comprehensive enrichment project, studying the role of genes and inherited characteristics in improving human health.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
The resource does not deal directly with religious and ethical perspectives surrounding the use of genetic applications of biotechnology. It presents a positive view of genetic manipulation.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
This resource does illustrate environmental, social and economic implications related to biotechnology.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
Although not examining all aspects of this issue, it does illustrate its complexity and promotes understanding, discussion and dialogue among the students.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|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
There needs to be more opportunities for students to express their values and opinions on the personal and social impacts of bio-technology.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Good|
This cancer case study promotes empathy for both people who live with cancer and their families.
|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|
This resource promotes the use of molecular biology in the fight against disease as an alternative to the current toxic chemotherapy regiments and radiation treatments used. This ultimately is helpful to both humans and the planet.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Present day approaches to diagnosis and treatments for cancer are presented and discussed. Modern bio-technology, with its concern for human health, is all about the future. The actions we take today may affect every future generation of human beings.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
A combination of structured and guided inquiry is used. Students are able to discover some answers on their own with regards to creating a model of treatment for the genetic mutations associated with breast cancer.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Poor/Not considered|
This is primarily a science resource, but there are opportunities for addressing outcomes in language arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Both cognitive and affective domains are addressed. A variety of instructional strategies are used, including simulations, hands-on inquiry, research, analysis of data, and role play. There are no accommodations suggested for struggling readers.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
This resource includes excellent follow-up questions for most lessons, complete with answer keys. Teachers will need to design their own evaluation tools and rubrics.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Very Good|
|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||Good|
|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.|