Overarching Question:  How does our increasing understanding of genetics impact our personal decisions and choices?

*links to resources are embedded in body--blue colour*
  1. Introducing the Genetic Processes Unit:  Surveying the class and articulating perspectives (0.5-1.0 periods)


Likert Scale:  We begin with a survey that addresses some key issues and applications of genetics in society i.e. genetic screening, gene editing, genetic determinism and so on.

Agree, Disagree, further questions:  Students are asked to use reason to explain their opinions and also share and consider the perspectives of others in the class; working on chart paper in groups or in elbow partners


2.  Building empathy and scientific understanding of ‘Chromosomal Abnormalities’ (1-1.5 periods)

Karyotyping Activity is used to help students explore various errors in meiosis that can take place, and extend this into…

Application and reflection further research and consideration of how a particular chromosomal abnormality impacts a person’s life, how we perceive others and how we are all connected.


3.  Implications of Genetic technologies:  Do you really want to know?  (0.5-1.0 periods)

The National Video:  CRISPR gene-editing tool (11 minute youtube video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krxQWQ-b7WYCBC

A great video highlights some of the issues related to our increased understanding of genetics.  Students are challenged to consider

  • how gene technology can be used/ misued in health and science
  • the reasons why a person would or would not want to know what their ‘genome’ says about them,
  • how deterministic genetics are in a person’s life. 
  • the various groups (medical practitioners, government, patients etc) that have interest in the application of science

*other interesting videos include:  ‘Genetic testing: Are home DNA kits worth it? (CBC Marketplace), TVO:  Do you really want to know?

4.  Case study analysis:  Connecting Science Technology and Society (2 periods)

Optical Illusions:  A brief hook to have students consider multiple ways of looking at the same case.

Bioethics and stakeholder analysis:  Students are given a choice of cases (Your genes by Catherine Baker offers a different case @ the beginning of each case--focused and varied topics that are accessible for students) that address various applications of genetics.  They are asked to work in groups to consider

*Within the bioethics and stakeholder analysis package--which is really long, here are the pages that were most helpful to me as student guides:  pg. 29, 37,38, 49 and 50--I have compiled these here: STUDENT HAND OUTS AND EVALUATION CRITERIA

  • who the stakeholders and what would their perspectives/ focuses be?

  • What additional research is required to address this case?

  • Build consensus based on research, consideration of context and in light of personal biases and perspectives.  

*Additional case studies can be found here: National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science


Curriculum Connections SBI 3U

D1. evaluate the importance of some recent contributions to our knowledge of genetic processes, and analyse social and ethical implications of genetic and genomic research


D3. demonstrate an understanding of concepts, processes, and technologies related to the transmission of hereditary characteristics.


D1.1 analyse, on the basis of research, some of the social and ethical implications of research in genetics and genomics (e.g., genetic screening, gene therapy, in vitro fertilization) [IP, PR, AI, C]

D1.2 evaluate, on the basis of research, the importance of some recent contributions to knowledge, techniques, and technologies related to genetic processes (e.g., research into the cystic fibrosis gene; the use of safflowers to produce insulin for human use) [IP, PR, AI, C


D3.4 describe some genetic disorders caused by chromosomal abnormalities (e.g., non-disjunction of chromosomes during meiosis) or other genetic mutations in terms of chromosomes affected, physical effects, and treatments