A genetics lesson about where you got your good looks
Those genes look good on you! Ok, sorry, enough of the science puns! With the exception of the few students who love science and read the textbook for fun, my experience has been that most high school students could care less about DNA, genes, and chromosomes. My mission over the past several years has been to find ways to make science topics relatable and fun for my students. Two things my students seem to love the most are their technology and peers. So why not combine the two things and get our students to love learning?! Of course, there can always be challenges with peer work and utilizing technology in school but, with proper boundaries and instructions I've found that it is not only possible to integrate technology into the classroom with peer work, it is FUN! Students tend to remember the "experiences" they have in class more than the lectures and readings. Don't get me wrong, teacher instruction and reading comprehension are significant in the classroom, but I've discovered that personal memories centered around a learning topic impact the student's education the most.
One of my favorite lessons so far this year has been the genetics lesson I created in Google Slides. It has so many interactive portions for students to use like a peer traits survey with a graphing tutorial, TedEd lessons, Punnett Square practice, videos, and a group DNA modeling activity (pictured here). CLICK HERE to check out this awesome lesson. I loved seeing my student's creativity! Because there were so many interactive portions to the lesson, my students were more engaged with me, each other, and get this....the lesson. (Teacher WIN!)
When the topic of genetic disorders came up many of my students engaged in a class conversation sharing personal experiences as well as things they had seen in the news. I could see that "light-bulb" moment as my students began to identify the role genes play in genetic mutations. It was a perfect transition to our next topic of gene therapy and protein synthesis. The students watched a fascinating video about genetic retinal disorders and gene therapy and took notes on the following document. Click here for a FREE copy of the video worksheet we used. In effect, our genetics lesson did more than meet Next Generation Science Standards. It allowed my students to make lasting memories with their friends while learning....and that is what teaching is all about!