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High School Science Curriculum Focuses on Genetics

Synergistic Suite takes hands-on approach to make genetics relevant
  • Students in the reproduction Harbor of the Genetics Suite will contribute what they learn as the Suite team members in prepare for their group presentation on Genetics.
    Students in the reproduction Harbor of the Genetics Suite will contribute what they learn as the Suite team members in prepare for their group presentation on Genetics.
Just like in our middle school curriculum, approaching science topics in the high school Suites curriculum must be done in a way that makes learning exciting and relevant. To do this, our Suites curriculum takes the same hands-on approach! Below are several examples of science concepts learned in each of the Harbors of the Genetics Suite.

1) Reproduction


In this Harbor, students study human traits and how they are passed from generation to generation. In order to do this, students must learn how cells reproduce. Students use magnets and pop beads to represent centromeres and genes to model the mitosis process, which can be difficult to conceptualize.

The process of meiosis is modeled using colored slides to represent gene pairs that make up the genotype of a trait. Finally, to show how natural selection is the survival of certain phenotypes in a given population, students use colored beads to simulate the natural selection process. The beads represent the genes for a population of moths.

2) DNA


The DNA Harbor is packed with numerous hands-on activities that focus on the DNA molecule and its importance in the field of genetics. Students construct nucleotide models and DNA chains. Students model the process of DNA replication and collect actual DNA samples by completing a DNA-extraction activity. Finally, students use a kit to construct the nucleotide models for RNA.

3) Heredity


In this Harbor, students explore the transmission of traits from one generation to the next through genes. Students use a chromosome kit that uses beads to represent genes. Beads represent the double-helical DNA molecule, and magnets represent the centromeres of a chromosome. Centromeres are proteins in the chromosome that bond the chromosome pairs together.

Students are required to build a fish displaying the characteristics described by the chromosomes. Each bead represents a specific genetic trait, and students must build a fish with specific traits in mind. Each chromosome model constructed over the course of the Harbor becomes more difficult to build.