Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Mitosis and Meiosis part of Merlot Biology Pedagogic Collection:Teaching with Visualizations:Examples
Discussion, along with drawings and animations, are used to help participants understand the differences between and steps involved in mitosis and meiosis.
Searching Genbank part of Merlot Biology Pedagogic Collection:Teaching with Data:Examples
In this activity students search the Genbank database for a specific entry on the hemoglobin genes. After finding the entry students learn about the kinds of information available in a Genbank record and some uses for that information by answering a series of guided questions at the Darwin2000 site. The questions are designed to illustrate key aspects of the record and to have students actively use some of the information to learn or review basic molecular biology and molecular evolution. Students turn in answers to the questions. This assignment has students only go through part of the full assignment at Darwin2000 and includes additional background information not available there to make the assignment more appropriate for introductory biology students.
Simple Mendelian Genetics: An interactive lecture using "DNA from the Beginning" part of Merlot Biology Pedagogic Collection:Interactive Lectures:Examples
This active uses a flash based animation, "DNA from the Beginning," to introduce students to the researchers and their experiments that led to the current model for inheritance of genes. Each of the five modules has an animation showing one experiment, a simple multiple choice question based on the experiment, and a more challenging multiple choice question that requires students to extend the concepts further. The modules help students learn about doing genetic crosses, that genes come in pairs, alleles can be dominant or recessive, and how to use Punnet squares to predict ratios of phenotypes in offspring. All five modules can be covered in two to three hours either as an interactive lecture in class or on the students own time.
JiTT-Scientific Method part of Just in Time Teaching:Examples
Students read about the scientific method and then design an experiment to test a hypothesis based on some common pseudo-scientific or alternative health treatment. In class groups of students compare their experiments and decide on which experiment is the best designed scientific experiment.
Monohybrid Fruit Fly Crosses: A Simulation part of Merlot Biology Pedagogic Collection:Teaching with Data:Examples
Students use a computer simulation, the commercial Biolabs Virtual Fly simulation, of fruit fly crosses to investigate the inheritance of a simple Mendelian trait. Students observe the results of initial crosses, make hypotheses about the inheritance of the trait, design crosses to test their hypothesis, analyze the results of their experiment and draw conclusions about the inheritance. This experiment uses a trait with simple dominant and recessive alleles appropriate for any beginning genetics students. A detailed example of how to do the crosses and a sample of a report along with a possible grading rubric are included. This excercise can be easily modified to include dominant, lethal or x-linked alleles.
Writing a Wikipedia Genetic Disease Article part of Merlot Biology Pedagogic Collection:Teaching with Data:Examples
For this assignment students use online genetic databases such as Genbank and OMIM to research a particular genetic disorder and then write an article about the disease for the online Wikipedia Encylopedia project. In addition to requiring students to synthesize much of what they have learned in a typical genetics course, this assignment also has a service component as students will use their genetics knowledge to produce an informative article that will add to the useful body of free information available in the Wikipedia project, which may aid individuals suffering or potentially suffering from a genetic disease, or friends or relatives of someone with a genetic disorder.