Simple Mendelian Genetics: An interactive lecture using "DNA from the Beginning"
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This page first made public: Jan 25, 2007
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
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.
- Learn the meaning of the terms phenotype, genotype, allele, dominant, recessive, heterozygous, homozygous, hybrid, Punnet square
- Understand how crosses of plants and animals can be used to investigate the principles of inheritance
- Use data from crosses to determine which allele is dominant
- Use data from crosses to determine whether the parents are homozygous or heterozygous
- Deduce the expected ratios in the progeny given the alleles in the parents
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
To use this in a lecture, give the students a brief explanation of the topic and warn them that there will be questions along the way. Then go through the first animation, stopping at the end to let the students attempt to answer the first question. They can do this on their own and then vote on the correct answer (using cards, IR clickers, or just a show of hands) or they can work in small groups and then different groups volunteer, or are randomly selected, to explain their answer to the class. All five modules can be done in a couple of hours or, if students are struggling, the instructor can give additional questions and help and take three or four hours to go through all five modules.
The five modules on simple Mendelian genetics are:
- Children resemble their parents.
- Genes come in pairs.
- Genes don't blend.
- Some genes are dominant.
- Genetic inheritance follows rules.
Alternatively, the animations could be assigned as homework and class time could be used to discuss the animations and tackle more difficult problems. As the animations reveal whether students have the correct answers to the questions and allow multiple trys, this asingment can't be graded other than as pass (for gettign the answer to all questions) and fail for not doing the assignment.
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
MERLOT description of the "DNA from the Beginning" resource that is used in this activity.
Direct links to DNA from the Beginning: