Technology Integration Plan
Shannan Muskopf


Students will have already completed unit on Mendelian genetics and using Punnet squares to predict the outcome of crosses. The intent of this unit is for students to learn about human genetic disorders, how those disorders affect individuals and society as a whole. Students will work in groups to evaluate how genetic screening can impact families and individuals, and make predictions about the future of medicine and genetics. The unit and lesson plans are designed for an introductory science class (grades 9-10)

Alignment to Standards (Illinois)

Learning Standard 11A:  Know and apply the concepts, principles and processes of scientific inquiry.

Learning Standard 12A:  Know and apply concepts that explain how living things function, adapt and change.

Learning Standard 13A:  Know and apply the accepted practices of science

Learning Standard 13B:  Know and apply concepts that describe the interaction between science, technology and society.

Learning Goals and Standards Alignment

-Students will judge the impact the Human Genome Project has on medicine and society (11A & 13B)
-Students will list common genetic disorders (11A)
-Students will describe at leat 5 genetic disorders (11A)
-Students will chart the statistics of the genetic disorders (how often each occurs in the population) (11A & 13A)
-Students will analyze the severity of disorders and discuss how each affects a person’s potential quality of life (13B)
-Students will discover what tests are available to detect genetic disorders in babies (11A & 12A)
-Students will consider who should be tested, how they will be tested, and who should pay for these tests, and what will be done with the results of those tests (13B)
--Understand the significance of public policy, specifically regarding genetic testing of newborns (13B)
--Students will publish their recommendations (13B)

Summary of Plan

For this unit, students will use the internet to investigate genetic disorders and genetic screenings. They will use this information to evaluate the impact of genetic screening on society and individual families, and develop a set of recommendations regarding the use of genetic tests.

The internet is an important research component of the unit, however the main objective is for the students to work in groups and solve a problem. They will need to think critically about genetic screening and its impact on society. This has some relation to social studies and history, particularly how labeling of genetic inferiority has affected the world in the past. After all, it was Hitler’s viewpoint that to preserve the race, certain elements had to be removed. This can be extended now to cover not just appearances and races, but how a person in the future may be judged by their genetics. Students can compare genetic screening to how eugenics was used in Nazi Germany and elsewhere to justify inhumane treatment and even murder.

A clip from the movie Gattaca will be shown at the beginning to spark interest. The movie shows a possible future where humans are judged at birth by their genetics. People are categorized and placed into occupations and social groups based on the genotypes, it it the ultimate form of judgement.

Also, reading and comprehension will be connected to the lesson, as students will read science-related articles and discuss those articles.

The Unit uses a constructivist approach, students are responsible for the creation and organization of their knowledge base. Technology will be used to promote meaningful learning in that students will take an active part in the construction of their knowledge base. Technology will help them formulate a larger picture of how genetics, and ethics work together in a larger social context. They will solve the real world problems, problems that are facing society today as medical technology increases: What kinds of tests can be performed on a fetus? Who should be privy to this information, and what decisions should be made based on that information. Students will learn the basics of genetic diseases, some symptoms and their prevalence in the human population. They will then determine how pre-birth tests can prevent or prepare parents for health problems. Larger social issues can then be addressed, for instance: if a fetus is tested and found to have a genetic problem, should the parents terminate pregnancy. These social concepts and bioethics are difficult to grasp, and using the approach of technology to foster thought and creativity is a method whereby the students can develop their own philosophies regarding the information they gather.

Lesson Plans for Genetic Disorders Unit (Grades 9-10)

Lesson One - “What if everything you are was determined by the letters GCAT?”

Description: An attention getting introduction to human genetics and genetic screening, students will imagine a futuristic society where a person’s life is determined by their genes. Students will discuss how a person’s genes can be used against them, and compare such practices to historical philosophies of eugenics

Students will:
•Consider the possible implications of genetic screening on society
•Discuss their viewpoints on genetic screening.
•Defend their own position on genetic screening


•Video: “Gattaca”


1. Teacher will give a brief summary of the movie “Gattaca” and show a clip of the movie to spark interest in the discussion. (Teachers should watch the whole movie, but due to the movie’s rating and other content, it is not recommended that the whole movie be shown)

2. Class Discussion

--What if the moment you were born, you were categorized, and society dictates your entire life based on that categorization?
--What if a test was available now that would determine whether you were going to get cancer, would you take it? why or why not?
--What if there was a test available that determined whether a person had the potential to become a murderer, an alcoholic, a child molester? Should we test people for for these types of genes?
--If we did test people for those types of genes, who should get that information?
--The movie represents a possible future. How do you think the movie compares to current technologies regarding genetic testing?
--Should reproductive rights be restricted? Should the government decide who should be allowed to have children based on genetic risk?
--Should people with “lesser” genes be eliminated from society or not be allowed to reproduce?
--Do you know of any historical situations where a person has been discriminated against due to his or her appareance or race?
--Consider that babies that are not born healthy can incur a considerable cost on society because medical and social needs. Who should pay for babies that are born unhealthy and need medical care or care throughout their lives?

3. Individual Reflection

After the movie and class discussion, students will write a short paragraph to answer the question: “Do you feel the government has the right to restrict a person’s reproduction based on the parent’s genes? Consider the medical costs involved in taking care of babies that are not healthy and defend your position”

Lesson 2 -- Introduction to the Human Genome Project

Description: Students will use an article to read about the human genome project. The article will be discussed and students will learn vocabulary words related to the topic.

•Transparencies of Chromosomes with gene maps
•Handout of New York Times Article " Genome's Riddle: Few Genes, Much Complexity", By NICHOLAS WADE, February 13, 2001

Students will:
•Learn about the recent discoveries in the human genome project by reading and discussing the article "Genome's Riddle: Few Genes, Much Complexity."
•Define words related to the article and genetics

1. Read the article as a class. The following questions will also be answered as a class:

--What was surprising about the information released regarding the human genome project?
--What is the new "favorite estimate" for the number of human genes?
--What are some possible explanations for the meager number of human genes?
--How can a gene make different proteins from the same gene?
--What is Dr. Haseltine's response to the report regarding the low number of human genes?
--What does Dr. Eric Lander think of Dr. Haseltine's claims?
--What, according to Dr. Lander, is the goal of the human genome project?
--Do you think that the human genome project is worthwhile? What implications do you think it will have on future genetic research?
--Why would pharmaceutical companies be interested in the discovery of new human genes?
--Why do you think there is so much competition and tension between different geneticists working on genome projects?
--Do you think the human genome project results in a greater or lesser appreciation for the complexity of the human species?
--How do you think a person who believes in creation as it is described in the Bible would react to the findings of the human genome project? How might such a person understand the findings if not from an evolutionary perspective?
--What famous quotation is Dr. Lander referring to when he says, "launch a thousand ships"?

2. Vocabulary: Write the following terms on the board (from the article), have students write the terms in the notebook. Students will use their textbooks or dictionaries to defiine each term.

perplexity, consortium, chromosome, gene, genome, combinatorial, impoverished, ingenious, exons, introns, splicing, divergence, enshrined, alleged, enigmatic, pharmaceutical

Lesson 3 - Simulated Reproduction

Description: Students will enact a simulation where they choose a “mate” in the class. Choices will be mostly made at random, though 5 people in the class will have known genetic diseases. After completing their choices for mates, the “offspring” will be tested to see if they have inherited a genetic disease. Students will then discuss whether the government should require genetic screening, and how genetic screening can affect a person’s reproductive choices.

Students will
•Discuss how genetic screening may affect a person’s reproductive choices
•Examine how genetic screening can improve a person’s chances of having healthy offspring.
•Consider the implications of genetic screening and how it may lead to bias toward people that may carry a genetic disease

- 30 cups or beakers
- Sodium Hydroxide solution
- phenothalein

Setup prior to lesson :

Beakers should contain the following:

5 beakers with 100 ml of water, 20 ml sodium hydroxide - These will be marked with a large X to indicate they are known carriers of a genetic disease

5 beakers with 100 ml of water, 20 ml sodium hydroxide - These are not marked visibly, and represent individuals that carry a genetic disease but do not know it

20 beakers with 120 ml of water - representing individuals who do NOT carry genetic diseases


1. Each student is given a beaker. They are told that 5 (marked with an X) have been genetically screened and are known to carry a genetic disease. They are also told that 5 people carry a genetic disease but they have not been tested and do not know.

2. Students are instructed to “reproduce” with one member of the class. Advise them it is just a simulation and it doesn’t matter whether they have the opposite sex partner. To “reproduce” they simply pour their two beakers together. The beaker with the “child’s” DNA is labeled with the parent’s name and placed at the front of the room. (If you have an odd number of students, the teacher can be a parent)

3. The teacher explains that she will “genetically screen” each child to determine whether they carry the genetic disease.

**To each beaker add a couple drops of phenalthalein, beakers that contain sodium hydroxide will turn pink. Those without will remain clear**

4. After the tests are completed, the “parents” will then know if they’re child carries the disease.

Follow-up Discussion

--Did knowing that a person had a genetic disease affect your decision to choose them as a parent for your offspring?
--Would you have liked to have known prior to reproducing whether your potential “mate” had a genetic disease.
-- What if the genetic disease was something that wasn’t very life affecting, like having 6 fingers? Would it matter then if your potential mate carried this disease?
-- What if the genetic disease was something very life affecting, like severe mental retardation and deformity?
-- Should people be genetically screened before marriage? Should the government require screening.

Lesson 4 - Research Genetic Diseases

Description: Students will use the internet to research genetic disorders. They will be given a list of possible diseases to research, though they are not limited to the ones on the list. Students will then construct a chart comparing the diseases.

Duration: 2-3 days

•Computer with internet connection (1 per person)

Students will
•Use the internet to search for particular diseases
•Write a brief description of 5 genetic diseases
•Construct a chart that compares the diseases


1. Give students a list of genetic disorders. Explain that they can use a search engine (Yahoo, Google, Lycos... etc) to find out information on 5 of the disorders. They may also choose disorders that are not on the list. (Be careful when choosing other diseases and make sure you have chosen one that has a known genetic basis)

Sickle-Cell Anemia
Batten Disease
Edward's Syndrome/Patau's Syndrome
Turner's Syndrome
Polycystic kidney disease
Klinefelter's Syndrome
Cooley's anemia
Gaucher's disease
Rett Syndrome
diabetes mellitus
diabetes insipidus
Marfan Syndrome
fragile X syndrome
Parkinson's disease
Cystic Fibrosis
Tay Sachs Disease
Down Syndrome
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Huntington's Disease
Burkitt lymphoma
Cri-du-chat Syndrome
Achondroplasia (dwarfism)
Immune deficiency diseases (Boy in the bubble)
Cleft Lip/Palate
Osteogenesis Imperfecta
Fragile-X Syndrome
Spina Bifida

List of Internet sites that may be of use:

Rare Genetic Diseases in Children Homepage

Genetic Disorders and Birth Defects

Medline Plus: Genetic Disorders

Genetic Conditions/Rare Conditions Information

2. They are to write down a brief description of 5 disorders

3. They are to construct a chart either in their notebook or on the computer using a word processing program. The chart should compare the 5 diseases and should address (but is not limited to) :

--How common is the disease in the population
--What is the expected lifespan of a person with the disease
--Rate the person’s quality of life: poor, fair, good, excellent
--What other complications can occur due to the disease
-- Possible treatments

Lesson 5 - Group Discussion and Disease Ranking

Description: Students will work in groups of 4 to 5. They will use their charts and descriptions from Lesson 4 to talk to their group members about the diseases they found. The group will then construct a master chart that lists all the diseases they have compiled as a group. As a group they will rank the diseases according to their opinions about the quality of life a person is expected to have. They will determine individual philosophies regarding termination of pregnancies where the fetus is known to have a genetic disease.

Duration: 2 days

Students will:
--Discuss the diseases they researched with group members
--Analyze the symptoms of each disease
--Choose as a group, how each disease would be ranked with regard to quality of life
--Work cooperatively
--Determine whether some diseases result in such a poor quality of life, that termination of pregnancy is acceptable


Students will construct a chart and determine a rank for each. Diseases will be ranked from the most life affecting to the least life affecting. (Example, colorblindness may be low on the ranking chart, while Edward syndrome will be high on the chart). Students must collaborate as a group to determine the ranking order.

Lesson 6 - Group Challenge - Recommend how your state should deal with the issue of testing newborns and fetuses for genetic disorders.

Description: Students will use the internet to investigate genetic tests and how tests can affect parents. They will then develop a set of recommendations and create a presentation to illustrate their findings.

Duration: 3 days
Materials: Computers with internet connection, PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Posterboard

Students will:
--work cooperatively and identify their roles in a Task Force
--make informed decisions based on the consideration of the bioethical issues involved
--write a plan for the state to deal with the issues
--be prepared for a public debate of the issues
--present their plan to the class in one of the following formats: informational poster, powerpoint presentation, web page (html)


1. Students will access “Genetic Testing of Newborn Infants” at

2. Students will follow the directions at that site. Each section should be read by the group to determine what issues and information will be included in your final presentation. In addition, the following should be turned in to ensure progress in the activity.

--Turn in a paper listing the roles of each member of the group
-- A list of questions (taken from the “governors letter” page) with your group’s analysis and answers

3. Students will then prepare their class presentation. Presentations should include the following. Presentations can be in the form of posters, web sites, or powerpoint.

--An overview of genetic testing
--A list of recommendations to your state (at least 5).
-- Should show creativity, and capture the attention of the audience

**Sample work found in dropbox - geneticsposter.gif The picture represents a poster that could be constructed that would gain an “excellent” rating. **


Lesson 4 Rubric
3- High quality, 2- adequate, 1- needs attention

Overall Content

3 - All five diseases were thoroughly described
2 - Most of the diseases were thoroughly described
1 - Only a few were described


3 - Chart is neatly organized and all parts are labeled
2 - Chart is organized and has some labels
1 - Chart lacks organization and labels

Content Details (frequency, treatment, lifespan, quality of life)

3 - Each area (question) was addressed
2 - Most of the areas were addressed
1 - Some of the areas were addressed

Grammar and Spelling

3 - No major spelling or grammar errors
2 - A few spelling or grammar errors
1 - Many errors in grammar and spelling

Lesson 6 Rubric
3- High quality, 2- adequate, 1- needs attention

Use of Internet

3 - Easily accesses internet sites, consistently locates meaningful information
2 -Access internet sites with minimal assistance, frequently locates meaninful information
1 - Needs frequent assistance to access internet sites and locate meaningful information


3-All members of the group work together, no unresolvable problems develop
2-All members of the group work together, problems are solved with minimal distraction
1-All members of the group do not get along, teacher assistance is needed to solve problems

Presentation Layout

3-Includes title, names, many colors, and attention grabbing ideas
2-Includes title, names, many colors
1-Includes title and names

Producing and evaluation

3-Evaluates information from multiple points of view, forms a personal (group) opinion
2-Evaluates information and forms a personal (group) point of view from a single perspective
1-Restates ideas from information sources

Interpreting and Evaluating Information

3-Interprets, evaluates, and organizes information around major elements of the problem, compares and contrasts
2-Interprets, evaluates and organizes information around some elements of the problem
1-Has no organizational plan or structure, information has not been evaluated


3 - Offers clear recommendations regarding genetic testing, explores multiple solutions
2 - Offers some clear recommendations, focuses on 1 or 2 solutions
1 - Offers no clear recommendations, focus unclear