Showing posts with label genetics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genetics. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Lesson on Bears and Punnett Squares

A recent conversation with a friend about black bears in our neighborhood (neighborhood is a relative term as I live on a six acre woodlot) reminded me about a neat National Geographic article that I read about five years ago. Back then National Geographic magazine had a cover story about the "Spirit Bears" of British Columbia. "Spirit Bear" refers to the Black Bears that are white in color due to a recessive trait called Kermodism. As always the National Geographic website has some neat resources to support the main article. One of the online resources for the Spirit Bear article is a Punnett Square that explains how two black Black Bears can produce a white Black Bear.

On a related note, National Geographic has a short video about photographing Polar Bears in their natural environments that you might find interesting. The video is embedded below.



Applications for Education
The story of the Spirit Bear could provide a good backdrop to an introductory lesson in genetics.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Determines Hair Color? - And Other Lessons on Genetics

Brain Science is one of my favorite YouTube channels because they consistently produce concise, interesting, and informative videos. One of the latest videos is all about hair color. The video goes beyond the factors of genetics to explain how hair gets its color and why our hair (or at least my hair) turns gray with age.


To extend this video lesson about hair color take a look at the following TED-Ed lesson How Mendel's Pea Plants Helped Us Understand Genetics, students receive a crash course in heredity, genotypes, and punnett squares through the story of Mendel and his study of peas. The video is embedded below. The full lesson with questions is available here.


Thingdom is a fun and challenging game through which students can learn about genetics. The game, produced by the London Science Museum, asks players to select a "thing" then try to find a make for that "thing" based on various traits. Players move through a progression of challenges in which they try to create "thing" offspring that have certain traits.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why Are Your Eyes That Color? Two Short Lessons

Why Are Your Eyes That Color? is a new video from Brain Stuff. The video isn't an explanation of genetic traits (that is mentioned briefly) as it is an explanation of what actually gives your eyes a particular pigment.


The following TED-Ed lesson provides a good complement to the Brain Stuff video above. In How Mendel's Pea Plants Helped Us Understand Genetics, students receive a crash course in heredity, genotypes, and punnett squares through the story of Mendel and his study of peas. The video is embedded below. The full lesson with questions is available here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An Illustrated Glossary of Genetic Terms

The National Human Genome Research Institute has a great talking glossary of genetic terms for students. The glossary is available online and as a free iPad app. The Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms features scientists explaining each term. Most terms are accompanied by an illustration and some terms are accompanied by 3D animations.

Applications for Education
After reviewing terms in the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms students can test their knowledge by taking the Test Your Gene Knowledge quiz. The glossary on its own is a good review resource to link to your course blog or website.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Play Thingdom and Learn About Genetics

Thingdom is a fun and challenging game through which students can learn about genetics. The game, produced by the London Science Museum, asks players to select a "thing" then try to find a make for that "thing" based on various traits. Players move through a progression of challenges in which they try to create "thing" offspring that have certain traits.

Applications for Education
Thingdom is part of a larger online exhibit called Who Am I? Who Am I? uses animations, videos, and text to help students learn about genetics and the human body. Playing Thingdom could be a good way for students to informally test the knowledge they gained from using the other resources in Who Am I?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

The National Human Genome Research Institute has a great talking glossary of genetic terms for students. The glossary is available online and as a free iPad app. The Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms features scientists explaining each term. Most terms are accompanied by an illustration and some terms are accompanied by 3D animations.

Applications for Education
After reviewing terms in the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms students can test their knowledge by taking the Test Your Gene Knowledge quiz. The glossary on its own is a good review resource to link to your course blog or website.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Nature of Things - Man, Dog, and Genetics

The cover story of the February issue of National Geographic is all about dogs and the genetics that create so many variations of looks and sizes in dogs. The online article and photo gallery is packed with interesting bits of information about man's best friend. Reading the article (I still get the print edition delivered to my home every month) reminded me of this documentary that I watched on Snag Films a few years ago.

The Nature of Things: Man and Dog, An Evolving Partnership is a 45 minute look at the evolution of dogs from wild pack animals to domesticated companions bred for specific purposes. A preview of the documentary is embedded below.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bears and Punnett Squares

This month's issue of National Geographic magazine features a cover story about the "Spirit Bears" of British Columbia. "Spirit Bear" refers to the Black Bears that are white in color due to a recessive trait called Kermodism. As always the National Geographic website has some neat resources to support the main article. One of the online resources for the Spirit Bear article is a Punnett Square that explains how two black Black Bears can produce a white Black Bear.

On a related note, National Geographic has a short video about photographing Polar Bears in their natural environments that you might find interesting. The video is embedded below.



Applications for Education
The story of the Spirit Bear could provide a good backdrop to an introductory lesson in genetics.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Understanding Genetics - Online Exhibits

The Tech Museum of Innovation, located in San Jose, California has an interesting online display about genetics. The online display covers the science of genetics and the politics of genetic engineering. The online display includes a series of videos from the Future of Science Conference. In the video leading scientists and philosophers discuss topics related to genetics.

Applications for Education
The science of genetics displays are informative and appropriate for use with students in middle school and high school.
The videos and articles discussing the ethics and politics of genetic engineering and gene therapy are appropriate for use with high school students.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Scitable Adds Content

In April I wrote a short post about Scitable. Since then Scitable has added some content that is worth noting. Scitable's networking options have increased since my original post in April. There are more users and more filters for finding experts and or other students to connect with. Scitable has also added some video animations to help explain difficult concepts. The video below shows the process of translation, in which the information encoded by mRNA is turned into protein.


Applications for Education
Scitable is designed for use by college students, but some of content could be used in some high school settings.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Teach and Learn Genetics - Free Lesson Plans

Learn Genetics and Teach Genetics are produced by the University of Utah for, as their names imply, learning and teaching about genetics. Teach Genetics offers dozens of downloadable lesson plans. Many of the lesson plans available on Teach Genetics are designed to accompany the visual learning resources found on Learn Genetics. Learn Genetics features many excellent visual aids to explain the fundamentals of genetics.

One of the excellent visuals on Learn Genetics is the Cell Size and Scale interactive visual aid. Cell Size and Scale shows visitors the size of cells relative to common small items such as coffee beans and rice grains. Use the slider at the bottom of Cell Size and Scale to see how small cells are.














Thanks to Fred Delventhal for posting the link to Cell Size and Scale.

Applications for Education
Teach and Learn Genetics provides excellent visual aids to help your students understand concepts in the study of genetics. Take a look at the "Print and Go" section of Teach Genetics to find lesson plans corresponding to different topics in genetics.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Scitable - Collaborative Learning Space for Science

Scitable, produced by Nature Education, looks like a good resource for high school and college students studying genetics. On Scitable students can find more than 150 articles and overviews of key genetics concepts. If a student has a particularly tough question, they can ask an expert on Scitable.

Scitable is designed as a collaborative learning space. To that end, Scitable offers students the opportunity to join groups studying alike topics. Scitable also provides educators with space to create a course group through which they can deliver lessons to students.

Thanks to Skip Z for the Twitter tip about Scitable.

Applications for Education
Scitable is designed for use by college students, but some of content could be used in some high school settings.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Dr. Saul's Biology in Motion
Science Activities for Elementary Students
The Wild Classroom - Science Videos and Podcasts

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Understanding Genetics - Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum of Innovation, located in San Jose, California has an interesting online display about genetics. The online display covers the science of genetics and the politics of genetic engineering. The online display includes a series of videos from the Future of Science Conference. In the video leading scientists and philosophers discuss topics related to genetics.

Applications for Educators
The science of genetics displays are informative and appropriate for use with students in middle school and high school.
The videos and articles discussing the ethics and politics of genetic engineering and gene therapy are appropriate for use with high school students.
Below I have embedded a video featuring Daniel Dennet discussing genetics at the Future of Science Conference.