Monday, January 27, 2020: No School (Semester Break)
Tuesday, January 28, 2020: Welcome to second semester! A new semester brings fresh start and a new unit. Before we dive in, we will roll out a new seating chart, welcome new faces to our classroom, review the class Syllabus and Safety Contract and hold a class discussion around expectations this semester.
Next, we launched Unit 3 (Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits) with the following entry task:
In your lab notebook, list at least 5 traits that best describe who you are.
After responding to the entry task, students worked with their table teams and together they debated whether a list of traits provided on a worksheet are inherited via nature, nurture, or both. We came back together as a class so students could share their thinking and hear each others ideas.
Class concluded with the following assignment, due tomorrow:
Using your list of traits from the entry task, write an explanation about which of your traits are nature, which are nurture, and which are both. Explain your thinking!
Notes from class:
Wednesday, January 29, 2020: Yesterday, we debated whether a variety of traits are obtained through nature (DNA) or nurture (culture). During our class discussion at the end of class, we determined the trait of sleep pattern was likely caused by both nature and nurture. We will begin class with the TedEd video below to provide evidence to support the claim that sleep pattern is indeed a product of both DNA and culture:
In today’s lesson, we used a case study about cystic fibrosis as the mechanism to:
- review Central Dogma (from way back in Week 5!) and introduce the stop codon;
- connect the concepts of protein structure and function;
- bring a human face to a genetic disease;
- and help students recall the mechanism of genetic inheritance.
For the entry task, students were challenged to consider how genes begin and end. We discussed how mRNA sequences always begin with AUG (which codes for methionine, and amino acid which may also occur elsewhere in a protein). Students were then reminded of the three “stop codons” and we reviewed how those work to release a protein from the ribosome. We reviewed the structure of amino acids, focusing on the 20 different R groups and how those R groups each have different properties. The interactions between R groups determine protein shape, and shape determines protein function. When the sequence changes, the shape changes, thus changing the function of a protein. We then moved into the cystic fibrosis case study, first watching the video below and then working through the lesson PowerPoint.
Thursday, January 30, 2020 (HS-LS3-2): For day one of our two-day lesson on the structure and function of genes, we reviewed Central Dogma via the first two slides of today’s PowerPoint. Next, we dug into the vocabulary of proteins, revisiting words like amino acid, peptide, polypeptide, protein, and peptide bonds. Students learned that proteins fold into specific structures (shapes) and that a protein’s structure determines its function. Next, we reviewed the structure of amino acids, and students received a handout with the names and structures of all 20 amino acids. We drew a model of two amino acids bonding via dehydration synthesis and forming a peptide bond. We then defined the R group for an amino acid and discussed how each amino acid contributes to the overall shape of a protein. Finally, we connected this review of Central Dogma back to the idea of traits by considering how DNA mutations can affect proteins, sometimes with drastic consequences.
Friday, January 31, 2020 (HS-LS3-3): For our entry task today, students worked through the Friday Quiz (click here!) using the class Chromebooks. After the quiz, we previewed single-trait Punnett Squares to prime students for next week. Class notes are provided below: