To start off the semester in co-taught biology, we closed on our genetics unit by learning all we could about DNA. We discussed the history of its discovery, what it looks like and what it does as the “blueprint” for life. Then we used supplies that can be found at home to extract the DNA from a strawberry. We also played Codon Bingo to practice translating that genetic code into a useful protein, just like our cells do all the time. Next, we started discussion natural selection of populations and the history of life on Earth. Lots of questions have come up and we are all excited to be starting this new unit. We learned that the ancestors of whales walked on land, bird beaks may change shape over generations based on the food supply and elephants without tusks survive better than those that have tusks. All of these are examples of how species change over time.
In general biology, we’ve been working our way through our unit on genetics and heredity. Students have discovered patterns of inheritance by studying Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disease that affects mostly boys. Through this case study, we have also discovered how genetic diseases start through a mutation in the DNA the steps of protein expression. Most recently, students have been reading about the genetic engineering technologies that may some day cure not only DMD but also other genetic disorders. Next up after this unit is our study on the environment and how humans are impacting it.