Genetic Diversity

For some reason I don’t think my last post published properly or I may have posted it to the wrong section. So here it is again.

The Project that I choose to examine in WISE was called “Space Colony – Genetic Diversity and Survival”.  The project is presented as a case study. The students were presented with a “mission briefing” where they were given two options for the survival of “colonists” on a planet based on their genetic makeup.  They would then have to come up with a hypothesis for why the route they choose would be the best options. The project then took the students through the molecular level of biodiversity that included cell division, DNA, mutations, single celled and multicellular organisms, etc. After learning about cells and how human cloning works, the project then zoomed out and gave students the opportunity to think about the big picture. Ultimately, this should help them understand the original problem that was presented at the beginning of the project with regards to which planet would be best for the colonists.

 

When experimenting with the project,  I was able to add in animations that I found online to illustrate cell division. This provides students with a visual of how the different components of the cells reproduce in order to create genetic diversity. I also added more areas where student were able to explain their thinking, rather than multiple choice. Kim & Hannefin (2011) discuss that WISE is about creating experiences that challenge that students to a particular task, scaffolding content in a way to expand student problem solving. The projects that I explored in WISE demonstrate a high degree of interaction with various models. I like how they incorporate some interpretation of data, blending the mathematics and sciences together. Williams et al (2004) discusses how teacher are able to gain a deeper understanding of the curriculum goals in order to support students’ learning and make their thinking visible.

 

Kim, M. C., & Hannafin, M. J. (2011). Scaffolding problem solving in technology-enhanced learning environments (TELEs): Bridging research and theory with practice. Computer & Education, 56(2), 403-417.

 

Williams, M. Linn, M.C. Ammon, P. & Gearhart, M. (2004). Learning to teach inquiry science in a technology-based environment: A case study. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 13(2), 189-206.

2 comments

  1. Visual animations sound like a valuable addition to the project. Something like cellular division seems very abstract because we cannot observe it with the naked eye. By providing students with an opportunity to view a representation of this process, you have provided another opportunity for them to make a connection to previous knowledge. I can envision a classroom discussion following completion of the project that connects to the ethical issues of genetic testing and design. It sounds like a very interesting project!

  2. Hi Tyler,

    You’re right, I didn’t see your post earlier. I like how you have sought to further augment the cognitive affordances of WISE by adding in animations that you found online to illustrate cell division. As you write: “This provides students with a visual of how the different components of the cells reproduce in order to create genetic diversity. I also added more areas where student were able to explain their thinking, rather than multiple choice.” Do you teach students this topic and for your group, in what ways do you see a “blending of math with science” support them and your goals for teaching. Do your curricular goals fit with Williams et al. (2004), comments on the curriculum and inquiry?

    Thanks for taking a look at this WISE project and modifying the experience,
    Samia

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