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Dawn of New Revolutions - Science Lessons

During ‘Dawn of New Revolutions’ unit students explore the use of pesticides and genetically modified foods as an approach to answering the question “How do you feed a burgeoning population?” Genetics, photosynthesis and plant reproduction are the underlying science topics students tackle to address this question. Student’s work in this unit supports their participation in the Major Project: Youth Voices Forum, giving them the ammunition to support arguments that they might present.

Standards addressed by this unit are described at the Dawn of New Revolutions Standards page and within each lesson. To reach a lesson just click on it’s title. To see connecting lessons in social studies, language arts and math return to the ‘Dawn of New Revolutions’ unit page.
Threaded Big Idea
Humans modify the environment and change interactions between specific organism within an ecosystem through this modification. Genetically Modified Organisms are an example of this modification and are prevalent in agriculture. They are seen both positively and negatively by people across the world.
Essential Question
How do humans modify plants and animals to suit their agriculutral needs and what impact does that have on the larger ecosystem?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Just What are you Eating
An introductory piece on genetically modified organisms. Students review just what is on their dinner plate.
1. Articulate pros and cons of GMF’s including references to world wide controversy.

2. Identify GMF’s in their diet

2 class periods
Week 1

Explore/Explain
Cotton and Cabbage
Students design an experiment that will establish which seeds are genetically modified.
1. Identify uses of GMOs. Recognize what Bt infont of a plant name stands for

2. Identify a number of manners of dispersal

3. Describe the lifecycle of a cotton plant & cabbage looper moth

4. Determine the effectiveness of a genetically modified plant against a pest insect

5. Design an inquiry to test some aspect of the relationship between the GMO cotton and moth.
1 class period plus smaller periods through Week5
Apply
GMFs : Golden Rice or Frankenfood?
Students draw upon the classes collective background to make decisions about the role of GMF’s in their future.
Apply their understanding of heredity to current agricultural technology, specifically the development of genetically modified foods.
1 class period
Week 7

 

Big Idea
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make sugar using energy from the sun. Sugars are a basic building block for growth of the plant
Essential Question
What is the relationship between the sun and living organisms?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Putting on Mass: Just how do Trees grow?
Students discuss van Helmont’s experiment and identify what they know about plant nutrition

1. Articulate an explanation of photosynthesis in written form.

2. Identify problems they have with understanding how a plant gains mass.

3. Describe a historical experiment.

2 class periods
Week 1

Explore
Sugar and Light
Light as an essential part of the photosynthesis process is addressed in this classic lab using geraniums and Lugol’s Iodine.
Synthesize data from experiments in notebooks to explain the relationship between sunlight & starch.
1 class period
Week 1
Explain
Without Pigments we're Nothing!
Students have already identified light as necessary for photosynthesis
Demonstrate their understanding of the role of chloroplasts and chlorophyll in photosynthesis in written form.
1 class period
Week 2
Apply
Sugar and carbohydrates, protein, fat and water - that’s what little plants are made of!
Students connect the chemicals that make up cell parts with the processes that get them there, photosynthesis and respiration.
1. Discuss as a class and identify where a plant gets all the chemicals it needs on an activity sheet.

2. Design and conduct an experiment
3 class periods
Week 2

 

Big Idea
The interaction between insects and flowering plants is central to many plants reproduction
Essential Question
What is the role of insects in plant reproduction?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Flowers: Form and Function
Students connect form and function as they identify parts of the flower.
1. Recognize and name parts and function of a flower.

2. List steps within sexual reproduction of plants

1 class period
Week 3

Explore/Explain
The Birds and the Bees, and the Flowers and the Trees
Students examine the roles in which animals play in the pollination plants. This exercise actively involves students in narrating a video.
Observe pollination by animals and articulate through narration of a video the process of pollination.
3 class periods
Week 3
Apply
Design a Pollinator
During this lesson students will apply their understanding of basic plant and animal biology to design a pollinator(s) that is(are) well adapted to a given plant.

 

Big Idea
Humans modify the environment using physical, chemical & biological means and in doing so may impact multiple systems.
Essential Question
How do human affect their environment?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
When Is a Pest an Insect?
Students define pests and start the questioning of the use of pesticides
Describe how management of a particular species will depend upon a person’s perspectives

1 class period
Week 4

Explore
Acute Toxicity: LD50 by the Numbers
Students observe brine shrimp as they are affected by household cleaners.
Compare the relative toxicity of chemicals by observing the relationship of dose to response on shrimp.
1 class period
Week 4
Explain
Just Spray ‘Em!?
Students review what they are actually doing as they reach for the spray bottle to commit insecticide.
1. Assess the impact of a pesticide in a given scenario.


2. Draw out a possible route of insecticide chemicals in environment.
1 class period
Week 4
Apply
Aphids and Ladybirds
Students gain an understanding between one bio-control agent, its biology and that of one main prey
1. Design an investigation.

2. Design an IPM plan demonstrating understanding of life cycles and behaviors
3 class periods
Weeks 4 & 5
Project
Bt Cotton Experiment

 

Big Idea
DNA is a large polymer comprised of four bases that code for the creation of proteins. DNA carries the genetic instructions for all living organisms.
Essential Question Why is there such diversity on life?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
What is DNA? DNA Extraction from Kiwifruit
DNA, Genes, Chromosomes
Students spool DNA!
1. Isolate and spool DNA from kiwi

2. Describe the role of DNA & Genes

1 class period

Explore
DNA, Genes, and Chromosomes
During this lesson students will review the structure and function of DNA, genes, and chromosomes.
Describe through analogy and model the structure and function of DNA, genes and chromosomes.
1 class period
Explain
DNA Replication
During this lesson students will model DNA replication using edible materials.
1. Construct a 3-D model of DNA

2. Demonstrate an understanding of base pairs in written work and model
1 class period
Apply
How Things Go Wrong
During this lesson students will be able to identify where mutation might occur though discussion of DNA replication and cell division.
Differentiate mutations that affect an individual and mutations that affect an entire species during group discussion.
1 class period

 

Big Idea
Changes in DNA occur through mutation, random or intentional. Some mutation affect a single organism, other affect the species. Only mutations in reproductive cells create variations that change offspring and potentially the species.
Essential Question
How do species change over time?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Protein Synthesis and Words
But what do genes actually do? During this lesson students learn about the roles of the mRNA, ribosomes, tRNA and how the cells synthesize proteins.
Identify stages in protein synthesis where translation may be incorrect.

1 class period

Explore
Karyotype Puzzle
During this lesson students are introduced human karyotyping
1. Identify chromosome pairs based upon band patterns.

2. Differentiate normal from abnormal
1 class period
Explain
Chocolate Flavored Cherries
Students are introduced to the process of recombinant DNA through imaginary creation of chocolate flavored cherries.
1. Model using restriction enzyme and ligase how to remove sections of DNA and reattach them.

2. Identify start and stop sequences in DNA
1 class period
Apply
Designer Genes
During this lesson students apply biotechnology concepts to engineer a new organism.
1. Explain how restriction enzymes are used to remove sections of DNA and reattach them

2. Justify the engineering of a new organism

3. Explain the benefits and drawbacks of engineering a new organism.
1-2 class periods

 

 

 



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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