Genetics and Evolution-Instructor:
Paul Melkonian

The focus of this course is genetics, evolution, and dinosaurs. The first half of the course will be spent analyzing the book Jurassic Park. Students will discover which events in the book are science fiction and which are science fact. The students will have a reading assignment every night and be quizzed on the book twice a week. Generally, half a class session will be spent on the book and the other half either doing a lab or in a lesson on a specific topic. Students will have several projects, papers, labs, quizzes, and debates which will be assessed to constitute a final grade. Each unit is listed below along with the topics covered, some labs and other assignments, how the work is assessed, and resources used. Some skills students will learn are how to write lab journals and lab reports, how to do research, cite sources and write a bibliography for a research a paper, how to represent data in several ways, and how to debate.

Unit 1: Genetics

This unit will begin with an introduction into heredity, DNA, chromosomes, and genes.
Topics to be covered:

• mitosis and meiosis: stages and importance
• DNA students will build model, learn about base sequencing, and functions of DNA
• Medel's laws: dominance, law of segregation and recombination, law of independent assortment, incomplete dominance, and punnett squares
• Drosophila genetics: students will study the genome of the fruit fly and use them to study genetic laws,
• human genetics: chromosomes, mutations, disorders, sex-linkage, blood typing, pedigree charts, and karyotyping
• genetic engineering: how it is done and controversies
• cloning: the different methods, controversies, and implications

Projects and labs:

• students will have a number of exercises using Mendel's laws and will be quizzed on their use of these laws
• students will care for and breed different strands of Drosophila
• several labs on karyotyping and blood typing (figuring out mysteries in criminal cases)
• there will be reaction papers on articles read in class
• debate on genetic engineering and cloning.

Assessment: students will be quizzed on Mendel's laws of genetics; for the Drosophila lab students will be assessed by the completeness of their lab journal, whether their explanation of the results are reasonable, and how they represent data in lab report; for the mystery labs they will be assessed by their explanation of who the criminal is; and debates will be on the preparedness (how well they know their arguments and how well they know their opponents)

Unit 2: Dinosaurs In this unit, students will each research a dinosaur that was in Jurassic Park and one they chose not in the book. They will present this to the class and hand in a paper. We will also take a field trip to The Museum of Natural History.

Projects and labs: research paper, debate, lab to determine the running speed of a dinosaur

Assessment: the depth of research paper, the use of sources, the use of citations; how prepared the student is for the presentation (the focus will be on what knowledge the student has internalized not what he or she can read to the class); the discussion of results in the lab report will be the main part assessed in the running speed lab

Unit 3: Evolution

Topics to be covered:

• human evolution: different theories of how humans came to be
• dinosaur evolution: theories in dinosaur origins, extinctions and close relatives

Projects: two papers that will cover different articles read in class and the theory the student most agrees with assessment: students will be assessed on how well they understood the articles, how they use the articles to support their own argument, the use of other resources, and the correct use of citations

Outside resources: Genetics and Intelligence; Genetic Engineering; Time Magazine (3/10/97; Evolution of Life; Blueprint for Life; Cells, Genes, and Chromosomes; The Era of the Dinosaurs; Dinosaurs; Theme Connections for Jurassic Park; The Science of Jurassic Park