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Mendelian Genetics, Probability, Pedigree, and Chi-Square Statistics

Summary

A lesson that requires students to work through a series of questions pertaining to the genetics of sickle cell disease and its relationship to malaria. These questions will probe students' understanding of Mendelian genetics, probability, pedigree analysis, and chi-square statistics.

Appropriate for: high school biology (all levels), introductory college biology.

This classroom activity uses the information presented in the short film The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans to take students through a series of questions pertaining to the genetics of sickle cell disease and its relationship to malaria resistance. The questions are divided into sections: Mendelian Genetics and Probability, Pedigrees, and Chi-Square Statistics. Within each section, the questions sequentially move from a basic level to a more advanced level in order to develop the skills of the students.


Curriculum Connections:

NGSS (April 2013)
HS-LS3-1, HS-LS3-2, HS-LS3-3, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-3, HS-LS4-4, LS1.A, LS2.A, LS3.A, LS3.B, LS4.B, LS4.C

Common Core (2010)
ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.7, ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.4, ELA-Literacy.RST.11-12.7, Math.Content.HSS-IC.A.1, Math.Content.HSS-MD.B.6

AP Biology (2012–13)
1.A.2, 3.A.3, 3.C.1, 3.C.2, 4.C.1

IB Biology (2009)
Topic 1, 4.1, 4.3, 5.4, 10.2


Supporting Materials (7)

Short Film
In some parts of the world, there is an intimate connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia.
Film Guides
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans, which describes the connection between malaria and sickle cell anemia—one of the best-understood examples of natural selection in humans.
Classroom Resource
A worksheet designed to show students how scientists make their discoveries. It provides students with background information about how Dr. Allison's work built upon the contributions made by other scientists. 
Classroom Resource
A text transcript of the short film "Natural Selection in Humans" from the Making of the Fittest short film series.
Classroom Resource
A hands-on activity that uses simulations with beads to teach students about population genetics, the Hardy-Weinberg principle, and how natural selection alters the frequency distribution of heritable traits. 
Classroom Resource
A worksheet designed to actively engage students as they watch the film. Students are asked to answer questions pertaining to the information provided in the film.
Classroom Resource
A hands-on activity in which students construct models of sickle-cell hemoglobin fibers inside red blood cells to illustrate how changes in the structure of a protein can affect cell shape. Students are then asked to relate these changes to disease symptoms.

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