Evolution – Lesson 1

On Wednesday, we kicked off the Evolution unit with our first lesson.  In Lesson 1, students watched a video about the evolution of soccer and then brainstormed other everyday things that have evolved over time.  Student ideas included the evolution of vehicles, animals, society, technology, and medicine.  In the lesson, students learned that DNA can change through missense mutations, nonsense mutations, and frameshift mutations.  After the lesson, students worked with a partner to investigate a hypothetical scenario requiring the integration of research skills, critical reading skills, recollection of the Central Dogma, and application of DNA mutations.  The investigation will conclude on Monday.  By the end of class Thursday, most students had successfully answered questions 2-6 of the worksheet.  As the events of 1995 and 2000 were before many of the students were born, we watched the following videos to bring closure to that part of the investigation and to introduce students to part of Seattle cultural history.

Evolution: Can We Live Forever?

On Tuesday, we watched a NOVA ScienceNOW episode hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson.  The show addressed the question, “Can We Live Forever?”  Students then turned in their responses to three questions on a worksheet.  Humans continue to develop amazing biomedical tools which may someday enable us to replace human parts just like car parts, potentially extending the human lifespan indefinitely.  This provides a stark contrast to the traditional concept of evolution, where DNA mutations accumulate over many generations and may provide individuals with a survival advantage.  In the rapidly approaching future, where biomedicine can overcome genetic defects and introduce new organs or even new traits, will we have to reconsider our definition of the process of evolution?