Central Dogma: Nature vs Nurture

As promised yesterday, students received the first 15 minutes of class to complete their quiz from yesterday.  After the quiz, we transitioned to the final segment of Central Dogma: traits.  We reviewed the key vocabulary concepts associated with Central Dogma and introduced the vocabulary word phenotype (the set of an organism’s observable characteristics).  We discussed how we are born with some traits (nature) while others we acquire during our lifetime (nurture).  Students learned about how scientists study the origin of traits through twin studies, and we watched a short video (below) where twin sisters raised in very different environments were studied after being separated for 35 years.  Students then worked in small groups to debate whether a list of traits provided on a worksheet are inherited via nature, nurture, or both.  The activity was so engaging we will allocated additional time tomorrow to complete the work.

Updated 2/19/16: After meeting in groups of 2-3 yesterday, students were challenged to identify other small groups of people they haven’t worked with recently and who might have different ways of thinking about how traits are inherited.  After 15 minutes of respectful scientific debate, students returned to their seats and took the remaining 30 minutes of class to respond to the following writing prompt:

Identify a trait you marked as being inherited through both nature and nurture.  Write a clear explanation supporting your position.  Include evidence! 

If someone were to disagree with you, what might they argue (counter-argument)?  Explain what evidence you have (or what evidence you might need) to defend your claim.

At the end of class, students turned in both the written response as well as the traits worksheet.

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