Pathways (9-12)

The Pathways classroom-based partnership program, is specifically designed to promote access to and engagement in science learning among high school students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences.

Yeast Mutagenesis

Author(s): Kamena Kostova, Darienne Myers, Larry Cohbra

Yeast Mutagenesis

In this laboratory investigation, students learn the concept of mutagenesis and explore how different substances can act as mutagens. The experiment utilizes a strain of yeast that lacks several DNA repair mechanisms, allowing it to accumulate mutations after exposure to mutagens. Students expose this strain of yeast to everyday substances (soda, soap, Aspirin, glue, etc.) and record the effects. Using this data, students will infer the affect of these substances on living organisms. 

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The Microbial World Around (and In!) Us

Author(s): Kaitlyn Lucey, Leslie Tong, JoAnn Knecht

The Microbial World Around (and In!) Us

In the first lesson in this two-part series, students are introduced to the concept of microbes by collecting samples to grow on agar Petri dishes. They will isolate colonies and perform two biochemical tests that microbiologists regularly use to identify bacteria. 

Overall Lesson Plan Layout:

1. Students will complete the pre-lab worksheet to assess prior knowledge and to address misconceptions. 

2. The attached presentation will be used to accompany the lesson (See attachment). 

3. Microbial diversity is introduced by:

- Showing a video

- Doing an activity (as a class)

4. The students are divided into groups of three for the hands-on work. Within these groups students pass around the petri dish so that each student can analyze it closely, and then they alternate between transferring colonies onto fresh agar media. Those students who are not transferring colonies can either watch the student who is doing so or draw the streak technique in their notebooks as practice until their turn. (Details for this activity are described below)

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Neuronal Signaling and Pain

Author(s): Chuchu Zhang, Amanda Paulson, Tom Dallman

Neuronal Signaling and Pain

The lesson has two parts: part one introduces the nerve circuitry for somatosensation and demonstrates the nature of neuronal signaling - electricity; Part two explores the concept of an action potential.

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Problems in Meiosis Lead to Disease

Author(s): Tiffani Quan, Elizabeth Pierson, Sabine Jeske

Problems in Meiosis Lead to Disease

This lesson is a variation on the traditional pipe-cleaner simulation of mitosis/meiosis. Initially, students review the normal process of meiosis.  The students are then presented with monosomy and trisomy gametes and asked to work backwards through the stages of meiosis in order to determine where the error may have occurred.  Students are then introduced to the concept of nondisjunction.

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Food production, Population growth and GMOs

Author(s): George Cachianes, Raquel Gomes, and Kristin Patrick

Food production, Population growth and GMOs

This interactive lesson is part of a lesson series (3 total) that focuses on topic of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The first lesson focuses on agriculture, food production, natural resources and population growth. The second lesson focuses on GMOs and their possible uses in agriculture as a way to fight world hunger and diminishing resources (this could be a very controversial issue and a great way to get students engaged in their learning). For the final lesson students are asked to (a) research the pros and cons of the use of GMOs in agriculture (b) propose other possible sustainable solutions to the current food crisis (c) propose individual behavioral changes in our daily lives or community solutions to protect our natural resources and avoid a more catastrophic food crisis.

The goal of the first lesson is to get students engaged in current global issues while learning and brainstorming about possible solutions. In this lesson the students are asked to look at data sets from multiple sources and summarize the main points by presenting them to the rest of the class. Student presentations promote discussion between students and help to integrate previously learned concepts such as the food chain, energy pyramid, water cycle, water footprint, flowering plants and agriculture. Additionally, students are introduced to new concepts such as population growth and limited natural resources.

Throughout the presentations the teacher guides the students to draw conclusions and helps them make connections with current world issues. After going through the data, there is a brief presentation on the historical timeline of the development of agriculture. The presentation also introduces the industrial revolution and agriculture's green revolution and their effects on human population growth. Overall, this lesson plan is an introduction to the use of GMOs in agriculture as one of the possible solutions to the current food crisis.

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Amylase - Exploring digestion and evolution through a molecular machine

Author(s): Becky Fulop, Juliet Girard, Thomas Noriega

Amylase - Exploring digestion and evolution through a molecular machine

The lesson is designed around two sets of experiments. The first set demonstrates that amylase is a digestive enzyme that degrades starch into sugar, can do so repeatedly and, like many enzymes, is sensitive to acid. The second set of experiments demonstrates the variability of amylase activity in different students' saliva. 

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Antigen switching in malaria

Author(s): Mary Kate Alexander

Antigen switching in malaria

In this activity, students will model how the parasitic malaria protist Plasmodium falciparum evades the host immune response through a phenomenon called antigen switching.  Specifically, slips of paper representing malaria-infected red blood cells will be used to demonstrate how random changes in the expression of Plasmodium proteins that display on the surface of human red blood cells helps the parasite avoid destruction by the host immune system.  Students start with a single infected red blood cell with a specific surface marker protein, and from there will simulate the spread of infection through multiple generations of infection (each generation consisting of a parasite infecting a red blood cell, dividing and multiplying inside the red blood cell, then bursting to release new parasites that go on to infect new red blood cells).  Student will find that the parasite occasionally changes the type of surface marker protein expressed over several generations.  When the immune system begins destroying infected cells displaying the original surface protein, cells that have switched to expressing a different protein survive and continue to divide.

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