High School: How Can Science Be Used to Help Make Our Lives Better?

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Unit submitted by Next Generation Science Storylines. Denver Public Schools teachers, working with a team of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and Northwestern University, designed this unit. Scientists are part of the team and have reviewed all content for accuracy. 

Rating: Quality Work in Progress

Science Discipline: Life Sciences

Length: Unit

Year Reviewed: 2019

This high school unit on genetics starts out with students making observations and posing questions about what they see in a brief video that depicts boys who have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). The video depicts them in their everyday lives, enjoying the company of others, but needing support to move and, in some instances, to breathe. Students begin by investigating how muscles work and how they function differently in boys with and without DMD. They investigate the function of the protein dystrophin in healthy muscle functioning and how the protein is produced in healthy individuals and about the role that a heritable genetic mutation plays in inhibiting the production of dystrophin in boys with DMD. Students explore different ways that heritable diseases are passed down to develop an explanation for why only boys manifest the disease.

It is the second unit in the inquiryHub (iHub) high school biology full-year curriculum. The first unit in the curriculum, Why don’t antibiotics work like they used to?, has earned the NGSS Design Badge. The units are organized around coherent storylines, in which students ask and investigate questions related to an anchoring phenomenon or design challenge. Students use science and engineering practices to figure out Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) and crosscutting concepts needed to make sense of and explain the phenomena or solve the problem presented in the challenge.

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How Can Science Be Used to Help Make Our Lives Better?

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