Project-Based Human Heredity

Project-Based Human Heredity

Has there ever been a time when it felt more important to understand Human Genetics? 

This high-interest course introduces the principles and applications of human heredity, AKA human genetics. In addition to human genetics, student will accrue general knowledge about genetics and the evolution of all organisms. The first three weeks of this class will focus on general principles of genetics.  After that, students will build on this knowledge as they apply those principles in a pertinent and meaningful way as they learn about human heredity and genetics.

This course will cover Mendelian and molecular genetics, cell reproduction, genetic and chromosomal mutations and disorders, structure and function of DNA and RNA, genetic engineering, and the application of genetics to the study of evolution of species – with a focus on how humans fit onto the tree of life (the phylogenetic tree), and the origin of humans. Students will also learn about the evolution of immunity and the evolution of the human brain.

Students will be encouraged to choose a topic and develop a project focused on this topic. There will be weekly assignments. This high school level course will include a course description, syllabus, and written evaluation for each student’s transcript.

Motivated middle school aged students will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the instructor, Blair Lee, if you have any questions.

There is an optional add-on of 8 labs, with feedback on the written lab components. The add-on is $100. With this add-on this course can be used for a life science lab course for high school credit.

What Makes SEA Online Classes Special

Class Duration: September 2nd – December 16th

Class Size: 1-10 learners

Age Range: 13+

Total Price: $475

There is an optional add-on of 8 taped labs, with feedback on the written lab components. The add-on is $100.

Before the start of this class or during week 1, Blair will meet with parents to discuss the class format & what to expect from this Project-Based course.

During weeks 2 & 3 of the class, Blair will meet individually outside of class with each student to develop their rubric that will be used to evaluate student’s work.

Week 1: Overview – The Basic Biology of Genes and How They Work
Week 2: Cell Reproduction & How Traits Are Inherited
Week 3: Pedigree Analysis & Mendelian Genetics
Week 4: No Live Class – Students will meet individually with Blair to discuss project ideas
Week 5: The Inheritance of Genetic Traits
Week 6: Genetic & Chromosomal Mutations
Week 7: Structure and Function of DNA and RNA
Week 8: From Proteins to Appearance (Phenotype)
Week 9: The Genetics of How Species Evolve
Week 10: The Origin & Evolution of Humans
Week 11: The Evolution of the Human Brain
Week 12: The Development of Sex & Sex-Determination
Week 13: Nature Versus Nurture: Teratogens & Genetics
Week 14: What We Really Need to Worry about if Aliens Invade Earth: The Evolution of Immunity
Week 15: Genetic Engineering
Week 16: Presentations

Optional: Lab Add-On
Lab 1: Isolate DNA
Lab 2: Mendelian Genetics
Lab 3: DNA: Shape, Structure, & Inheritance
Lab 4: Building Blocks of Life
Lab 5: Human Evolution on the Phylogentic Tree
Lab: 6: Comparing Skulls
Lab 7: Teratogens: How some substances denature & others make things sticky
Lab 8: Germs & How to Kill Them

Assignments: Every Sunday, the assignments and activities for the next week will be sent out via email. This will include reading from the textbook and fun videos or websites. Students are asked to complete activities and participate in class discussions. All required assignments are due one week after they are assigned. A project the student has chosen will be presented on the last week of class. Feedback will be given on these assignments. 

Live Classes: We will meet live as a group on Wednesdays from 11am-12pm PST: September 2nd – December 14th. There will also be some opportunities to meet individually with the instructor as needed.

Meet with parents August 24 – 30.

Meet with students individually to develop rubric September 6 – 15.

September 2: Overview – The Basic Biology of Genes and How They Work
September 9: Cell Reproduction & How Traits Are Inherited
September 16: Pedigree Analysis & Mendelian Genetics
September 23: No Live Class – Students will meet individually with Blair to discuss project ideas
September 30: The Inheritance of Genetic Traits
October 7: Genetic & Chromosomal Mutations
October 14: Structure and Function of DNA and RNA
October 21: From Proteins to Appearance (Phenotype)
October 28: The Genetics of How Species Evolve
November 4: The Evolution of the Human Brain
November 11: The Origin & Evolution of Humans
November 18: The Development of Sex & Sex-Determination
November 25: Nature Versus Nurture: Teratogens & Genetics
December 2: What We Really Need to Worry about if Aliens Invade Earth: The Evolution of Immunity
December 9: Genetic Engineering
December 16: Presentations
Students will receive assignments and video suggestions: August 30, September 6, 13, 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, December 6.

Optional: Lab Add-On
Week 1 – Lab 1: Isolate DNA – lab report due September 10
Week 3 – Lab 2: Mendelian Genetics – lab report due September 24
Week 5 – Lab 3: DNA: Shape, Structure, & Inheritance – lab report due October 8
Week 7 – Lab 4: Building Blocks of Life – lab report due October 22
Week 9 – Lab 5: Human Evolution on the Phylogentic Tree – lab report due November 5
Week 10 & 11 – Lab: 6: Comparing Skulls – lab report due November 19
Week 13 – Lab 7: Teratogens: How some substances denature & others make things sticky – lab report due December 10
Week 15 – Lab 8: Germs & How to Kill Them – lab report due December 20

Assignments: Every Sunday, the assignments and activities for the next week will be sent out via email. This will include reading from the textbook and fun videos or websites. Students are asked to complete activities and participate in class discussions. All required assignments are due one week after they are assigned. A project the student has chosen will be presented on the last week of class. Feedback will be given on these assignments. 

TextbookHuman Heredity by Michael Cummings. The 11th edition is the most recent edition. However, the 10th edition is relatively inexpensive to rent or buy used, and the 9th edition is inexpensive to buy used. Both of these editions work fine for this course.

Additional Course Materials & Assignments:  These will be provided by the instructor.

Optional: Lab Supplies will be supplied to students who purchase the optional lab add-on. All lab supplies are easy and inexpensive to obtain. Many of them are probably in your cupboard.

To interact in class: Live sessions will be best experienced with a camera and microphone. Students will need a Zoom account (free) and a Google Drive account (free).

For assignments: Written work can be submitted through Microsoft Word or through Google Docs. If learners choose to create a multimodal final presentation, they can use whatever tools they’d like (for example PowerPoint, video editing software, etc.)

Usually 3-5 hours per week of work; length may vary based on reading/writing/researching speed and student’s science knowledge. With the lab add-on the time commitment increases.

There are no prerequisites for this class.

Students will learn about human genetics and heredity

Students will work on close textual analysis and researching skills

Students will work on reading skills and accessing information from non-fiction sources.

Students will be mentored to work on a high-interest project focused on the topic  of human heredity.

Meet with students to develop a personalized rubric. The individual support is really the cornerstone of this class. While the core final project might be similar, what that looks like will be different for each person. The instructor will work with students to create their own goals and to give feedback and guidance that helps reach those individual goals. In this way, learners at different skill levels can all find challenge and success in the class.

Families and learners are welcome to share any information about their individual learning preferences and needs and instructor will make accommodations that are helpful to the class.

Assignments with feedback, Hand outs, Office Hours, Meeting with parents and students so everyone knows what to expect, scaffolding and mentoring students to develop their rubric for this course.

Optional add-on self-paced labs with feedback.

Genetic mutation in humans, teratogens (primarily focused on smoking and alcohol), and the development of sex are covered. Please be thoughtful when deciding if your child is ready for an academic treatment of these topics.

The variation and expression of the X and Y chromosomes will be discussed in Week 8 of this class. The topic of gender will be presented as follows, “The establishment of gender identity is a complex phenomenon and the diversity of gender expression argues against a simple or unitary explanation.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6677266/

See this teacher’s policies on things like refunds, missing class, and behavioral expectations. (Click here to see the policies.)

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