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Week of: March 12th- March 16th

Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12


These lessons will be taught to an Advanced Placement (AP) Biology class of 12
students. The class is a mixture of juniors and seniors in high school. The students
will be reviewing what they’ve been learning about Mendelian genetics to prepare
them for the AP exam. The students will be assessed throughout the unit using
informal assessments, such as Do Nows that are short answer questions and a
Kahoot. Instruction will be delivered using a case study on a genetic disorder. A
Kahoot quiz will be given to check for understanding. The students will be given
these assessments to monitor academic growth. At the end of this unit, students
receive a formal summative assessment to assess their knowledge and academic
growth on genetics. Each lesson will take place over a 90-minute class period.
Langston Hughes High School opened in 2009 in Fairburn, GA. It is a Title I school
that receives federal funding due to the high percentage of students from low-
income families. Over 90% of the school’s student population is African American,
less than 5% are Hispanic/Latino, and less than 1% are Caucasian. Within this
class, 11 of the 12 students are African American and 1 is Latino. Over 70% of the
teachers identify as African Americans and this can help foster a relationship
between teachers and students (“Search for Public Schools […]”, 2015). The school
is striving to decrease the number of out of school suspensions due to defiance;
they have recently seen a decrease in these numbers when compared to last year’s
data. To promote an equitable environment and encourage critical thinking in
science, the class practices think-pair-share (Kaddoura, 2013). This enables all
students an opportunity to actively participate. The ages of the students range
from 15-18 years. Some of the students come from a single-parent household and
others currently live with their grandparents. Three of the students are involved in
JROTC. Another three are pursuing the medical career pathway and are enrolled in
the Introduction to Healthcare course offered by the school. The high school is
considered an urban-fringe school because of its proximity to Atlanta. The
Student Background, students are close to a larger city, but the immediate community is a small
Culture, and Context surrounding town. Many of the students are bussed from areas outside of the
schools immediate surroundings.
One focus of the school is to increase the graduation rate every year. Last year, the
school had a graduation rate of 91.7% (“Academics”, n.d.) and this year they are
striving for 100%. This drive for increased graduation rates directly impacts the
seniors within my classroom because they are striving to ensure they have all of
the necessary credits. Upon graduating, many of the students have expressed a
plan to pursue a career in the sciences in college. Most of the students have taken
both Biology and Chemistry classes to prepare them for the rigor of the course.
Two students have not yet taken Chemistry and are paired with students who
received an 80% or higher in their Chemistry class in order to better support those
students. Some students have some difficulty with critical thinking and analyzing
data. Research shows that “Reformers of urban schools are now raising their
expectations beyond an emphasis on basic skills to the teaching of critical thinking,
problem solving, and even creativity” in order to overcome the pedagogy of
poverty (Haberman, 2010). They have shared that they are accustomed to other
teachers providing them with the answers and not being creatively engaged, so I
am working on developing this skill with them in order not to reinforce the

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

pedagogy of poverty. This pedagogy consists of 14 teacher acts, such as giving

information, monitoring seatwork, assignments, giving homework, reviewing
homework, etc., that when “Taken together and performed to the systematic
exclusion of other acts, they have become the pedagogical coin of the realm in
urban schools” (Haberman, 2010).
Five of the students have not taken an AP class before this semester and the
remainder have either taken one in the past or are taking their first AP level course
simultaneously. The previous unit discussed the imperfections that can occur in
mitosis and meiosis and how that can lead to genetic variation. These variations
can lead to genetic disorders. Students will be assessed on their knowledge and
understanding of genetics.
This lesson was developed to teach students about genetics through guided
instruction with scaffolding to elicit and build upon prior knowledge of how genes
are inherited. I have found scaffolding to be beneficial to my students because it
“provides a support; it functions as a tool; it extends the range of the worker; it
allows a worker to accomplish a task not otherwise possible; and it is used to
selectively aid the worker where needed” (Greenfield, 1984). This lesson contains
various activities with repetitive vocabulary for students. Data shows repetition to
be beneficial for retention of information in the working memory and I have found
it to help my students as well. Pickering found that “The training of even simple
rote rehearsal strategies has been shown to improve WM (working memory)
performance in adults with low memory spans” (Pickering, 2006, pg. 278). I
expose the students to the same vocabulary words in different situations and this
helps them to recall their meaning without support via triggering. These lessons
connect the student’s knowledge to real life situations, such as the diagnosis of
Maple Syrup Urine Disease, through the use of a case study. The students recently
learned about how changes, such as mutations, in genotype can lead to changes in
the phenotype. As students develop a deeper understanding of genetic changes
they will be able to understand the vital role that it can play in evolution, which
will be discussed later in the school year.
The school provides students an opportunity to rent a Surface Pro computer to use
in class during the semester. This enables the students to incorporate technology
to supplement their lessons. Technology also teaches students to find and assess
information which is beneficial lifelong skill (Lukas, 2010). The students will work
on Kahoot to complete questions. Assessment of the responses will provide the
teacher with data as a guide for instruction. The teacher will be able to offer the
students a tailored lesson for enrichment or remediation.


Learning Objectives

Purpose of the Lesson: How are traits for genetic disorders passed from parent to offspring?
Central Focus

Learning Objective(s)  The student will is able to construct a representation that connects the
process of meiosis to the passage of traits from parent to offspring
 The student will is able to pose questions about ethical, social or medical
issues surrounding human genetic disorders

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

GSE - Georgia 3. A. 3: The chromosomal basis of inheritance provides an understanding of the

Standards of pattern of passage (transmission) of genes from parent to offspring
Formal and Informal Assessment
Evidence of Student Describe how evidence Evaluation Criteria
Learning aligns with learning (rubric, scoring guide)
(audio/video responses, objective(s) The case study will be
written paper, project, *Indicate: Formative or assessed for understanding.
visual representation) Summative Kahoot questions will be
Students will complete a Do The case study assessed for correctness.
Now activities in the questions are the
beginning of class by formative assessment.
answering questions that The questions are used
correspond with a photo. to assess the students
Completion of the case understanding of
Describe both the
study and correctly chromosomal
formal AND informal
answered questions inheritance and the
assessments. Both
displays student learning. transmission of genes
assessments must
from parent to offspring.
provide evidence of
The questions also pose
student achievement
questions about ethical,
for (each of) the
social or medical issues
lesson’s learning
surrounding human
genetic disorders. The
Kahoot is used as a
summative assessment
of the students’
knowledge of
interpreting Punnett
squares, also displaying
an understanding of the
passage of genes
between parents and
Facilitation & Safety The beginning of the class will begin with a “Do Now” activity that consists of
answering questions to elicit prior knowledge. Afterwards there will be a time of
connection, then direct instruction. Following direct instruction there is a time of
student centered activity with a check for understanding. The class will end with a
closing activity to answer any questions and summarize the lesson. They will be
supplied with the classroom materials for the period at the start of class upon
entrance or right before beginning an activity. All instructions will be given before
students transition to decrease the time of transition and ensure that students remain
focused and on task.
To maintain safety every student will be given a desk and only be allowed to sit at the

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

lab stations during designated times. They will be instructed to keep all personal
belongings underneath their desks to prevent any accidents from occurring. The
students will not be released to lab stations without appropriate attire, safety googles,
and complete instruction. They will adhere to the school’s standards and be reminded
of the lab safety rules, such as, report any spills or injuries, no wandering, what to do
if there is a fire drill etc.
Student’s will be reminded of the classroom rules of raising their hands if they need
my attention, to use the restroom, ask a question, or throw something into the trash
bin. During times of open discussion, students will be encouraged to ask questions or
reply to comments freely, from the teacher or to one another, in a respectful manner.
The desk arrangement will be in rows with every student facing towards the front of
the class or divided in the middle facing one another with the instructor canvassing
the room as they receive instruction. While working on the case study the students
will sit in groups.

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

Language Students will explain how meiosis and mendelian inheritance can result in identical

Function twins looking different. Students will analyze a case study on a genetic disorder.
Vocabulary: genotype, phenotype, gamete, allele, pedigree, inheritance, genetic
disorders, dominant, recessive, meiosis, zygote, fertilization, inbreeding
Students will engage in writing to display their understanding of the concept of
Syntax or inheritance using vocabulary and proper syntax. Students will discuss their
Discourse explanations and questions to support and further a correct use of vocabulary.

- The Do Now Activity will be assigned to students at the start of class.

Instructional Strategies & Learning Tasks that Support Diverse Students’ Needs

- For the activity, the students will be shown a picture of identical twins and
asked to provide an explanation for their differences using their vocabulary
- The teacher will discuss the Do Now Activity with students
- Students will share their explanations with the class
- The teacher will ask if there are any questions
- The teacher will introduce the case study to students and have them divide
into groups
- The students will read and discuss part 1 of the case study in their groups
Body - The teacher will have students share their answer for part 1, answer any
(60 questions then distribute part 2 for reading
minutes) - The students will read and discuss part 2 of the case study in their groups
- The teacher will have students share their answers for part 2, answer any
questions then distribute part 3
- The students will read and discuss part 3 of the case study in their groups
- The teacher will have students share their answer for part 3, answer any
- The teacher will check for understanding of the case study
- The teacher will instruct students to login to Kahoot on their devices
- Students will log in to Kahoot on their devices or pair with another student to
engage in the activity
- The teacher will facilitate a Kahoot quiz with the students to review genetics
- The teacher will ask if students have any questions
- Teacher will inform students of lab activity scheduled for next class session

- The Kahoot will serve as a visual aid for students

Differentiation, - The props for the case study will serve as a kinesthetic aid to help foster
Modification(s), & thinking amongst the students
Accommodation(s) - Students who struggle with reading will be paired with gifted students for
extra support
Materials - Notebook paper
- Pens/pencils
- Electronic devices
- Case study

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

- Case study teaching notes

- Props for case study
- PowerPoint slide with images of the twins
- Kahoot quiz:

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

Academics. (n.d.). Retrieved from

CollegeBoard. (2015). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from https://secure-

Greenfield, P. M. (1984). A theory of the teacher in the learning activities of everyday life. In B.
Rogoff & J. Lave (Eds.), Everyday cognition: Its development in social context (pp. 117-138).
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Haberman, M. (2010). The Pedagogy of Poverty versus Good Teaching. Phi Delta Kappan,92(2), 81-
87. doi:10.1177/003172171009200223

Kaddoura, M. (2013). Think Pair Share: A teaching Learning Strategy to Enhance Students' Critical
Thinking. Educational Research Quarterly, 36(4), 3-24.

Lukasš , M. (2014). Supporting Friendly Atmosphere in a Classroom by Technology Implementation.

Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Langston Hughes High School. (n.d.). Retrieved October
19, 2017, from

Pickering, S. J. (2006). Working memory and education. London: Academic Press, 2006.

Washington, J., & Zayaitz, A. (2007, July 22). A Sickeningly Sweet Baby Boy. Retrieved March 8, 2018,

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12
A Sickeningly Sweet Baby Boy:
A Case Study on Autosomal Recessive
Jacqueline Washington, Department of Biology and Chemistry, Nyack College, Nyack, NY
Anne Zayaitz, Department of Biology, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA

Part I—Failure to Thrive

at the birth of their baby Matthew.
“Jacob, he’s just so perfect! Just one problem though, it looks like he has your hairline!” Emma
teased her husband who, though only 32, was balding.
“Emma, I spent all that time painting the baby’s room and I just hope that he’s not color blind like
your father or he won’t be able to see it!” Jacob responded.
Both the pregnancy and delivery had been uneventful. But in the back of their minds, they really
were worried because their first child, Samuel, died at the age of nine days.
By the fifth day after birth, Matthew began to have trouble nursing and by the seventh day he had
completely stopped feeding. Emma and Jacob were frantic because it seemed to them that
Matthew might also die.
“What is going on with our family? Another sick baby?” Jacob thought to himself.
Emma and Jacob rushed him to the emergency room. Although Mathew’s limbs were rigid and he
had had a seizure, the examination showed no infection and his x-rays were normal. Th e doctor
also did routine lab tests on his blood and urine.
“Doctor, do you think that this funny smell in Matthew’s diapers has anything to do with his
problem?” Emma asked. “I brought one along so that you could smell it too.”

1. What additional information would you want to know to understand Emma and Jacob’s
2. What is meant by “failure to thrive”?
3. What are some reasons why newborns fail to thrive?
4. What do you think the smell is?

Part II—Pedigree Analysis

Matthew’s urine did have a sweet, maple syrup smell and lab results revealed elevated levels of the
branched chain amino acids (bcaa)—valine, isoleucine, and leucine.
Skin biopsies from the baby and his parents were taken and cultured. Th e ability of the cultured
skin fibroblasts to metabolize bcaa was determined. While his parents’ enzyme activity levels were
nearly normal, Matthew’s was less than 2% of normal.
“Given the medical information and the smell of the urine, Matthew has Maple Syrup Urine Disease
(MSUD),” reported Dr. Morton of the Clinic for Special Children. “He will not be able to breast feed
or drink regular formula.
What is really important is that Matthew eats a low protein diet. Th is diet must continue for the
rest of his life or else the amino acids will accumulate in the body creating a situation that leads to

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

brain swelling, neurological damage, and death. In spite of dietary intervention, the disease may
cause several complications, the most notable being mental retardation. You need to know that
dietary intervention does not cure the disease.”
Emma and Jacob were Mennonites and their family history revealed that Emma’s mother had two
sisters who died in their first year of life; no one knew why. Jacob’s father had a sister who died at
seven months of age from unknown causes. Could the gene for MSUD run in both of their families?
MSUD is due to a recessive gene. For an individual to be affected, he or she would need to inherit a
nonworking copy from each parent. Th e individual would then be described as being homozygous

Credit: Illustration used with permission of Th e Screening, Technology And

Research in Genetics (STAR-G) Project (

Pedigree charts are useful tools used by genetic counselors to look for the incidence of disease
within multiple generation families. Each generation is shown on a separate row.
1. Label the pedigree chart below to explain the relationships and the disease incidence
within this family. Be sure to include Emma, Jacob, Samuel, Matthew, Emma’s father,
Emma’s mother, Emma’s aunts, Jacob’s mother, Jacob’s father, and Jacob’s aunt.
2. Indicate on your pedigree chart the individuals who are carriers by shading half of each
circle or square.

3. Define the terms genotype, phenotype, homozygous and heterozygous.

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

4. How could their son have inherited MSUD even though neither parent suffers with it?
5. What is the probability that they would have another affected child? A carrier?
6. Could Emma and Jacob have children who do not have MSUD (i.e. phenotypically
normal)? Explain. What is the probability?
Challenge Question: Why were Emma’s and Jacobs’s enzyme levels nearly normal?

Part III—Treatment Options

Over the next four years, Matthew’s metabolism was controlled by giving him an extremely
regimented low protein diet. His staple was potatoes, which he enjoyed with ketchup. He was not
able to eat meat, dairy, or poultry products. Unlike most kids, Matthew never ate traditional
birthday cake or ice cream.
Despite the family’s strict adherence to this MSUD diet, Matthew continued to suffer
approximately three metabolic crises a year. Th ese crises occurred when amino acids accumulated
in his blood leading to the swelling of his brain. Even something as simple as a cold or the flu
affected his amino acid levels and sent his metabolism into crisis.

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Week of: March 12th- March 16th
Grade and Subject: 11th and 12th grade AP Biology Number of Students: 12

“We cannot continue to live in constant fear that a minor infection or a simple cold or ear infection
could kill our son. Even though we are doing everything we are supposed to, he is still getting sick
and we are afraid we may lose Matthew,” Emma said as she dried her tears. “When I think about
how we lost our first child and I see other parents of kids with MSUD grieving over the loss of
their child, I’m so afraid of losing Matthew. I do not want to watch him become brain damaged or
dead because of a simple sore throat or even having just one too many french fries.”
Jacob agreed. “We know that some children with MSUD have had a liver transplant and they are
effectively cured. But that is major surgery and he is so small and frail. Would he survive the
surgery? On the other hand, the alternative for my son is a life of uncertainty that could end in
death at any moment.”
Th e family was directed by Dr. Morton to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where transplant
experts agreed to list Matthew for a liver transplant.
Jacob and Emma learned that children who received a liver transplant would have to take strong
immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives. It was also clear there was a 40% possibility
that Matthew could reject the liver and need a second transplant (which also might be rejected) or
he could die from surgical complications.
Jacob and Emma had to decide what to do.

1. What options do these parents have for the care of their son?
2. What are the pros and cons of each choice?
3. Where would a donor liver come from?
4. MSUD is found in one newborn in 200,000 throughout the United States, but one
newborn in 200 in the Amish and Mennonites of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has the
disease. Why is there such a difference in the prevalence of the disease?
5. If Matthew was your son, what would you do?

Image Credit: Photo ©iStockphoto/Amanda Rohde. Case copyright held by the National Center for Case
Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Originally published July 22,
2007. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this

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