History and Nature of Genetics and Heredity

While Gregor Mendel’s contributions are certainly important for both their methodology and findings, they are not the only historically significant aspect of genetics and heredity. What were the cultural norms and views in times past? How did those views impact the advancement of science?

History of Genetics Timeline
This well-organized table starts with Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace in 1858, giving teachers a good foundation or review of how knowledge of genetics and heredity developed. However, it is interesting to ponder how people thought about reproduction and heredity prior to Darwin, since those concepts influenced the questions, if any, that were posed.

And Still We Evolve: Section Five: Heredity and Modern Genetics
This self-published handbook addresses ancient views (we cannot call them theories since they lacked supportive empirical evidence resulting from rigorous experimentation) of preformation, incapsulation, and epigenesis. Though your students may not admit it, they could have held, or may still hold similar views themselves.

A Mendel Seminar
A lesson for high school students in advanced biology revolves around Mendel’s original paper, Experiments in Hybridization (1865). The structure and support provided in annotations enable the learner to make sense of, and gain insight into, Mendel’s reasoning, methods and conclusions.

Thomas Hunt Morgan and Sex Linkage
This article summarizes Morgan’s work and includes tables and graphics for a clear presentation. It includes a section titled The Context of Morgan’s Discovery, from which the following quote is extracted, giving insight into his views:

Morgan, however, had long resisted the idea that genes resided on chromosomes, because he did not approve of scientific data acquired by passive observation. Furthermore, Morgan was not convinced that traits couldn’t morph into new forms in an organism based on the blending of parental contributions, an idea leftover from pre-Mendelian scientists. Morgan was sure that . . . researchers who promoted the chromosome theory of inheritance were looking for an easy answer as to how independent assortment occurred in gamete formation, because he believed they ignored counterevidence in the face of excited conviction. In fact, he thought that the concept of genes was at best an invention intended to link the mysterious paths of chromosomes :and discontinuous inheritance patterns.

This post excerpted from Middle School Guide to Reproduction and Heredity


We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 11/18/2011.

Forensic Science: A Hit in Middle School, Maggots and All

The latest online publication from the Middle School Portal is now available – Forensic Science: Middle School. We’ve searched the web for the best resources associated with this topic but I’m sure we haven’t found all the great ones. We’d like your help – do you know of other resources we should include? If you include Forensic Science topics in your curriculum we’d sure like to hear how you do it – please join in the conversation at the Middle School Portal 2 social network – http://msteacher2.org!

Teaching Ethics

In June 2007, the National Science Teachers Association adopted its official position statement on professionalism. Teachers, like all other working adults, are expected to conduct their work professionally and ethically. But when exactly would they have learned proper ethics? Ethics is sometimes perceived as a sensitive issue and is not explicitly taught in the K-12 years. Here are some resources on ethics education to assist you in preparing your students for higher education and the work force.

The President’s Council on Bioethics
Some topics included on this web site are: aging, biotechnology; cloning; and behavior control.

Bad Science
The public is captivated by forensic science as portrayed in TV shows, but are we aware that forensic scientists are faced with some unethical demands in the course of their work?

St James Ethics Centre: Imagine A More Ethical World
This not-for-profit organization provides a forum for the exploration of ethical decision making.

Why Teach Bioethics?
A high school chemistry teacher poses this question in an article and notes that bioethics is an excellent vehicle to generate interest and establish the relevancy of science content.


We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post updated 4/19/2012.