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Genes, Mutations, Evolution, and Sickle Cell

Kit #902S
Genes, Mutations, Evolution, and Sickle Cell

In Part 1, students follow the inheritance of a hemoglobin mutation through two generations. Students identify patterns in their data and investigate the cause-and-effect relationship between environmental conditions (incidence of malaria, survival rates, and resource availability) and the frequency of a trait in a population. Based on their data collection and analysis, students construct explanations for how changes to a gene influence an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce. Specifically, students use the example of hemoglobin to explain how structural changes to genes (i.e., mutations), lead to changes in protein structure and function, and how this can lead to changes in the function of red blood cells which, in turn, can affect survival of individuals with the mutation. In Part 2, students use a computer simulation to extend their investigation of the hemoglobin mutation. Initially, the simulation extends their data from the previous activity through 30 generations. Then students are able to adjust the environmental conditions to see how access to resources and the prevalence of malaria influence the distribution of the hemoglobin gene over time.

Details at a Glance

  • 2-3 Days | 2-3 ~50 minute class periods
  • 2 Activities
  • Accommodates unlimited classes, each with 8 groups of 4 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • All materials are non-consumable
  • Developed in partnership with SEPUP

Scientific Concepts

Performance Expectation
Disciplinary Core Ideas
•MS-LS3.A Inheritance of Traits
•MS-LS3.B Variation of Traits
•MS-LS4.C Adaptation
•MS-LS4.B Natural Selection
Science and Engineering Practices
•Developing and Using Models
•Using Mathematical and Computational Thinking
•Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts
•Structure and Function
•Cause and Effect
KEY VOCABULARY: evolution, gene, mutation, natural selection, trait

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 32 First Generation profile cards
  • 32 First Generation Survivor profile cards
  • 34 Hemoglobin plastic disks (16 HH typical, 16 Hh sickle cell carrier, and 2 hh sickle cell anemic)
  • 32 Student Guides
  • 1 Teacher's Guide