Middle School

Two units for middle school are being developed and tested that can be used either in one grade level or across two grade levels.

Unit I: What Controls My Health?

Designed to meet NGSS and the new Michigan Science Standards, “What Controls My Health?” is a coordinated set of classroom and community activities intended to give youth and adults an understanding of modern concepts in genetics using Type 2 diabetes as the real-world context.  Students and their families can use these concepts to appreciate the importance of both genetic and environmental factors in their risk for disease. The curriculum connects students to real-world experiences and provides relevance for their learning. One in 10 adults in Michigan are diagnosed with diabetes, which like many common diseases, is caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. During the unit, students investigate how lifestyle options for healthy foods and exercise help prevent or reduce diabetes. For their final project, students conduct an action research project to improve their school or neighborhood to help prevent or reduce diabetes.

Timeline:

  • Year 1 (2014-15):  Curriculum Development (10-week unit for middle school and User Testing (Detroit))
  • Year 2 (2015-16:    Pilot testing (1 6th grade teacher/Flint; 2 6th grade teachers/Detroit)
  • Year 3 (2016-17):   Field testing (9 6th grade teacher/Flint,11 classrooms (~350 students); 1 6th grade teacher/Detroit, 4 classrooms (~280 students)
  • Year 4 (2017-18):   Field testing in Flint Community Schools 6th grade classrooms (~350 students)
  • Year 5 (2018-19): Field testing in Flint Community Schools and Greater Flint

NGSS Performance Expectations With Potential Relevance to SEPA Project

  • MS-LS1-5. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
  • MS-LS3-1. Develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism.
  • MS-LS3-2. Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
  • MS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
  • MS-LS4-5. Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.

 

Download most recent version of this curriculum below.

 

Unit II: How can looking for thrills make me miserable?

 This second unit dives deeper into gene-environment interactions exploring genetics, mutation, and natural selection. Students investigate the brain’s reward system and why this system can lead to addictive behavior. The unit starts with a video with teens’ testimonials about their addiction to vaping (e-cigarettes), a concerning trend among high school and some middle school students. This leads into a discussion about addiction more broadly and how our genetics and the environment affect our risk. Finally, they research, “What can we do to reduce the risk for addictions for ourselves and in our community?” 

Timeline:

  • Year 3 (2016-17):         Curriculum development and user testing at Detroit U Prep Science & Math Middle School with 1 teacher/90 7th grade students;
  • Year 4 (2017-18):         Pilot testing at Carman-Ainsworth Middle School with 1 teacher and 145 7th grade students;
  • Year 5 (2018-19):         Field testing in progress at Carman-Ainsworth Middle School with 2 teachers and 220 7th grade students and at Flint Community Schools Schools Scott Middle School with 2 teachers and 175 7th and 8th grade students.

NGSS Performance Expectations With Potential Relevance to SEPA Project

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes:

  •  MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.
  • MS-LS1-5. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
  • MS-LS1-8. Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories. 

Heredity: Inheritance and variation of Traits:

  • MS-LS3-1. Develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism.
  • MS-LS3-2. Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.

Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variation of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
  • MS-LS4-5. Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.
  • MS-LS4-6. Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.

 

Curriculum to be posted.

 

 

 

File: